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Trump: Build me Arctic ships. Nucler icebreakers. Bases

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. President Trump ordered a review of the country’s requirements for icebreaking capabilities in the Arctic and Antarctic, with the goal of getting a fleet in place by 2029, according to a memo.

Topics: TRUMP   

The memo was directed at the Defense, State, Commerce and Homeland Security departments, as well as the Office of Management and Budget.

The memo calls for “an assessment of expanded operational capabilities, with estimated associated costs, for both heavy and medium [Polar Security Cutters] not yet contracted for, specifically including the maximum use of any such PSC with respect to its ability to support national security objectives.”

The memo asks for “use cases in the Arctic that span the full range of national and economic security missions (including the facilitation of resource exploration and exploitation and undersea cable laying and maintenance) that may be executed by a class of medium PSCs, as well as analysis of how these use cases differ with respect to the anticipated use of heavy PSCs for these same activities.

The memo also raises the possibility of nuclear powered icebreakers which would give the polar security cutter more persistent presence in the Arctic, since it would not need to refuel.

The memo also calls for the study to identify two basing locations in the United States for its ice hardened fleet, as well as two international locations.

The 2029 date corresponds with the year that both the Coast Guard’s current ice breakers, the medium icebreaker Healy and the the heavy icebreaker Polar Star, are slated to be out of service.

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