Real Clear Defense offers a suggestion of how US policy regarding the Arctic should be shaped.
While some decry an “icebreaker gap”…, the real problem is that U.S. policy in the Arctic lacks direction. The United States needs a better approach – a new cooperative arrangement with Russia to protect the environment, maintain peace in the region, and box-out China.
The Coast Guard does need more icebreakers. It does not need nearly as many as Russia. Our thinking needs to consider our access to Antarctica, which, however quiet it may be now, may not always be that way.
Speaking of Antarctica, USCGC Polar Star will skip the McMurdo break-in this year due to COVID-19 and instead head to the Arctic:
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the mission. The Russians do not typically venture east of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago during the winter months (the so-called “eastern sector” of the Northern Sea Route) so it can be rather quiet in the Chukchi Sea.