Planning Efforts Would Be Beneficial,” said the Coast
Guard is studying how many polar icebreakers, with
what capabilities, would be needed as replacements for
Polar Star and Polar Sea.
The service has been conducting high-latitude
Arctic missions during the summer since 2008. Results
have showed there is a need for additional infrastructure, including more icebreakers, in the region.
Hamilton feels the icebreaker mission in the Arctic
is extremely important.
“We are going to have to protect our interests up
there. There are just so many different things [of
importance] attached to having an icebreaker and this
capability,” he said.
But given the cost, promises from Congress to closely examine budgets in an effort to stem the mounting
national debt and other concerns, a new polar icebreaker does not appear to be in the cards for the Coast
Guard, at least in the near term.
The service did not request funding for a new polar
icebreaker in its fiscal 2012 budget proposal that
includes $1.4 billion for acquisition, construction, and
infrastructure and equipment improvements, and has
not suggested it will do so anytime soon.