Coast Guard Polar Icebreakers: Past, Present, and Future

The United States has extensive economic, environmental, and security interests in the polar regions. Much of the state of Alaska lies within the Arctic circle, and the U.S. maintains geopolitical relations with other Arctic nations. In the Antarctic, the U.S. participates in a number of international agreements, such as the 1961 Antarctic Treaty. Over the years, repeated high-level reviews have reaffirmed the importance of U.S. presence and leadership in the polar regions. For the past 140 years, the U.S. Coast Guard has conducted a variety of missions in these regions, and for the past 40 years has been the sole operator of heavy U.S. icebreakers in the harshest marine environments in the world. This article stresses the ongoing importance of the United States having vessels (i.e., icebreakers) in its Coast Guard fleet capable of operating in these severe environments in order to be able to continue to protect its interests in the polar regions.


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  • Accession Number: 01055350
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2007 3:27PM