Skip to Highlights
Highlights

In 2002, the Coast Guard began its $17 billion, 20-year Integrated Deepwater System acquisition program to replace or modernize its cutters, aircraft, and communications equipment for missions generally beyond 50 miles from shore. During fiscal years 2002-03, Deepwater received about $125 million less than the Coast Guard had planned. In fiscal year 2004, Congress appropriated $668 million, $168 million more than the President's request. GAO has raised concern recently about the Coast Guard's initial management of Deepwater and the potential for escalating costs. GAO was asked to review the status of the program against the initial acquisition schedule and determine the impact of the additional $168 million in fiscal year 2004 funding on this schedule.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Coast Guard The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to update the original 2002 Deepwater acquisition schedule in time to support the fiscal year 2006 Deepwater budget submission to DHS and Congress and at least once a year thereafter to support each budget submission. The updated schedule should include the current status of asset acquisition phases (such as concept technology and design, system development and demonstration, and fabrication), interim phase milestones (such as preliminary and critical design reviews, installation, and testing), and the critical paths linking the delivery of individual components to particular assets.
Closed - Implemented
In fiscal year 2004, Congress increased appropriations for the Coast Guard's Deepwater acquisition program by $168 million to $668 million. In light of this increased funding, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees requested GAO to determine the status of the Deepwater program against its initial 2002 acquisition schedule and the impact of the additional funding on the acquisition schedule. In June 2004, we reported that we could not determine Deepwater's current acquisition schedule because the Coast Guard had not updated it but that the additional funding would not fully return the program to its 2002 schedule. Based on our experience in reviewing Department of Defense acquisition programs of similar scope, we concluded that maintaining a current schedule is a fundamental and necessary practice, that this lack of such a current schedule lessened the Coast Guard's ability to monitor the Deepwater contractor's performance, and that updating the schedule on a more timely basis would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Congress to make better decisions on Deepwater budget submissions. As a result, we recommended that the Coast Guard update the original 2002 acquisition schedule, which is included in the Integrated Deepwater System Implementation Plan, in time to support the fiscal year 2006 Deepwater budget submission to DHS and Congress, and at least once a year thereafter to support each budget submission. We specified in our recommendation that the updated schedule should include the current status of asset acquisition phases, interim milestones, and the critical paths linking delivery of individual components to particular assets. In March 2005, we testified that the Coast Guard had taken steps since to update the schedule and that it had plans to continue to do so semi-annually to support its budget planning efforts. In April 2006, we reported that the Coast Guard submitted a revised Deepwater implementation plan to the House Appropriations Committee in May 2005, which included a 20-year and a 25-year plan. The Committee directed DHS and the Coast Guard to select a single revised implementation plan to accompany the Deepwater fiscal year 2006 budget request. In compliance to the Committee's direction, the Commandant of the Coast Guard testified in July 2005 to the 25-year revised Deepwater implementation plan. In February 2006, the Coast Guard submitted an updated Deepwater implementation plan to align with its fiscal year 2007 budget submission.

Full Report