The Coast Guard Needs Navy Weapon Systems To Meet Wartime Mission Requirements

MASAD-83-13: Published: Jan 28, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 1983.

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GAO examined the planning and management for the $163.4 million computer-based Command, Display, and Control (COMDAC) system being installed on 13 new Coast Guard cutters for the automation of many ship control functions.

The first COMDAC-equipped cutter was delivered in January 1983; yet the Coast Guard is uncertain when or if it will receive Navy weapon systems to help fulfill the Coast Guard's wartime mission. Due to Navy budgetary constraints, the delivery of weapons for use on board the cutters has been limited. The Coast Guard has reserved space and weight for five systems on the cutters which have not yet been budgeted for by the Navy. A cutter project official said that military software will not be integrated into COMDAC until delivery of the weapon systems is assured and the availability of military hardware and software has been determined. Therefore, the Coast Guard has not yet contracted for the software needed for the military missions. Without this software, COMDAC will not perform as intended. The Coast Guard did not fully justify or support the COMDAC procurement before committing the agency to acquire the system. The Coast Guard decided to automate the cutters with COMDAC without demonstrating that COMDAC: (1) would result in anticipated personnel reductions or operating cost savings; or (2) was the most cost-effective way to fulfill the Coast Guard's peacetime and wartime missions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to work closely with the Navy to establish definitive timetables for delivery of Navy weapon systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


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