Coast Guard Admiral Warns Of Russian Advance In The Arctic

Henry Kronk, WJ

The U.S. Coast Guard warned President Donald Trump on Wednesday that Russia is gaining significant control of the Arctic Ocean.


According to a report from Foreign Policy, receding Arctic waters are opening space for U.S. rivals to fill in the gap.

Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft warned the president that Russia is currently amassing a huge military and industrial presence throughout northern waters.

The U.S., however, has not made any advances into the clearing ocean and faces losing ground to Putin’s government.

Russia is saying “I’m here first, and everyone else, you’re going to be playing catch-up for a generation catch up to me first. They’ve made a strategic statement,” Zukunft said while speaking before the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Russia currently has 40 icebreakers – ships that can punch through Arctic ice to maintain routes throughout the year. The U.S. has only two, and only one of those services the Arctic.

“Having only one heavy icebreaker … it is the one aspect I lose sleep over,” Zukunft said.

The Coast Guard commander has appealed to Congress to build six new icebreakers by 2023.

“They’ve got all their chess pieces on the board right now, and right now we’ve got a pawn and maybe a rook,” Zukunft said. “If you look at this Arctic game of chess, they’ve got us at checkmate right at the very beginning.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who oversees U.S. Coast Guard policy in the House, made the same appeals in February. He has unsuccessfully fought to enlarge the Coast Guard’s $10 billion budget.

Trump’s first proposed budget would have slashed Coast Guard spending.

The budget that passed the House over the weekend still called for cuts, but lawmakers did allow for the building of one additional icebreaker.

The budget is expected to pass the Senate on Thursday.

As more of the Arctic becomes exposed, more reserves of natural resources become available.

According to Foreign Policy, roughly 30 percent of the world’s gas reserves, 13 percent of oil reserves and roughly $1 trillion worth of minerals are beneath the icy seas.

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Ki Monique
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