WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Transportation Subcommittee hearing on Coast Guard Readiness & Asset Modernization, Alaskan Congressman Don Young continued his fight for an increased Coast Guard presence in the Arctic, asking for updates on the status of their icebreaker fleet.
The Coast Guard’s Five Year Capital Investment Plan included an additional $852 million in FY2014-2017 for acquiring a new polar class icebreaker; however the Coast Guard budget only requested $2 million for FY14. Rep. Young sought assurances from Vice Admiral Currier that the Coast Guard was still on track for the Five Year Capital Investment Plan.
While pleased to hear that the Coast Guard is still on track to acquire a new icebreaker, given the fiscal and budgetary constraints in Congress, Rep. Young suggested the Coast Guard look into leasing American made ice breakers as the current fleet grows older and requires longer repair work.
Out of concern for potential threats that may occur due to vessels traveling through the Arctic, Rep. Young asked Vice Admiral Currier whether the Coast Guard was monitoring the type of vessel and cargo traveling through Arctic waters.