The commandant of the United States Coast Guard warned the government on Wednesday that American icebreakers would need to be armed to deal with the Russians and their meddling in the Arctic.
According to Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft, who made his comments before the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank located in Washington.
“We know Russia is probably going to launch two ice-breaking corvettes with cruise missiles on them over the course of the next several years,” Zukunft said. “We’re not building anything in the Navy’s surface fleet to counteract that.
“So what might an icebreaker of the 21st century need to do?” he asked.
The Arctic is an important region that the Russians are trying to take control of in order to dominate the resources that exist there. For years, the Russians have been antagonizing the Canadians, who own a large portion of it.
“They’ve made a strategic statement and they’ve got all their chess pieces on the board right now,” Zukunft said. “Right now we’ve got maybe a pawn and maybe a rook … If you look at this Arctic game of chess if you will, they’ve got us at checkmate.”
Zukunft said that the Trump administration has recognized the importance of the icebreaker fleet.
“They understand that it’s good that you have a U.S. Coast Guard that is a military service,” Zukunft said.
“There’s $150 million (in the 2017 budget) to really get the show on the road.”
Hopefully we can fully equip our Arctic ships before it is too late. Share this story on social media and leave a comment below.