Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress [May 12, 2017]   [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. The project to acquire a new polar icebreaker was initiated in the Coast Guard's FY2013 budget submission. The project has received about $15.6 million in acquisition funding through FY2016. The $150 million requested for FY2017 is the first major increment of acquisition funding requested for the ship, and would fund planning design activities required to begin production of the ship in FY2020. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, 'Polar Star', and one medium polar icebreaker, 'Healy'. In addition to 'Polar Star', the Coast Guard has a second heavy polar icebreaker, 'Polar Sea'. This ship suffered an engine casualty in June 2010 and has been non-operational since then. 'Polar Star' and 'Polar Sea' entered service in 1976 and 1978, respectively, and are now well beyond their originally intended 30-year service lives."

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