I’d like to point out an excellent interview that forcefully makes many of the points the Coast Guard needs to be pushing to have an effective polar capability. It needs wider dissemination. RAdm. Garrett is apparently an excellent spokesman for the Coast Guard.
There are some points in the article that also deserve to be highlighted.
A icebreaker can do more than break ice. It can serve effectively as Coast Guard infrastructure in the Arctic–logistics base, air station, SAR station, MLE, ATON, etc.
USCGC Healy was built with money from the USN budget. (It could, perhaps should, happen again.)
The Canadians are building a mix of high-low ice capability ships, a large icebreaker and ice-strengthened patrol ships. (For a while the Coast Guard also had a high-low mix, Polar class on the high end and Glacier and Wind class as the low end.)
The Polar Star Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Uscgc_polar_star.jpg