Now we have the “Icebreaker Gap” which is real, but largely irrelevant. Hopefully it will get money for the Coast Guard.
It is certainly true that the Russians have far more Icebreakers than the US, but shouldn’t it enough that we really need these ships, regardless of what the Russians may be doing?
I hate to see fear replacing logic, but perhaps the ends justify the means. Is there a military dimension to the Russia/US icebreaker fleet comparison? Certainly neither country is going to invade the other over the poles. We are not likely to see fleets of icebreakers shooting at each other, the Russians already have plenty of missile carrying aircraft and submarines in the Arctic. But we may need to place sensors, bases, or other assets in high latitudes even when others don’t like it. That may be impossible without icebreakers. The US has fewer icebreakers than any other type of critically important vessel. We have far more carriers, SSBNs, destroyers, amphibious warfare ships, underway replenishment ships. The loss of any one of them would not mean the end of a capability. The loss of even one of our icebreakers could.
That means we need more icebreakers, and they need to have the ability to defend themselves if necessary.