“The Administration will propose to accelerate acquisition of a replacement heavy icebreaker to 2020 from 2022, begin planning for construction of additional icebreakers, and call on Congress to work with the Administration to provide sufficient resources to fund these critical investments,” the White House said.
The White House said with the warming of the Arctic and an increase in human activity, the United States aims to gain year-round access to the region.
“These heavy icebreakers will ensure that the United States can meet our national interests, protect and manage our natural resources, and strengthen our international, state, local, and tribal relationships,” the White House said of the new investment in icebreakers.
US officials have admitted the country has been slow in developing an Arctic policy compared to Russia, which has been pressing ahead with efforts to develop its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and the development of the Northern Sea Route.
Moscow has also boosted its military presence in the region.