Coast Guard: Progress Being Made on Addressing Deepwater Legacy Asset Condition Issues and Program Management, but Acquisition Challenges Remain

GAO-05-757 Published: Jul 22, 2005. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2005.
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The Coast Guard has been asserting that its deepwater legacy assets are "failing at an unsustainable rate." After the events of September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard's deepwater missions expanded to include a greater emphasis on ports, waterways, and coastal security. These heightened responsibilities required changes to the Deepwater implementation plan to provide the assets with greater operational capabilities. To address these needs, in 2002, the Coast Guard began a multiyear acquisition program to replace or modernize its deepwater assets that is currently estimated to cost $19 to $24 billion. More recently, it began studying options for replacing or modernizing the assets more rapidly in an effort to avoid some of the costs that might be involved in keeping aging assets running for longer periods. This report addresses three questions related to this effort: (1) How has the condition of the Coast Guard's deepwater legacy assets changed during fiscal years 2000 through 2004? (2) What actions has the Coast Guard taken to maintain, upgrade, and better manage its deepwater legacy assets? and (3) What are the management challenges the Coast Guard faces in acquiring new assets, especially if a more aggressive acquisition schedule is adopted?

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