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Kristopher Thornburg

2021 Fulbright Arctic Initiative

Kristopher ThornburgIn fall 2020, LT Kristopher Thornburg was selected for the Fulbright Arctic Initiative III program. LT Thornburg will represent the U.S. Coast Guard in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative program, which brings together a network of scholars, professionals and applied researchers from the United States, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden for a series of three seminar meetings and a Fulbright exchange experience to address key research and policy questions related to creating a secure and sustainable Arctic. The third cohort of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative will stimulate international research collaboration on Arctic issues while increasing mutual understanding between people of the United States and member countries of the Arctic Council. Using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, Fulbright Arctic Initiative III will address public-policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges and opportunities.

LT Thornburg’s Fulbright Arctic Initiative research will examine strategic international collaboration for Arctic maritime domain awareness to support the first strategic objective within the USCG Arctic Strategic Outlook: Improving Awareness. LT Thornburg will analyze the approaches other Arctic nations’ coast guard organizations use to gain and maintain Arctic maritime domain awareness, determine strategic international alignment points, identify measures of effectiveness, and highlight strategic intersections with Indigenous and First Nation citizens with regard to social and environmental security. LT Thornburg will spend ten weeks in Norway to collaborate with researchers at the University of Tromsø. He will also attend weeklong seminar meetings in Canada, Norway, and Washington, D.C. The Fulbright Arctic Initiative is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

LT Kristopher Thornburg is a native Iowan and a permanent cutter man. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering with a focus on human factors engineering from the University of Iowa. Before entering service in the Coast Guard, he was a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. LT Thornburg served in three cutters, including CGC ALERT (WMEC-630) as Assistant Navigator, CGC ALDER (WLB-216) as Operations Officer, and currently CGC HICKORY (WLB-212) as Executive Officer in Homer, Alaska. He applied his specialty knowledge in human factors engineering to CG acquisitions during his shore tour at CGHQ as a team member in the Human Systems Integration Division (CG-1B3), where he gained valuable systems engineering experience. While at CGHQ, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where he received the Outstanding Thesis Award. Kris’ research interests are interdisciplinary and center on security studies in a variety of settings. Kris is a proud father and grateful husband. He and his amazing wife stay busy with their three small children.