Lawson W. Brigham

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Lawson W. Brigham
Captain, US Coast Guard (Retired)
Global Fellow, Wilson Center
Research Faculty, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Lawson W. Brigham, PhD is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC and a research faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).  He is currently a member of the National Academies Polar Research Board. Captain Brigham was a career U.S. Coast Guard officer and commanded four ships including the polar icebreaker Polar Sea on Arctic & Antarctic expeditions; he also served as the Coast Guard’s Chief of Strategic Planning in Washington, DC.  During 2004-09 he was chair of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment and Vice Chair of the Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group. Dr. Brigham has been a Marine Policy Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; a faculty member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, and UAF (as Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy); and, Alaska Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a Naval War College distinguished graduate, and holds graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and Cambridge University (MPhil & PhD).  His research interests have focused on the Russian maritime Arctic, Arctic climate change, polar geopolitics, and strategic planning. Captain Brigham was a 2008 signer of the American Geographical Society’s Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe, the Society’s historic global of exploration, in recognition of Polar Sea’s 1994 voyages becoming the first ship in history to reach the extreme ends of the global ocean. Dr. Brigham is an elected member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was elected to the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research in 2013.  A central peak in the Gonville & Caius Range, Victoria Land, Antarctica was named Mount Brigham in January 2008 by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.