Coast Guard: Change in Course Improves Deepwater Management and Oversight, but Outcome Still Uncertain.GAO-08-745 June 24, 2008
The Coast Guard's Deepwater Program, under the Department of Homeland Security Noun 1. Department of Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States (DHS DHS Department of Homeland Security (USA)
DHS Department of Human Services
DHS Department of Health Services
DHS Demographic and Health Surveys
DHS Dirhams (Morocco national currency) ), has experienced serious performance and management problems. Deepwater is intended to replace or modernize mod·ern·ize
v. mo·dern·ized, mo·dern·iz·ing, mo·dern·iz·es
To make modern in appearance, style, or character; update.
To accept or adopt modern ways, ideas, or style. Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and the communications and electronic systems that link them together. As of fiscal year 2008, over $4 billion has been appropriated for Deepwater. The Coast Guard awarded a contract in June 2002 to a lead system integrator, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS ICGS Integrated Coast Guard Systems (Lockheed Martin/Ingalls joint venture)
ICGS International Centre for Geopolitical Studies (Switzerland)
ICGS International Catholic Girls' Society ), to execute the program using a system-of-systems approach. In response to a Senate report accompanying a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, 2008, this GAO report assesses whether the changes the Coast Guard is making to its management and acquisition approach to Deepwater will put it in a position to realize better outcomes. GAO reviewed key program documents and interviewed Coast Guard and contractor personnel.
Coast Guard leadership is making positive changes to its management and acquisition approach to the Deepwater Program that should put it in a position to realize better outcomes, although challenges to its efforts remain. The Coast Guard has increased accountability by bringing Deepwater under a restructured acquisition function and investing its government project managers with management and oversight responsibilities formerly held by ICGS. Coast Guard project managers and technical experts--as opposed to contractor representatives--now hold the greater balance of management responsibility and accountability for program outcomes. However, like other federal agencies, the Coast Guard has faced obstacles in building an adequate government workforce. It has various initiatives under way to develop and retain a workforce capable of managing this complex acquisition program, but faced with an almost 20 percent vacancy rate, it is relying on support contractors, such as cost estimators, in key positions. The Coast Guard's decision to manage Deepwater under an asset-based approach, rather than as an overall system-of-systems, has resulted in increased government control and visibility over acquisitions. Agency officials have begun to hold competitions for Deepwater assets outside of the ICGS contract. While the asset-based approach is beneficial, certain cross-cutting aspects of Deepwater, such as the program's communications and intelligence components and the numbers of each asset needed, still require a systems-level approach. The Coast Guard recognizes this but is not yet fully positioned to manage these aspects. The Coast Guard has begun to follow the disciplined, project management framework of its Major Systems Acquisition Manual (MSAM), which requires documentation and high-level executive approval of decisions at key points in a program's life cycle. But the consequences of not following this approach in the past are now evident, as Deepwater assets have been delivered without a determination of whether their planned capabilities would meet mission needs. The MSAM process currently allows limited initial production to proceed before the majority of design activities have been completed. In addition, a disconnect disconnect - SCSI reconnect between MSAM requirements and current practice exists because DHS had earlier delegated to the Coast Guard all Deepwater acquisition decisions, resulting in little departmental oversight. Coast Guard project managers and decision makers are now receiving information intended to help manage project outcomes, but some key information is unreliable. The earned value management data reported by ICGS lacks sufficient transparency to be useful to Coast Guard program managers, and subcontractor One who takes a portion of a contract from the principal contractor or from another subcontractor.
When an individual or a company is involved in a large-scale project, a contractor is often hired to see that the work is done. Northrop Grumman's system for producing the data may need to be re-certified to ensure its reliability. Officials state that they are addressing these issues through joint efforts with the Navy and the Defense Contract Management Agency.
Categories: Homeland Security, Accountability, Agency missions, Coast Guard personnel, Competitive procurement The fancy word for "purchasing." The procurement department within an organization manages all the major purchases. , Contract administration, Contract oversight, Contract performance, Cost analysis, Cost overruns, Data collection, Data integrity, Defense capabilities, Defense procurement, Documentation, Federal procurement, Financial analysis, Financial management, Homeland security, Military appropriations, Military forces, Mission essential operations, Performance management, Performance measures, Procurement planning, Procurement practices, Program evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. , Program management, Ships, Systems analysis, Systems evaluation, Coast Guard Deepwater Project