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National Security Cutter: Enhanced Oversight Needed to Ensure Problems Discovered during Testing and Operations Are Addressed

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Technical Report

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington

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As part of the decades-long, multi-billion-dollar effort to replace aging Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and information technologies, the Coast Guard developed the NSC to replace its High Endurance Cutter fleet. The Coast Guard conducted initial testinga key acquisition event designed to ensure an asset is capable of meeting its mission prior to approving full-rate productionin 2014 after seven of eight planned NSCs had already been placed under contract and three were operational. In June 2014, GAO found that the Coast Guard continues to address design changes required for the NSC fleet that were identified prior to IOT and E.GAO was asked to review the NSCs initial testing event. This report examines 1 the performance of the NSC and its systems during that test, 2 the Coast Guards plans for follow-on testing, and 3 the performance of the NSC during regular operations. GAO analyzed NSC requirements and test reports, post operational reports, and Coast Guard and DHS policies. GAO also interviewed officials with the Coast Guard, DHS, and NSC operator.

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