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Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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The term Deepwater refers to a collection of more than a dozen Coast Guard acquisition programs for replacing and modernizing the services aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and aircraft. Until April 2007, the Coast Guard had pursued these programs as a single, integrated acquisition program that was known as the Integrated Deepwater System IDS program or the Deepwater program for short. The now-separated Deepwater acquisition programs include plans for, among other things, 91 new cutters, 124 new small boats, and 247 new or modernized airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs. The Coast Guard has requested a total of 990.4 million in acquisition funding for FY2009 for Deepwater programs. The year 2007 was a watershed year for Deepwater acquisition. The management and execution of what was then the single, integrated Deepwater program was strongly criticized in reports and testimony from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General DHS IG, the Government Accountability Office GAO, the Defense Acquisition University DAU, and other observers. House and Senate committees held several oversight hearings on the program, at which several Members of Congress strongly criticized the management and execution of the program, particularly regarding problems in programs to acquire new and modernized cutters and patrol boats. Bills were introduced to restructure or reform the Deepwater program in various ways. Coast Guard and industry officials acknowledged certain problems in the program s management and execution and defended the program s management and execution in other respects. The Coast Guard announced a number of reform actions that significantly altered the service s approach to Deepwater acquisition and to acquisition in general, resulting, for example, in the shift from a single, integrated Deepwater acquisition program to a collection of individual Deepwater acquisition programs.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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