By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, , Nov. 21, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived here today and will tomorrow deliver a speech before other world leaders at the Halifax International Security Forum.
The Halifax gathering has been an annual event since 2009, and the Canadian government announced this week it will continue to host the event for another five years, through 2018. Government, military, business, academic and media representatives from some 25 nations are expected to attend this year’s session. Agenda topics range from Iran and the Middle East to cyber defense and the role of democracies in maintaining global stability.
The secretary told reporters traveling with him that the conference becomes more important every year, for the Arctic Circle region and for the world. As the planet’s climate changes and the region’s ice cover shrinks, he noted, Arctic sea lanes are likely to open in the coming years.
Increased maritime activity in the Arctic will offer both opportunities and challenges, he said. “The United States needs to be very active in this group, and be very involved, because we’re talking about climate change, energy resources, security, space -- there’s just so many factors that play into this,” Hagel said.