Coast Guard:

Management of the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program Needs Strengthening

RCED-93-157: Published: May 25, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Coast Guard's Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Program, focusing on whether the Coast Guard has adequate: (1) policies and procedures for selecting RDT&E projects; and (2) management tools to effectively manage its research and development (R&D) center.

GAO found that the Coast Guard: (1) lacks adequate policies and procedures for selecting RDT&E projects, a clear definition of RDT&E to determine the types of projects that should be included in the program, and a long-range plan to fund RDT&E projects that are urgently needed; (2) could not ensure that its management of the R&D center was effective because it has not developed an adequate management information system for tracking overall project performance and linking performance data with planning and financial information or an evaluation process to measure the impact of RDT&E programs; and (3) needs to develop a management information system to ensure that its resources are effectively spent and projects are accurately monitored.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On August 10, 1994, the Coast Guard issued a Commandant Instruction prescribing the appropriation definition and use of RDT&E funds.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to revise the Coast Guard's definition of RDT&E to ensure that it clearly distinguishes the types of projects that are appropriately RDT&E to assist Coast Guard managers in selecting RDT&E projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard promulgated its first long-range plan in September 1994.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to establish a long-range plan that identifies the Coast Guard's RDT&E goals and mission priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard conducted a cost-benefit analysis for the acquisition of a management information system for the agency's R&D center. The Coast Guard included a funding request in its fiscal year (FY) 1996 proposed budget to procure the management information system. The system was fully implemented in FY 1998.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to continue the agency's efforts to acquire for the R&D Center a management information system that is cost-beneficial and that will provide accurate, complete, and timely information for decision-making and program monitoring.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard established both measures of performance for the R&D Program and measures of effectiveness in November 1994.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to establish procedures to evaluate or measure the impact of RDT&E projects on Coast Guard operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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