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USCG commandant, budget highlight Arctic importance for the service

Shown here in an artist's rendering, the Polar Security Cutter remains the US Coast Guard's top acquisition priority. (VT Halter Marine/Technology Associates)

Arctic operations remain an important focus for the US Coast Guard (USCG), Admiral Linda Fagan, USCG commandant, noted on 20 March in her State of the USCG address.

The USCG fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request also underscored the service's growing financial commitment to the Arctic, according to budget documents released on 12 March.

“The Arctic is another region important to national security,” Adm Fagan said in her address. “The United States seeks an Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, and prosperous. The coastguard contributes to that goal through enduring presence in the high latitudes.”

She noted, “This year, my top acquisition priority is beginning construction on the Polar Security Cutter (PSC). This is the first new heavy icebreaker constructed in the United States since the 1970s. As an Arctic nation, a new Polar Security Cutter is critical to creating persistent presence in the high latitudes.”

The final construction and delivery of the first PSC are still years away. Adm Fagan said, “In the near term, the purchase of a commercially available icebreaker would increase US presence in the Arctic while we work to build the new class of Polar Security Cutters.”

USCG budget proposal documents noted, “The Arctic is becoming more accessible due to climate change, and strategic competition is driving more actors to look to the Arctic for economic and geopolitical advantages. Changes in the operational environment due to receding ice and increased human activity have created additional demands for [US] Coast Guard

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