The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard plan to create a joint program office that will be responsible for the acquisition of a new polar icebreaker, Navy Times reported Thursday.
The chief of staff for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California), chairman of the House Transportation Coast Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, told reporter Meghann Myers the Navy and Coast Guard are working on a memorandum of understanding to act as a foundation for the office’s formation.
Hunter called on the Navy in May to help the Coast Guard develop a new heavy icebreaker ship prior to its scheduled deployment in 2025.
Rep. John Garamendi (D-California) told Navy Times the service branch could use its funds and acquisition processes to procure two icebreakers for the Coast Guard over the next five-to-seven years, according to the report.
Adm. Charles Michel told the subcommittee Tuesday that the icebreakers must have navigation rights, be able to conduct search and rescue operations and address environmental disasters, the report says.
A Department of Homeland Security study says the U.S. requires three heavy and three medium icebreakers in order to move through the Arctic region, according to Navy Times.