For the Coast Guard, a proposed fleet of six heavy icebreakers (emphasis applied–Chuck) will provide the service with the resources needed to fulfill its Arctic missions, Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, told USNI News after an speaking at an event co-hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.
This might be a misquote or a slip of the tongue, but this would be a departure from the previous plan of three heavy icebreakers and three medium icebreaker.
Since the heavy icebreaker cost less than originally expected and price should decrease for subsequent ships a single class might make sense.
The Commandant went on to make it clear that while there may be good reasons to develop a deep water port near the Arctic (neither of the ports being considered is actually above the Arctic circle) the Coast Guard’s primary concern is getting icebreakers built.
So far, while the Navy has started talking about operating surface ships in the Arctic, the Pacific Fleet has not been doing it. Their last “Arctic” exercise was actually in the Gulf of Alaska close to Kodiak. Until they start operating regularly North of the Aleutians, they don’t need a base an “Arctic Base.” The logical first step, if they want to return to the Bering Sea (still not really the Arctic), would be to re-activate NAS Adak.