“Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress Updated January 28, 2020” –CRS

The Congressional Research Service has again updated its look at cutter procurement. (Note, this link will take you to the latest version of the report and is subject to change with each update.) While I cannot be sure there are no other changes, I believe the significant changes are a reflection of the result of the House and Senate Conference Committee. From page 25.

Conference In final action, the FY2020 DHS Appropriations Act became Division D of H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. The explanatory statement for Division D of H.R. 1158/P.L. 116-93 of December 20, 2019, provides the funding levels shown in the appropriation conference column of Table 2. The explanatory statement for Division D of H.R. 1158 states: The agreement [for the Coast Guard’s Procurement, Construction, and Improvements account] provides an increase of $537,850,000 above the request, including … $260,000,000 for a total of four FRCs…. The bill makes available $100,500,000 for long lead time material for a twelfth National Security Cutter, consistent with the direction in the House Report….

I have reproduced Table 2 from page 21 of the report below. The following explanatory note is quoted from the CRS report:

“Source: Table prepared by CRS based on Coast Guard’s FY2020 budget submission, HAC committee report, and SAC chairman’s mark and explanatory statement on FY2020 DHS Appropriations Act. HAC is House Appropriations Committee; SAC is Senate Appropriations Committee.”

Summary of Appropriations Action on FY2020 Acquisition Funding Request

Table 2 summarizes appropriations action on the Coast Guard’s request for FY2020 acquisition funding for the NSC, OPC, and FRC programs.

Table 2. Summary of Appropriations Action on FY2020 Acquisition Funding Request Figures in millions of dollars, rounded to nearest tenth

  • Request______Request______HAC_______SAC_____Final
  • NSC program ____60 _______160.5 _______60 _____160.5
  • OPC program ___457 _______457 _______457 ______312
  • FRC program ___140 _______290 _______240 ______260
  • TOTAL _________657 ______907.5 ______757 ______732.5

So again Congress is providing funding above that requested by the administration.

The increase from two to four Webber class is consistent with previous Congressional action, and should actually result in a savings over the life of the program, in that it is in line with the current contract options and will not require a renegotiation that might have raised the cost of individual cutters by up to $10M. That means a total of 62 Webber class will have been funded. Only two additional in FY2021 are planned, for a total of 64, 58 in the program of record plus six for PATFORSWA to support CENTCOM, but I would not be surprised to see four in the final FY2021 budget.

The addition of $100.5M for Long Lead Time items for a twelfth National Security Cutter looks like a strong commitment to fund another Bertholf class National Security Cutter.

Relative to the OPC program, from page 26:

OPC Program.- The contract awarded to construct the OPC was recently amended to address increased cost estimates after the Acting Secretary determined that relief permitted under Public Law 85-804 was appropriate and necessary to the national defense. An associated delay in delivery of the first two hulls reduced the fiscal year 2020 requirement for the OPC by $145,000,000. Funds included in the agreement continue necessary program requirements. The agreement maintains the commitment to ensuring the Coast Guard can continue the program of record for these critical vessels. As a condition of the granted relief, the vendor will be subject to increased oversight, including additional scrutiny of the costs borne by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard shall brief the Committees quarterly on the metrics used to evaluate adherence to production timelines and costs, including those attributed to reestablishing the production line and maintaining the skilled workforce required to ensure contract performance.

So Congress is going to let the decision to allow extraordinary relief to Eastern Shipbuilding go ahead. The reduction of OPC funding that had been requested is only due to delays in the program and presumably the deletion of long lead time materials for OPC #5 from the payments that had been planned for Eastern.

10 thoughts on ““Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress Updated January 28, 2020” –CRS

  1. “As a condition of the granted relief, the vendor will be subject to increased oversight, including additional scrutiny of the costs borne by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard shall brief the Committees quarterly on the metrics used to evaluate adherence to production timelines and costs, including those attributed to reestablishing the production line and maintaining the skilled workforce required to ensure contract performance.”

    Sounds like Congress is key to keep a closer eye on how things develop with the OPC program. Nice to see that there’s strong support for NSC #12. It’s funny, but I can remember years back when there was some concern there was only going to be 8 NSCs replacing the 12 378s.

    • I’m sure the ramp-up of tension in the Pacific, and the CG’s increased presence farther West will find plenty of uses for the greater number of NSCs than anticipated allthose years ago…

      • The Program of Record was only supposed to work because of the Crew Rotation Concept. Once that bad idea got tossed, it was pretty clear there was reason for more than eight.

        Then it turned out the OPCs were very close in capability. If they had been procured earlier we probably would not have needed that many NSC, although it would have justified more than 25 OPCs (which were also supposed to use the crew rotation concept).

  2. It will be interesting if a 12th NSC is authorized, and I’m keen to see how Ingalls fares in the FFG(X) decision. Could there be a Coast Guard NSC built in parallel with a Navy variant? Or is their submission a Burke variant? Or is the NSC award because they know that Ingalls isn’t getting the FFG(X)? Who knows?

    Glad to see additional FRCs authorized, and the OPC allowed to progress with ESB. Will be interesting to see how they rebid units 5 onwards, and if ESB is able to get into a flow to be competitive on the rebid, as I expect.

  3. Off piste, don’t think you can believe CG figures, they quote same full load displacement figures for the NSC and OPC, NSC 4,500 long tons and for the OPC 4,520 long tons per their Placemat Ref 7 shown in the CRS report even though NSC dimensions are larger, 418′ x 54′ x 22’6″ verse OPC 360′ x 53’9″ x16’6″.

    Another discrepancy in the OPC Placemat is that they quote range of 10,200 nm whereas ESG state 8,500+ nm, neither state at what cruise speed.

    • OPC is more “full figured.” It always appeared to be larger than previously reported because it was larger in every dimension than the 3750 ton Netherlands’ Holland class OPVs.

  4. This update also addresses the January 10, 2020, Request for Proposals (RFP) for Industry Studies Regarding Follow-On Competition and points out the extreme age at which the WMECs will be replaced, if they are still operational. See page ten.

  5. Pingback: “Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, Updated April 15, 2020” –CRS | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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