Authorization (not money) for Six Icebreakers and Better Comms in the Arctic

The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, launched two 6U CubeSats from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, as part of the Polar Scout project. Photo courtesy of SpaceX.

Breaking Defense reports the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes six icebreakers for the Coast Guard and better satellite communications for the polar regions.

Not really a reason to get too excited yet. Authorization does not include any money. There was already general bipartisan acceptance of the idea that the Coast Guard needs new icebreakers with the 3 heavy and 3 mediums apparently seen as reasonable. Funding ($555M) for the second Polar Security Cutter was requested by the administration and agreed to by both Senate and House oversight committees, so should be in the FY2021 budget.

The addition of better comms may be the best news in the NDAA for the Coast Guard. It has been a major problem in US Arctic operations.

4 thoughts on “Authorization (not money) for Six Icebreakers and Better Comms in the Arctic

  1. To be honest, I don’t think the PSC (Polar Security Cutter) was ever intended to be funded. But simply as “Window Dressing”, something to see, but not actually be able to touch…

    • The first PSC has been funded. The second is in the FY2021 budget bill yet to be made law. The third is an option on the existing contract. Still up in the air what the three remaining icebreakers will be.

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