A message from Alan Kaplan, National Navy League President:
This is the week to make an impact. Our staff here at Navy League headquarters is busy asking members of Congress to support a vital mission in the Arctic, but we won’t succeed without you. Congressional staff are negotiating the details of a bill to fund the Coast Guard for Fiscal Year 2019 as we write this. The administration requested $750 million for icebreaker procurement in FY19, and the Senate included the money in its funding bill, but the House stripped it out.
Increased activity in the Arctic means we need a strong American presence. Our only operational heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, is 42 years old, operating 12 years beyond its expected lifespan. The Polar Star reaches the end of its operational life in 2023, just as there is expected to be an increase in activity, including the opening of new shipping lanes, the presence of cruise ships, and an increase in exploring Arctic oil and gas reserves.
Tell your member of Congress not to cut funding for the Coast Guard Icebreaker this year. Click here to act now.
Our competitors, including Russia and China, are investing heavily in their own Arctic presence: Russia has over 40 icebreakers, some of which are armed. We must ensure the new Polar Security Cutter heavy icebreaker is delivered by 2023 or we risk being excluded from this important region. A Department of Homeland Security mission needs statement and Coast Guard studies have shown that the right number for secure American presence is three heavy and three medium icebreakers. We must begin building the fleet with this sensible funding request from Congress that provides enough funding for the first Polar Security Cutter and long-lead materials for the second.
Beyond America’s national security needs demanding an Arctic presence, no fewer than seven government agencies depend on the capability of American icebreakers.
The Coast Guard needs your help to secure these funds. There is significant competition within the Department of Homeland Security budget for other projects, and we need to ensure these funds are protected and fully appropriated — or risk falling even further behind our competitors!
One Team – Mission Focused!