8 thoughts on “Document Alert: Cutter Procurement

  1. It’s long and dry, but the CRS document has some pretty good info. My only caution with the CRS would be that they have their own bias, just like everyone else. I know that from personal experience working with them. Notice the article encourages less focus on defense ops as a way to cut costs and still meet existing mission obligations. That is a defensible position, but it is debatable. O’Rourke (and CRS in general) have a tendency to phrase recommendations as questions, but the truth is, they are making recommendations.

    It mentions that the OPC cost is greatly reduced compared to the NSC because it will not be built to 90% military specs. And the document seems to encourage the procurement of additional OPCs, and even a split OPC class with a lower end OPC, and even seems open to the idea of replacing the OPC with a modified medium endurance cutter.

    Lower cost ships would make it easier for the USCG to fill missions. But would they be able to meet mission requirements as well? In addition, one of the primary missions of the USCG is defense readiness. The more the Cutter is built to commercial spec, the less it will be able to be converted for wartime use when/if necessary. Normally a ship built to commercial spec doesn’t last as long as a ship built to military spec either, and the document doesn’t mention that.

    Looking at those tables for US Navy and USCG ship requirements versus future plans is depressing. We can’t afford what we need. We need to do the best we can to build enough resources, but the need is growing too quickly and the economy and budgets can’t keep pace.

    • OPC is designed to the Naval Vessel Rules, so I disagree with the statement that it won’t be built to military specs.

  2. Nice to the the Plan of Record is the new version which rewrites history to hide how bad the fleet and mission performance really is. Go look at the CGs own RAND study commissioned after 9/11 and what ships were supposed to be replaced by when. They are 10 YEARS behind the WORST case schedule from that report.

    And I see the C4ISR software had to be replaced? Almost $500M wasted?

    ICGS was the LEAD on that program. They were under a program wide performance guaranty. They self approved requirements AND self accepted systems and assets they self certified. That program ballooned from $17B to $32B and is 10 YEARS LATE. The USCG’s leadership is deplorable. But heck they all get cushy jobs after retirement with the same companies they refuse to hold accountable don’t they? Much of the late schedule and C4ISR should have been replaced under the performance guaranty.

    Shame so many with operational courage are political cowards.

    • Oh and that’s right. Still no one has been held accountable for the 123 hulls and almost killing crews. But that will come – right?

      • If the new Commandant were inclined to do the right thing he would. There is nothing I should have to do. It would be much better if he voluntarily engaged his political courage to aid his service and the country than to be prodded by someone who was never in the USCG. That is how it should have always been. Shame we have to keep slogging through Commandant’s who lack that ethical fortitude and political courage to do the right thing and forgo the benefits they get form the contractors. I forced one Commandant to do some of the right things. That’s enough. Let someone else, maybe some who actually serves or served in the USCG take that shot.

  3. One thing of note in the document is that funding for the first OPC has slipped from FY2017 to FY2018. The shipyard will be hard pressed to produce the first ship in 2021. Completion of the first by 2020 now appears completely out of the question.

    Looking at when the 378s and 210s were produced, the Coast Guard commissioned 28 ships between 1964 and 1972, or an average of just over 3.1 ships per year (seven ships, three 378s and four 210s in 1968 alone). Accepting the conventional wisdom that the life of ships like these is 30 years, we should have started commissioning new ships in 1994 and we should have completed the program in 2002. It appears our last OPC will not be completed until at least 2034, 32 years after it should have been completed. Effectively we are skipping an entire generation of ships.

    I’m hoping sanity will prevail and the construction rate will be accelerated to exceed two ships a year.

  4. American politics is “penny-wise and pound-foolish” (to co-opt an English phrase). How long of a service life does the USN get out of small vessels (equivalent to what the USCG operates), such as the FF/FFG/DLG/DE and PBs (of their infinite varieties)? Isn’t the CG “making do” with vessels which get 10-30+ more years of service life than the USN gets from their equivalent? Not to mention the USCG is actively conducting its peacetime missions (heaped on it by Congress as well) constantly, whereas the USN spends a lot of time training and showing the flag. Congress should be looking at capitol expenditures on the USCG as a bargain. So disgusted….

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