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S. 2635 (114th): Coast Guard Icebreaker Recapitalization Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 3, 2016 (Introduced).



2d Session

S. 2635


March 3, 2016

(for herself, Mr. Sullivan, and Mrs. Murray) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To enhance the ability of the United States to carry out icebreaking in the polar regions and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Coast Guard Icebreaker Recapitalization Act.



In this Act:


Appropriate committees of Congress

The term appropriate committees of Congress means the following:


The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.


The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.


Polar Sea

The term Polar Sea means the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea (WAGB–11).



Except as otherwise specifically provided, the term Secretary means the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating.


Authority for polar icebreaker reconstruction


In general

The Secretary is authorized to carry out design and construction activities to extend, for 7 to 10 years, the service life of the Polar Sea.


Authority for advance procurement

The Secretary is authorized to enter into one or more contracts for advance procurement associated with the activities described in subsection (a), including procurement of systems and equipment.


Interagency financing

The Secretary is authorized to participate in interagency financing, including receiving appropriated funds from other agencies or departments of the United States, to carry out this section.


Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $150,000,000 to carry out this section.


Polar icebreaker recapitalization plan



Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Navy, shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress, a detailed recapitalization plan to meet the 2013 Department of Homeland Security Mission Need Statement.



The plan required by subsection (a) shall—


detail the number of heavy and medium polar icebreakers required to meet Coast Guard statutory missions in the polar regions;


identify the vessel specifications, capabilities, systems, equipment, and other details required for the design of heavy polar icebreakers capable of fulfilling the mission requirements of the Coast Guard and the Navy, and the requirements of other agencies and departments of the United States, as the Secretary determines appropriate;


list the specific appropriations required for the acquisition of each icebreaker, for each fiscal year, until the full fleet is recapitalized;


describe any polar icebreaking capacity gaps that may arise based on the current fleet and current procurement outlook; and


describe any additional polar icebreaking gaps due to any further delay in procurement schedules.


GAO report on international icebreaker funding models



Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on international funding models used to sustain the icebreaking fleets of the governments of foreign countries, including icebreaking escort and maritime transportation funding and services in the polar regions or other areas requiring icebreaking activity by a vessel owned by a foreign government.



The report required by subsection (a) shall include—


an analysis of how icebreaking activity carried out by the governments of foreign countries is used for activities that benefit the private, academic, and transportation sectors;


an overview and analysis of the fees used to compensate governments for icebreaking escorts or maintenance of maritime routes;


the barriers such fees are currently posing or may pose to commercial activities in the polar regions;


the effectiveness of such fees in funding construction and maintenance of icebreaking vessels owned and operated by the governments of foreign countries; and


policy recommendations for the sustained funding of polar icebreaking vessels owned by the United States Government including potential funding models to fund the Coast Guard icebreaking fleet.