Polar Icebreakers in a Changing World: An Assessment of U.S. Needs. Four-page summary for Congress (dtd September 2006) of a report from the National Research Council. From the press release: "The United States should build two new polar icebreakers to protect its ongoing and emerging interests in the Arctic and the Antarctic, says a congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The ships would replace the Polar Sea and the Polar Star, the two oldest of the nation's four polar icebreakers. In the meantime, the Polar Sea should remain active and mission-capable, while the Polar Star should remain available for reactivation until the new ships enter service...Melting sea ice in the Arctic is opening new shipping routes and sparking economic activity, such as exploration for natural resources. This increased activity will raise demands for the United States to assert a more active and influential presence in the region, and adequate icebreaking capability is needed to do so, the committee said. The federal government has an obligation not only to protect the Alaskan citizens and U.S. territory in the Arctic, but also to protect national interests. There are security, economic, and sovereignty interests to protect, search-and-rescue missions to perform, and critical research expeditions to support -- including those studying the causes of the melting ice." A Congressional hearing was held on the report on September 26, 2006. The full report is available online. This report brief (like all
other documents in this catalog) is free of charge.