FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                Contact:  Heather Handyside

August 6, 2014                                                                       (907) 350-4846

Begich Supports Funding for New Arctic Maritime Security Research at UAA
UAA to Receive Special Department of Homeland Security Designation

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) has been selected to as a national Center of Excellence for Maritime Research (CMR), a highly competitive designation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that will provide funding for research on maritime security in Arctic waters.  The designation is expected to bring more than $17 million in additional research funding in the coming years.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich recommended UAA for the designation in a September 2013 letter to DHS in which he described Alaska’s geographic advantages for maritime security research and UAA’s position on the cutting edge of Arctic technology and studies. A copy of the letter is attached.

Begich noted that UAA will be able to partner with the Port of Anchorage to provide realistic demonstrations of maritime data collection in a cold-weather environment.   “As the opening up of the Northwest Passage due to melting ice becomes a reality, Alaska continues to be on the front lines of maritime security.  The lessons we learn from this research could affect the nation’s safety, economy and environment,” said Begich. “Alaska is the ideal geographic environment to develop and test technologies to address the increasingly important Arctic challenges to support DHS missions.”

Begich’s staff testified in support UAA during a DHS evaluation team visit in May that included interviews with faculty, administrators and experts in the fields of aviation, maritime technology, and Arctic research.

The DHS COE network is a consortium of hundreds of universities that conduct research for new technologies and strategies that will advance DHS’s mission.  The COEs work closely with academia, industry, government and first-responders to develop research solutions to on-the-ground challenges as well as provide essential training to the next generation of homeland security experts.    The COEs work directly with DHS operational agencies to solve complex and difficult security problems.