'The US Coast Guard is seeking to equip icebreaker vessels operating near the Arctic Ocean with cruise missiles for the first time as Washington hopes to gain a leg up in the “Cold War” brewing in the world’s coldest waters.
Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft confirmed the service was looking for new icebreakers capable of storing and firing heavy weapons last week, the Washington Times reports.
Speaking before a House panel last year, Zukunft stated "we need to look differently… at what an ice breaker does." Specifically, the officials said "we need to reserve space, weight, and power if we need to strap a cruise missile package on it."
Weaponized icebreakers are desirable, according to Zukunft, "in the event this world changes in the next five, 10, even 15 years from now… you can't project out the status quo."
Russia, which has the world's biggest arctic coastline, operates at least 40 icebreakers. Six of vessels are new heavy icebreakers, CBS News reported in December. "If you look at what Russia is doing, there's almost a mini arms buildup going on in the Arctic," USCG Vice Adm. Fred Midgette said at the time.
Engaging in an arms race to project power over the arctic is a view that is "hardly supported by the reality of northern relations. The Arctic is not the Wild West… except for Hans Island (a small island claimed by both Canada and Denmark), all land territory in the Arctic is undisputedly within the sovereign borders of Arctic states," Real Clear Defense has reported.'
Read more: US Icebreakers Apparently Need Cruise Missiles Now