The US Naval Institute Blog has a new post. Its bottom line,
For Semper Paratus to move beyond a mere slogan, the Coast Guard should steer clear of the Poles, decommission the two heavy icebreakers, and redirect resources toward coastal operations to better secure the homeland. As the smallest armed force, the Coast Guard must proactively roll back the nefarious reach of transnational human smuggling and narcoterrorism for the sake of national security. Leave the Poles to the Navy and to private sector research-and-development firms.
I am not going to comment, but I am sure someone will.
Doesn’t deserve a comment. Navy gave up icebreaking DECADES ago voluntarily. If they wanted to play in the cold they wouldn’t have done that.
Not sure what kind of “private sector research-and-development firms” the author is referring to, but I can only think of the kind that looks for oil and gas…
No! I wish the RN would get a decent polar ship to replace the good little ship Protector.
The poles are a USCG mission.
You might want to get your ships ship-shape, Navy, before you run your mouth.
@Brett, This is not the Navy’s opinion. Author’s background,
“In the USCG, Mr. Milord specialized in financial management and electronic radio navigation. He currently mentor university business and engineering students, and has published several articles on an array of topics.”
The USCG has a commitment to resupply the Antarctic NSF station at McMurdo. C-17 and C-130 cargo planes cannot do this alone during each Operation Deep Freeze as the Bunker Fuel and consumables normally travel by ship. Without the Polar Star, essentially McMurdo would be “semi-boiling water.”
Unfortunately, it has taken Congress THIS LONG to fund the new Polar Security Cutter icebreakers. Congress knew of the Polar-class icebreakers’ problems decades in advanced and just stalled the funding of the PSCs.
The US Navy probably won’t assume the role of icebreaking. An “Operation Deep Freeze” mission of 123 days is just four months, meaning an icebreaking tour would be too shy of the 6-7 months that the US Navy deploys its combat fleet.
Sorry for the typos…rushed here :-).
Congress did not withhold funding for icebreaker recapitalization. DHS and the USCG failed to request funding.
The Navy does not keep their ships underway or deployed half the time, the average is more like 1/3 of the time deployed and 1/4 of the time underway.
The Navy has a small part of DEEP FREEZE with McMurdo. Military Sealift Command, as the maritime component of TRANSCOM, typically contracts out the resupply by ship piece of DEEP FREEZE. We had always relied on POLAR-class (or even Palmer at one point…), but in recent years have had to charter, as you know, the Russians to come break ice up for it. Very sad state of affairs.f
Hmmm, I agree with the Author philosophically, but disagree in execution.
I’ve long advocated for the ATON mission to be split off and given to the US Army Corps of Engineers. (And that, they, themselves be split from DOD and placed in DOT.)
Likewise, Polar Icebreaking should go to NOAA, and regional icebreaking to USA CoE (since it is a Commerce/Transportation issue).
Keeping USCG funding levels stable, but eliminating those missions, would allow for 90+ FRCs, 12 NSCs, and 30+ OPCs, and their crews. It would, in essence, be a funding increase for the Homeland Security mission, without asking for any more money. Some of the newly-freed money could even go to weapons we’ve been talking about like the Lightweight Homing Torpedo. (Yes, USA CoE and NOAA would need an increase, but that is a different argument, and there are economies in those agencies with combining these assets with their native/current ones.)