Rear Admiral Michael Haycock, assistant commandant for acquisition at the U.S. Coast Guard, discusses the need for new heavy icebreakers and how flexibility in the acquisition program will help to get them quickly.
Since 2017, the Coast Guard has been working on acquiring new heavy icebreakers to replace the aging Polar Star. In a request for proposals released In March, USCG indicates that they want the design and construction of up to three new icebreakers. Rear Admiral Michael Haycock, assistant commandant for acquisition at the U.S. Coast Guard, says that the rapidly changing climate in the Arctic Circle makes obtaining a new icebreaker imperative. “As you look at the Arctic areas as of recent, we are finding that the ice coverage is decreasing each year. And so we’ll have more navigable waterways open up there, and we’ll see things like an increase in tourism, possibly fishing and exploration and things of that nature,” Haycock said. “Being a sovereign Arctic nation, having Alaska up there and having a long coastline in the Arctic… that means we have things we are interested in up there. We need a presence up there and the icebreaker program is going to allow us to do that.”