Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress [October 13, 2016]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The Coast Guard's FY2017-FY2021 five-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP) includes a total of $780 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker, including the $150 million requested for FY2017, $50 million projected for FY2019, $150 million projected for FY2020, and $430 million projected for FY2021. The total acquisition cost of a new polar icebreaker that begins construction in FY2020 has not been officially estimated but might be roughly $1 billion, including design costs. [...] Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Mission Need Statement (MNS) approved in June 2013 states that 'current requirements and future projections ... indicate the Coast Guard will need to expand its icebreaking capacity, potentially requiring a fleet of up to six icebreakers (3 heavy and 3 medium) to adequately meet mission demands in the high latitudes.... ' [...] The current condition of the U.S. polar icebreaker fleet, the DHS MNS, and concerns among some observers about whether the United States is adequately investing in capabilities to carry out its responsibilities and defend its interests in the Arctic, have focused policymaker attention on the question of whether and when to acquire one or more new heavy polar icebreakers as replacements for 'Polar Star' and 'Polar Sea.'"

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34391
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
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