The State Department has named a retired Coast Guard admiral to serve as its first special representative for Arctic issues.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said retired Adm. Robert J. Papp will oversee U.S. policy in the Arctic, a rising focus for world security and economic issues.
The U.S. next year will chair the Arctic Council, which is made up of eight nations that reach into the Arctic Circle.
The council aims to protect the thawing region as its seas open to commercial shipping traffic.
The Arctic is growing hotter faster than any part of the globe. U.S. officials estimate it holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.
Papp was in the Coast Guard for 39 years, including as commandant.