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The U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater program was designed to upgrade or replace its aging legacy aircraft and vessels with assets focusing on the Coast Guard's traditional at-sea roles. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Coast Guard took on additional security missions, resulting in revisions to the Deepwater plan. GAO's prior work raised concerns about Coast Guard's efforts to upgrade or acquire assets on schedule, and manage and effectively monitor the system integrator. This testimony provides GAO's preliminary observations on (1) events and issues surrounding the Coast Guard's bridging strategy to convert the legacy 110-foot patrol boats to 123-foot patrol boats; (2) the status of the Coast Guard's efforts to acquire new or upgraded Deepwater assets; and (3) the Coast Guard's ability to effectively manage the Deepwater program, hold contractors accountable, and control costs through competition. GAO's preliminary observations are based on audit work performed from August 2006 to February 2007.

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