The US has lately been eyeing a new icebreaker – a massive vessel capable of navigating the frozen seas – to patrol the disputed waters in the Arctic Ocean, congressional aides have reported to the wall street journal.
On top of the world
Since 1971, the Arctic has reportedly shed about 31,300 square miles of ice each year — about the size of South Carolina melting every 12 months. Yet, a significant amount of thick ice remains, blocking the trade routes and giving the world’s superpowers the need for powerful vessels to claim the ever-expanding ocean for military and economic ventures.
Russia has 40 icebreakers, and China has been striving to bolster its fleet to meet President Xi Jinping’s desire to be a “polar superpower”.
With two vessels — the heavy Polar Star and the medium Healy- ten years past their prime and about half a century old — America is reportedly playing a catch-up. States have been building more vessels but need some in the interim, so the Coast Guard is almost about to acquire a boat from a private energy firm named Edison Chouest Offshore for about $125 to $150 million:
• The Coast Guard requires giant icebreakers as they are the only way to reach foreign ships in frozen waters, conduct rescue and search operations or undertake pollution control measures. The Defense Department further mentioned that there are a lot of opportunities in the Arctic to set up commercial oil and fishing operations.
• In the last month, the White House reportedly released a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen its homeland defences and deter Chinese and Russian activities in the region. The report mentioned that a war with Ukraine raised tensions when Putin raged, making “government-to-government cooperation in the Arctic with Russia nearly impossible.
Rude behaviour: Besides icebreakers, the Pentagon has some other significant concerns. Defence spending has gone up, but many private firms that earlier provided material, technologies, and weapons are quitting the military business at an incredibly alarming rate, minimizing innovation and competition.
From 2011 to 2020, the number of large and small businesses receiving DoD contracts reduced by 43% and 7.3%, respectively. As opposed to a vast pool to make purchases from, the US military reportedly relies on something of a “Walmart of War”, as Daniel Worlds, the University of California professor, termed it.
References: The Motley Fool, Latest Finance News