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The Continuing US Icebreaker Fiasco

by | Jun 24, 2024


There will be no more new US icebreakers.

There is no capability in the manufacturing base.

There are no industrial design talent stacks or ability to build icebreakers that work under government contracts. The shipyard throughput is a little above zero.

The Arctic is a Russian lake.

What’s my evidence?

Coast Guard and Navy estimates of PSC procurement costs have increased about 39% since the April 2019 PSC program contract award. Another oversight issue for Congress concerns schedule delay in the PSC program. The Coast Guard originally aimed to have the first PSC delivered in 2024, but the ship’s estimated delivery date has been delayed repeatedly and is now expected to occur no earlier than FY2029.


How fully developed was Polarstern II’s design at the time that it was adopted as the parent design for developing the PSC design? How much of Polarstern II’s detail design and construction plan was completed at that time? Again, the US government is green-lighting concurrent technology inputs (not mature at time of design) and even worse, not completing the design before building begins. More extracts and further reading in the 2024 GAP study:


GAO Study:

Email me at

Bill Buppert

Bill Buppert

Bill Buppert is the host of Chasing Ghosts: An Irregular Warfare Podcast and a contributor over time to various liberty endeavors. He served in the military for nearly a quarter century and contractor tours after retirement on occasion and was a combat tourist in a number of neo-imperialist shit-pits around the world.

He can be found on twitter at @wbuppert and reached via email at

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