GAO Responds to Fleet Mix Studies, Part 1, The Report

In my post, Irresponsibly Rebuilding the Fleet-a Look at the Future, I talked about why it was essential that the Coast Guard build at least two Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) a year, when it finally starts building them in 2016. My concern is that there is still no wide spread support for funding the Coast Guard’s “Program of Record” which includes 25 OPCs in addition to eight National Security Cutters and 58 Fast Response Cutters.

Conceptual Rendering of the OPC

The Coast Guard has recently gone public with similar concerns.

Studies are playing an important part in the effort to build consensus on what the Coast Guard’s fleet of Cutters should look like in the future and how to get there. May 28 of this year, we looked at the Executive Summary of the Offshore and Aviation Fleet Mix Study completed in 2009, but only recently made public. The Coast Guard completed a second phase of its Fleet Mix Study which looked at the effects of two funding levels on the procurement process in May 2011 and the Department of Homeland Security completed a “Cutter Study” in August 2011.

May 31, 2012 GAO released a report to Congressional Committees titled “Observations on the Coast Guard’s and the Department of Homeland Security’s Fleet Studies” [PDF] along with briefing slides provided on April 20, 2012. I’m going to quote GAO’s report and slides extensively.

GAO saw there objectives as to:

  • “(1) What are the key results of the Coast Guard’s Fleet Mix Studies and DHS’s Cutter Study with respect to recapitalization and operations?
  • “(2) How useful are these studies to DHS, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Coast Guard for informing recapitalization decisions?” Continue reading