Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Integrated Deepwater Systems IDS program, or Deepwater program for short, is a 24-billion, 25-year project to replace and modernize the Coast Guards aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and aircraft. It is the largest and most complex acquisition effort in Coast Guard history, encompassing 91 new cutters, 124 new small surface craft, and 244 new or modernized airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administrations annual funding requests and overall approach for the program. The Coast Guard is pursuing the Deepwater program as a system-of-systems acquisition project, under which a combination of cutters, patrol boats, aircraft, and supporting assets is to be procured as a single, integrated package. To execute this system-of-systems acquisition approach, the Coast Guard is using a lead system integrator LSI -- a private-sector entity responsible for designing, building, and integrating the various elements of the package. Potential options for Congress regarding the Deepwater program include but are not limited to the following continuing with the program as currently planned instituting additional or stricter reporting requirements compressing the acquisition period from 25 years to 15 or 10 years replacing ICGS as the LSI dropping the use of an LSI in favor of direct Coast Guard management and integration of the program and replacing the Deepwater program with a series of separate procurement programs for replacing individual classes of cutters, boats, and aircraft. The Coast Guards FY2007 budget requested 934.431 million for the Deepwater acquisition program. The conference report H.Rept. 109-699 of September 28, 2006 on H.R. 5441P.L. 109-295, the FY2007 Department of Homeland Security DHS appropriations act, provides a total 1,144.566 million in FY2007 funds for the Deepwater program.
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