Spencer Hsu and Renae Merle write in today’s Washington Post that the U.S. Coast Guard responded to Congressional frustration over the failure of a consortium of contractors to deliver on the $24 billion modernization program called Deepwater.Â Â Among other disappointing developments under Deepwater, a clearÂ necessityÂ for providingÂ theÂ USCG part of what it needs toÂ carry outÂ a growing list of HLS missions, the new cutters built by consortium leads LockheedMartin and Northrop Grumman don’t float.Â $100 millionÂ a piece, they’ll never be used.Â
Failures prompted the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership yesterday to call for the Justice Department to open a civil and criminal investigation into Deepwater.Â As a result of this restructuring of Deepwater, Coast Guard must reissue a 43-month extension of the contract. About $2.3 billion has been committed to the program so far, and the second phase is reported by Hsu and Merle to be worth $2.5-$3 billion.
Perhaps we should’ve seen it coming.Â Last August, the DHS IG issued his warning about the programâ€™s execution.Â IG Skinner cited â€œlimited oversight as well as unclear contract requirements,â€ which prevented DHS/USCG from â€œensur[ing] that the contractor is making the best decisions toward accomplishing Deepwater IT goals.â€Â Hmm.Â Do we blame the requirements, the agency, or the contractor?Â The Washington Postâ€™s Steve Kelman wrote an insightful analysis explaining diff’rent strokes for different IGs by suggesting an ideological posture that may decide how this question is ultimately answered.
And it looks like it may be answered soon enough:Â Tomorrow’s hearing (4/18) before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 2:00 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn is entitled “Compliance with Requirements of the Coast Guardâ€™s Deepwater Contract.”Â For a witness list, click here.
— Special Note —
Please keep the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s shootings at Virginia Tech in your thoughts. VT student bloggers commenting on the shooting were highlighted here.Â More on this issue is available.Â -CZ