Program Updates from a GAO Report

September 26, Fiercehomelandsecurity posted a story (“GAO: Not eliminating two National Security Cutters will cause ‘difficult choices'”) on a recent GAO report, “COAST GUARD, Portfolio Management Approach Needed to Improve Major Acquisition Outcomes” (download the report, GAO-12-918 (.pdf)).

I’m going to look at other aspects of the report later, but there were a number of items addressed in the report that readers may not be aware of. This is not an exhaustive list, the report contains even more, but I thought these most interesting. We may have touched on some of  these changes already, but here goes.


“DHS stated that future breaches in Coast Guard programs would almost be inevitable as funding resources diminish.” (p.17)

Maritime Domain Awareness/C4ISR:

Nationwide Automatic Identification System–Indefinitely deferring plan for continuous nationwide coverage. (p14)

Common Operating picture:

“The Coast Guard planned to buy an integrated C4ISR system for each asset to enable greater awareness. As we reported in July 2011, the Coast Guard has spent over $600 million purchasing a C4ISR system that is difficult to maintain and does not yet achieve the system-of systems capability and the Coast Guard’s helicopters are no longer going to be a part of this system” (p.26)

–Neither the OPC or the FRC are expected to be able to exchange near real time “battle data” (tactical data link?) with DOD assets. (p.25)

–Why don’t we use LINK 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals on all these platforms?

Fast Response Cutter:

“…the Coast Guard has attributed the more than $1 billion rise in the Fast Response Cutter’s cost to a reflection of actual contract cost from the September 2008 contract award and costs for shore facilities and initial spare parts not included in the original baseline.”


Coast Guard’s Aviation Logistics Center told us they recently identified that the end of service life for the HH-60s and HH-65s could be reached as early as the 2022 time frame—not the 2027 time frame as originally planned. Officials added that this will require the Coast Guard to either buy new HH-60s and HH-65s or conduct a service life extension—previous service life extensions have been funded with acquisition dollars.(p16)

H-65 program: dropping both a helicopter handling, traversing, and securing system and a surface search radar. (p.13)

H-60 Program: deferring indefinitely upgrades to include a surface search radar and C4ISR due to budget constraints. (p.13)

A revise baseline program for C-130s has been forwarded DHS that recommends 11 H models and 11 J models (p.40) (I think this is an increase in the expected number of “J” models.)

Sanity Prevails:

The Coast Guard has dropped its plans to deliver boarding parties on potentially hostile ships by helicopter (p.27)

A Small Bit of Surprisingly Good News:

The National Security Cutter can do 32 knots (“speed is based on the results of an operational assessment” p. 32), making it almost certainly the fastest major cutter ever.

12 thoughts on “Program Updates from a GAO Report

  1. The CG was not wise enough to work with the Navy to get NAVELEX funding for either the C4I systems nor the radars. If they had conducted the ROC-POE prior to building, this likely would not have been an issue.


    Sooner or later this will get someone killed. A mission will fail and it will be a tragedy

    The USCG and republicans using the same tactic to get the taxpayer to pay for all of it again is a disgrace. It’s like they are all victims.All 40 110s were supposed to be out of service by 2010. All are still in service covering for the 123s who were supposed to replace them. Not only does Bollinger not have to pay the refund but they get juicy FRC contracts. Pathetic

    This is what I posted in my comments below the article under M

    Death spiral?????
    Isn’t this what the Deepwater program and ICGS were supposed to avoid? Isn’t that why the USCG made ICGS the Lead System Integrator and put them in charge to fix?
    That program went from $17B to $29B and the fleet is far worse off now than before the program began. Sure the main Deepwater contract was cancelled but the same contractors have the same asset contracts (ships and planes). Where is the 123 refund? Who was held accountable for those hulls? The DoJ is suing Bollinger (who was subcontracted to Northrop and ICGS) because they say Bollinger knowingly used thin steel to build those boats to save money. That made their hulls weak. That could have gotten someone killed. All post 9/11. No one has been held accountable for any of it. To make matters worse the USCG keeps giving them more contracts. And what about the program wide performance guaranty that ICGS had that was supposed to GUARANTY the USCG had better mission performance because of Deepwater?
    This problem was not caused or started by a lack of funds. Deepwater and ICGS were fully funded for the first 8 years. What did that $10B spent so far buy us? Before you soak the taxpayer why not try to hold the contractors accountable under that “unconditional” performance guaranty that is in the contract?
    The Coast Guard senior leadership who is unfortunately too bought or too scared to hold industry accountable is using the same scare tactic (which was legit the first time) to get congress and the taxpayer to pay for their blunders and political cowardice. Sure more tax money will be needed because these things are important but hold the contractors and USCG senior leadership accountable first.

    • The report says the program will now cost $35B. They say that is $10B over the baseline $25B. Problem is that isn’t the baseline. That is the new post ICGS baseline. Deepwater was originally $17B. We are now double that.
      (The CG actually states in the report that to do it right they need $65B)

  3. Let me add to your C4ISR comment. it is so bad they are SCRAPPING the ICGS C4ISR system solution entirely.
    “C4ISR—the Coast Guard eliminated a minimum requirement for an
    integrated C4ISR system and instead is requiring a system built with
    interfaces to communicate between different software programs.
    According to Coast Guard officials, the Coast Guard now plans to use
    a Coast Guard-developed software system—Seawatch—rather than
    the more costly lead systems integrator-developed software system
    currently installed on the National Security Cutter, even though this
    system does not provide the Coast Guard with the capability to
    exchange near real-time battle data with DOD assets.” (So they are scrapping the ICGS solution for one that is still flawed. Tells you how bad the ICGS one is. at DOUBLE the original cost)
    Page 30
    Then this in the footnote shows why the performance guaranty should be pressed
    “In June 2002, the Coast Guard awarded a contract to Integrated Coast Guard Systems,
    a joint venture formed by Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, as a lead systems
    integrator to execute the Deepwater program using a system-of-systems approach. Under
    this approach, the Coast Guard provided the contractor with broad, overall performance
    specifications—such as the ability to interdict illegal immigrants—and the lead systems
    integrator determined the specifications for the Deepwater assets. In 2007, Coast Guard
    took over the systems integrator role.”

      • Thanks for the reminder Guy, i had forgotten Dekort was still trying to cash in on his fifteen minutes of fame.

        How much money did you clear for yourself at the end of the day De Kort? You had bragged to us before you stood to make billions…

  4. I never suggested I would or wanted to make billions. I said that figure came in to play regarding the damage ICGS caused the CG that should have been paid for by the performance guaranty and the associated fraud. I maintain ICGS should be on the hook for the majority of the current mission performance gaps for which it guaranteed would not exist.

    Our loss in appeal was not on the merits of that issue or the hulls. It was due to qualification issues surrounding my being a relator of the hull part.

    • Most Coast Guard Officer don’t have the joint military ops background to know what real-time data link is in the first place. Likely nobody thought to ask the Navy to fund it.

  5. Pingback: GAO-12-918, “COAST GUARD, Portfolio Management Approach Needed to Improve Major Acquisition Outcomes” | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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