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GAO has a large body of work examining government agencies' approaches to managing their large acquisition projects. GAO has noted that without sufficient knowledge about system requirements, technology, and design maturity, programs are subject to cost overruns, schedule delays, and performance that does not meet expectations. The Deepwater Program, intended to replace or modernize 15 major classes of Coast Guard assets, accounts for almost 60 percent of the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2009 appropriation for acquisition, construction and improvements. GAO has reported over the years on this program, which has experienced serious performance and management problems such as cost breaches, schedule slips, and assets designed and delivered with significant defects. To carry out the Deepwater acquisition, the Coast Guard contracted with Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) as a systems integrator. In April 2007, the Commandant acknowledged that the Coast Guard had relied too heavily on contractors to do the work of government and announced that the Coast Guard was taking over the lead role in systems integration from ICGS. This testimony reflects our most recent issued work on Deepwater, specifically our June 2008 report, Coast Guard: Change in Course Improves Deepwater Management and Oversight, but Outcome Still Uncertain, GAO-08-745.

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