U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Procurement Lessons Impacts on the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program Affordability
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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The U.S. Coast Guards upcoming acquisition of the Offshore Patrol Cutter OPC offers many opportunities to leverage recent procurement lessons to achieve the programs affordability requirement of 310 million per hull. We explore the question of how lessons learned from the National Security Cutter NSC and Fast Response Cutter FRC procurement programs were applied to the OPC acquisition strategy to achieve affordability. We examine procurement lessons addressing management reforms, best practices in competition, contract structure, multiyear procurement, requirements generation, and test and evaluation. We employ a cost estimation model developed by Jeffrey Lineberry and first advanced in his 2012 work Estimating Production Costs While Linking Combat Systems and Ship Design. We validate the Coast Guards OPC cost requirement of 310 million per hull using notional design data. We further illustrate the impact that varying specific design characteristics speed, personnel, and lengthbeam have on ship production cost. Finally, we conclude that the U.S. Coast Guard has successfully incorporated lessons from the NSC and FRC procurement programs into the OPC acquisition strategy, and we present a trade-off analysis that program managers may use in future source selection processes.