Former Coast Guard chief tapped as Arctic diplomat

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Former Coast Guard chief tapped as Arctic diplomat
General Mark Welsh, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, from left, speaks with Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, U.S. Navy chief of naval operations, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., U.S. Coast Guard commandant, and General Frank J. Grass, chief of the U.S. National Guard Bureau, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Obama offered modest steps to chip away at the country's economic and social challenges in a State of the Union address that reflects the limits of his power to sway Congress. Photographer: Larry Downing/Pool via Bloomberg
From left: US President Barack Obama, Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Robert J. Papp, and Superintendent of the US Coast Guard Academy Rear Admiral J. Scott Burhoe listen to the national anthem during the commencement May 18, 2011 at the United States Coast Guard Academy's Leamy Hall Auditorium in New London, Connecticut. Obama will deliver the commencement speech. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 06: Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG, Commandant of the Coast Guard with wife attend the 2011 USO Gala and USO Service Member of the Year Awards at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on October 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Robert J. Papp attends the 2011 Centennial Of Naval Aviation Gala at the National Building Museum on December 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)
CANADA - APRIL 07: Alex Morales pulls a sled over the sea-ice in front of Thumb Mountain on northern Canada's Ellesmere Island in April 2006. Ice Warrior expedition members pulled sleds 200 miles to get to the Geomagnetic North Pole. Source: Alex Morales/Bloomberg News (Photo by Alex Morales/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - MAY 25: Umberto Cagni (1863-1932) and the Polar expedition ship crew during an expedition to the North Pole, 1899-1900. Paris, Bibliothèque Des Arts Decoratifs (Library) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
SPITSBERGEN, NORWAY - MARCH 31: The Walking with the Wounded team trekking to the North Pole (L-R) Guy Disney, Simon Daglish, Edward Parker, Jaco Van Gass, Martin Hewitt, Steven Young and team leader Inge Solheim pose for a team photo as they train on the Norwegian Island of Spitsbergen on March 31, 2011 in Spitsbergen, Norway. Harry is training before joining the group of wounded servicemen, for the first five days, trekking to the North Pole to raise money for the charity Walking With The Wounded of which he is patron. Temperatures dropped as low as 25C last night in the camp in a valley near Longyearbyen as the team acclimatised to the extreme conditions, eating an evening meal out of freeze-dried packets and melting ice to drink and cook with. (Photo by David Cheskin/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY - JUNE 21: Midnight sun reflects off the face of a ridge on the West Coast of Spitsbergen midnight, Midsummer on June 21, 2008 in Longyearbyen, Norway. Longyearbyen is the seat of Norwegian local administration in Svalbard, 620 miles south of the North Pole. It was founded in 1906 by the American John Munroe Longyear who started coal mining here, something that has been an important part of the history ever since. Three important mines currently work on Svalbard. Longyearbyen was only opened for general tourism in 1990 and is a haven for eco-tourists who come to see the abundant polar bears, seals and whales. Svalbard consists of a group of islands ranging from 74' to 81' North, and 10' to 35' East, thus making it the northernmost part of Norway. It boasts the world's northernmost Church, Museum and higher education facilities. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
AT SEA - 2006: North Pole Expedition members raise their arms in victory. (Photo by Kent Kobersteen/National Geographic/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry (R) tries out an immersion suit as he joins the Walking with the Wounded team for training on the island of Spitsbergen, situated between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole, on March 30, 2011 for their last days of packing before setting off to walk to the North Pole. The team's expedition will last four weeks and see them cover up to 200 miles (320 kilometres) of the frozen Arctic Ocean on foot, pulling their own equipment in temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Centigrade. AFP PHOTO/David Cheskin/WPA POOL (Photo credit should read DAVID CHESKIN/AFP/Getty Images)
CANADA - MAY 25: One of the ships from Sir George Nares's Arctic expedition which was stopped by ice at Cape Prescott, 1875-1876, Canada, 19th century. Yellowknife, Prince Of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
ANTARCTICA - CIRCA 2003: Mausen Strait, Cook and Bradley after capturing a walrus, engraving, scene from an expedition to the North Pole by Frederick Albert Cook (1865-1940), undertaken between 1908 and 1909. Arctic, 20th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2002: Roald Engelbert Amundsen (1872-1928) expedition to the North Pole: a tent in the camp. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Hunting walrus, scene from Fridtjof Nansen's (1861-1930) North Pole expedition of 1893-1896. Arctic, 19th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - MAY 25: Umberto Cagni (1863-1932) and the Polar expedition ship crew during an expedition to the North Pole, 1899-1900. Paris, Bibliothèque Des Arts Decoratifs (Library) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry tries out an immersion suit as he joins the Walking with the Wounded team for training on the island of Spitsbergen, situated between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole, on March 30, 2011 for their last days of packing before setting off to walk to the North Pole. The team's expedition will last four weeks and see them cover up to 200 miles (320 kilometres) of the frozen Arctic Ocean on foot, pulling their own equipment in temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Centigrade. AFP PHOTO/David Cheskin/WPA POOL (Photo credit should read DAVID CHESKIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Expedition leader Rob McCallum announces during a pressconference on September 5, 2009, that the polar search for the legendary Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsens's sea plane 'Latham 47', who crashed 80 years ago outside Spitzbergen in the Arctic Norway, was unsuccesful. The large scale naval expedition searched for the plane, used by Amundsen to join a rescue operation after Italian general and aviator Umberto Nobile had crashed in airship Italia on a return voyage from the North Pole. The flag was borrowed from 'The Explorers Club'. AFP Photo Jan-Morten Bjoernbakk / SCANPIX (Photo credit should read JAN-MORTEN BJOERNBAKK/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTARCTICA - CIRCA 2003: Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) meets Frederick George Jackson (1860-1938), 17 June 1896, Cape Flora, Franz Josef Land, engraving from a photograph of the North Pole expedition of 1893-1896. Arctic, 19th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
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By LARA JAKES
AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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 served in the Coast Guard for 39 years, including as commandant.

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