program began grinding forward

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Senior Member
Hi all,

Here is a paragraph of the article--U.S. Icebreaker Fleet Is Overdue for an Upgrade, from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.

Funding for icebreakers has “fallen between bureaucratic cracks” in past years, says public policy expert Sherri Goodman, a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a member of the Arctic Task Force at the Council on Foreign Relations. She says that the Coast Guard has shouldered the burden of building new vessels while government defense spending increases have gone elsewhere. But the icebreaker-acquisition program began grinding forward during the Obama administration and has requested a major funding boost in the fiscal year 2017 budget.

I don't know what "program began grinding forward" means here, Please explain it for me.
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I think "(the program/project to acquire icebreakers began) grinding forward" means "it began moving forward slowly" and is a metaphor for the way an icebreaker moves through the ice.


    Senior Member
    Yes, I agree. It started to move forward with a lot of effort, just as icebreakers might use their momentum to push aside or break ice.
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