A measure of the “reluctant” character of the U.S. as an Arctic power can be seen in the difficulty the country has committing to building new icebreakers, which, as Rear Admiral Garrett underscores, are the tools, which allow everything else to have mobility in the region.
Most other nations with polar interests are investing in new ice-capable assets for both polar regions: the Russians are announcing plans for new nuke icebreakers; EU has a huge icebreaking research drillship designed; Canada is designing ice-strengthened Navy patrol vessels and a new large icebreaker; China is building a 2nd research icebreaker and establishing new Antarctic stations; Korea has a new ice-capable research vessel; and South Africa is building a new Antarctic ship, among others.
OPERATING IN THE ARCTIC
Resourcing For The 21st Century
In December 2010, Second Line of Defense sat down with one of the leading US experts on the Arctic who has significant operational experience in both polar regions. Rear Admiral (Retired) Jeff Garrett remains significantly engaged as a national expert in various National Academy of Sciences and research efforts to shape approaches to dealing with a fluid Arctic situation in the coming decades.
Excerpted from SLDInfo.com: Operating in the Arctic