Deepwater fallout

Lockheed, Northrop lose integrator role

Eli J. Medellin/USCG

The Coast Guard will take over the role of lead systems integrator from a Lockheed Martin/ Northrop Grumman team for the $24 billion Deepwater program. The agency wants to enhance management and oversight, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen said.

A joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. has held the lead systems integrator role since 2002. The multiyear acquisition program aims to modernize Coast Guard vessels and other systems.

Allen, who took command of the Coast Guard a year ago, said the massive Deepwater program has relied too much on federal contractors.

"We've relied too much on contractors to do the work of government as a result of tightening budgets, a dearth of contracting expertise in the federal government, and a loss of focus on critical governmental roles and responsibilities in the management and oversight of acquisition programs," Allen said.

"Both industry and government have failed to accurately predict and control costs. We must improve," he said.

The Coast Guard will assume the lead role as systems integrator for all Deepwater assets, in addition to other major acquisitions. The Coast Guard will add employees as part of its fiscal 2008 budget request.

Allen plans to meet quarterly with industry representatives until all Deepwater program issues are fully resolved. The next meeting will be held within a month.
Allen said he met with Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens and Northrop Grumman CEO Ronald Sugar in January to review Deepwater, and some improvements have been made since then. He said the three executives reached agreement on the Coast Guard actions.

Allen said he is also making far-reaching changes to the acquisition process at the Coast Guard. By the end of 2010, there will be a new mission support organization in the Coast Guard that provides seamless support, he said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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