And the obligatory Russian connection.... The proposed cuts come as the Coast Guard is increasingly seen as playing an important security role with regard to US interests in the Arctic and Western Hemisphere. Russia has been rapidly ramping up its military presence in the Arctic, building new installations and holding large-scale exercises, and the Coast Guard is charged with ensuring US access to the region via its operation of America's only icebreakers. "Russia has 40 icebreakers, I've got two," Zunkuft told the conference last month. The Coast Guard commandant has accused Moscow of "saber-rattling" by conducting unannounced military drills involving thousands of troops in the Arctic arena.