Coast Guard:

Update on Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement System

GAO-02-11: Published: Oct 17, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2001.

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The Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement system is an information system to track marine safety and law-enforcement activities involving commercial and recreational vessels. In 1999, after spending about four years and $26 million, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) terminated a contract to acquire the system and will instead develop the system at its operation systems center. USCG has made progress in developing the system and was ready to deploy a minimum level of functionality in November 2001. However, USCG faces significant challenges and risks in several areas, including managing system requirements and user expectations, testing the system, moving to an operational system, and managing program risks.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Coast Guard officials concurred with this recommendation, and reported that they have assigned a severity rating to all risks, and that they have prioritized these risks.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the risk mitigation area, evaluate system risks to determine their severity and prioritize these risks.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Coast Guard officials reported that mitigation strategies were identified for each of the projects risks, but noted that not all risk mitigation strategies were documented in written plans.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the risk mitigation area, develop and implement comprehensive mitigation strategies for each of the system risks.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard concurred with this recommendation, and now manages risks using a single consolidated risk watch list.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the risk mitigation area, develop a single list of system risks.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard concurred with this recommendation, and has completed and implemented training guides for VDS deliverables.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the transition planning area, develop and implement VDS training materials.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard has finalized and implemented its transition plans for the Vessel Documentation System.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the transition planning area, finalize and implement Vessel Documentation System (VDS) transition plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Coast Guard officials agreed that closing problem reports is an important part of system development, and noted that they have closed critical problems before moving to the next testing phase in all recent deliverables.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the software testing area, close all critical problems before initiating the next state of testing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard has developed schedule estimates for each of the remaining MISLE deliverables. It has not, however, developed cost estimates for the deliverables. USCG officials explained that they do not track costs by individual deliverables.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the system requirements area, develop cost and schedule estimates for providing these functions, corrections, and enhancements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard concurred with this recommendation. In February 2002, MISLE program management met with system users to define and prioritize MISLE requirements. At that meeting, participants developed and agreed upon a list of functions to be provided during the remainder of the MISLE acquisition. Other, lower-priority items are to be provided as enhancements during the operations and maintenance phase of the systems' lifecycle.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the system requirements area, define and prioritize, in conjunction with system users, all needed system functions, corrections, and enhancements that must occur to meet valid user needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard concurred with this recommendation, and program officials regularly oversee all risks and risk mitigation efforts during monthly status briefings.

    Recommendation: To mitigate USCG's MISLE risks, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the USCG Commandant to ensure that the appropriate officials, in the risk mitigation area, regularly oversee the status of risks and risk mitigation efforts to determine whether additional mitigation activities are warranted.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard

 

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