Posted on

RL34391 – Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress – 10/13/2016

Author: Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs
Pages: 50

This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard’s polar icebreaker fleet. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration’s plans for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet. Congress’s decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. This report does not cover the icebreakers that the Coast Guard operates on the Great Lakes. A separate CRS report covers procurement of general-purpose cutters for the Coast Guard. Another CRS report provides an overview of various issues relating to the Arctic. Bills: H.R. 2838, H.R. 3128, S. 1619, H.R. 1987, S. 1611, S. 1386, H.R. 1735, H.R. 4567