The United States icebreaker fleet is absolutely inadequate. That opinion is supported by the fact that the fleet is incapable of meeting mission requirements without a chartered foreign icebreaker.
Why is the United States in this position? Polar icebreakers are very expensive to build and support and, therefore, are neither popular nor of high priority within the appropriate federal agencies.
One of the three Coast Guard icebreakers, the Healy (WAGB-20) is new, very capable, and well equipped for research but not the most powerful. The Polar Star (WAGB-10) and Polar Sea (WAGB-11) are quite powerful, but are more than 30 years old. Furthermore, the Polar Star has been placed in commission-special status and would require almost a year to be restored to operational status even on an emergency upgrade schedule. Thus, the United States effectively has only two polar icebreakers, the Healy and the Polar Sea.