GAO: Costs surge on Deepwater project
The Coast Guard continues to struggle with key procurement and budget matters
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jul 08, 2009
The Coast Guard continues to face cost increases in its Deepwater
acquisition program and management problems with its computer
modernization program, according to new testimony from the Government Accountability Office.
The cost of Deepwater asset replacement is expected to grow by
$2.1 billion, to $26.3 billion, and may expand beyond that, Stephen
Caldwell, director of homeland security and justice issues for the
Government Accountability Office, told the Senate Commerce, Science and
Transportation Committee July 7.
“As more baselines for other assets are approved by DHS [the
service's parent, the Homeland Security Department], further cost
growth may become apparent,” Caldwell said. “These cost increases
present the Coast Guard with additional challenges involving potential
tradeoffs associated with quantity or capability reductions for
Also, although the service assumed the lead role for managing
the Deepwater asset replacement in 2007, it has not always followed
appropriate procurement processes, and its budget submissions to
Congress do not include detailed cost estimates, GAO said.
Other problems include difficulties in hiring and retaining
qualified acquisition personnel, and negative effects from delays
associated with the construction of the National Security Cutter, which
will result in “the loss of thousands of cutter operational days for
conducting missions through 2017, “ Caldwell said. Mranwhile, the DHS
agency is undertaking several mitigation strategies.
In addition, although the Coast Guard has taken steps to oversee
the information technology modernization program, development of
performance measures is in the early stages with no definite time
scheduled for completion, Caldwell said.
He said the Coast Guard fully or partially met eight out of 11
performance goals in 2008, and did not meet goals for defense
readiness, migrant interdiction and protection of living marine
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.