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DHS seeks $750 million for Polar icebreaker program in FY2019

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica

FEBRUARY 13, 2017 — The Department of Homeland Security’s FY2019 budget request includes $750 million for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Polar Icebreaker program. This continues efforts to award a contract for detail design and construction to maintain scheduled delivery for a new icebreaker in 2023 (see feature in our January issue).

Specifically, the funding requested provides detail design, long lead time materials, construction, program management office support, feasibility studies and maintaining the indicative design, cybersecurity planning, project resident office initiation, and Navy reimbursable technical support.

Another $15 million is sought to supports program management activities for a multi-year Service Life Extension Project (SLEP) for Polar Star, the Coast Guard’s only operating heavy icebreaker and only organic capability to assure year round access to the Polar Region to support national level interests.

For the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program, $400 million is requested to provide funding to begin construction of the second OPC and procure Long Lead Time Material for the third OPC. The OPC will replace the aging Medium Endurance Cutter classes that conduct missions on the high seas and coastal approaches.

$240 million is requested to fund procurement of four Fast Response Cutters, bringing the total to 52 of a program of record of 58.

$5 million is requested for the Waterways Commerce Cutter program in support of acquisition planning activities to continue evaluation for the replacement of this vital capacity, which is currently provided by an obsolete fleet of inland tenders and barges commissioned between 1944 and 1990.

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