On 22 July 2010, the Obama Administration directed the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to coordinate certain activities assigned to the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). The Arctic Research Policy Act of 1984 created IARPC and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) to provide comprehensive policy dealing with national research needs and objectives in the Arctic. This Presidential Memorandum supports the growing national focus on the Arctic by further encouraging increased collaboration and coordination among federal agencies. NSTC, an executive-level committee, can ensure that agency programs align with national science and technology priorities.

Federal Agencies or Offices Represented on the International Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC)

  • National Science Foundation, Committee Chair
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of State
  • Department of Health and Human Service
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Transportation
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

These goals will be supported by designating IARPC as an interagency subcommittee under the NSTC's committee on Environment and Natural Resources (see box, right, for IARPC member agencies). The new subcommittee's duties include: coordinating arctic research, technology, and observation programs; developing interagency plans for expansion of knowledge about the Arctic and its interaction with the ocean, atmosphere, land, and living resources as well as the societal impacts of arctic climate change; developing plans for predicting and forecasting arctic climate change; and providing advice related to ecosystem-based management and stewardship of arctic resources. As in the past, the Director of the National Science Foundation will serve as the chair for IARPC.

IARPC will continue to work with the USARC to establish an integrated national arctic research policy; to facilitate cooperation between the federal government and state and local governments in regard to arctic research; and to coordinate and promote arctic scientific research programs with other nations, subject to the foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State.

For more information, see the Office of Science and Technology policy blog post, or contact Kate Moran, Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Science and Technology (kmoran [at] ostp.eop.gov).