The Coast Guard's Deepwater Program, under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has experienced serious performance and management problems. Deepwater is intended to replace or modernize Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and the communications and electronic systems that link them together. As of fiscal year 2008, over $4 billion has been appropriated for Deepwater. The Coast Guard awarded a contract in June 2002 to a lead system integrator, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), to execute the program using a system-of-systems approach. In response to a Senate report accompanying a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, 2008, this GAO report assesses whether the changes the Coast Guard is making to its management and acquisition approach to Deepwater will put it in a position to realize better outcomes. GAO reviewed key program documents and interviewed Coast Guard and contractor personnel.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Homeland Security||1. To help ensure that the initiatives to improve Deepwater management and oversight continue as intended and to facilitate decision-making across the department, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to rescind the delegation of Deepwater acquisition decision authority.|
|United States Coast Guard||2. To improve knowledge-based decision-making for its acquisitions, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should revise the procedures in the Major Systems Acquisition Manual related to the authorization of low-rate initial production by requiring a formal design review to ensure that the design is stable as well as a review before authorizing initial production.|
|United States Coast Guard||3. To improve program management of surface assets contracted to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop an approach to increase visibility into that contractor's earned value management data reporting before entering into any further contractual relationships, such as for long lead material for and production of the fourth NSC.|