Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 17, 2007

USCG to LockMart/Northrop: Thanks a Billion(s) for Nothing

Filed under: Business of HLS,Port and Maritime Security — by Jonah Czerwinski on April 17, 2007

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.  Among other disappointing developments under Deepwater, a clear necessity for providing the USCG part of what it needs to carry out a growing list of HLS missions, the new cutters built by consortium leads LockheedMartin and Northrop Grumman don’t float.  $100 million a piece, they’ll never be used. 

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.  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.  Last August, the DHS IG issued his warning about the program’s execution.  IG Skinner cited “limited oversight as well as unclear contract requirements,” which prevented DHS/USCG from “ensur[ing] that the contractor is making the best decisions toward accomplishing Deepwater IT goals.”  Hmm.  Do we blame the requirements, the agency, or the contractor?  The Washington Post’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: 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 Guard’s Deepwater Contract.”  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.  More on this issue is available.  -CZ

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3 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

The US Coast Guard is a very special organization but even then long-term budget reductions, failure to maintain equipment and systems and to replace them on regular basis has finally caught up with the Coasties just like the rest of the government. They need twice the manpower and double the budget. Their ability to supervise major contracts is questionable with many key personnel detailed off to other DHS activities, e.g. Admiral Johnson in FEMA as Deputy Administrator. Both parties have actually assisted in destruction of the career services, including the Armed Forces but of course neither will be held accountable. Question-did the Coast Guard look at any foreign ships and planes for Deep-water or would that have been considered a traitorous act to the US military industrial complex? Perhaps contract performance would be assisted by having each company provide the name of the person who will lose their jobs for cost overuns or non-performance. Time for enactment of a Renegotiation ACT creating the Board and system made famous by Harry S. Truman. Congress is deeply implicated in all these contract scandals and they are scandals.

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

April 20, 2007 @ 8:06 am

WRC — Thanks always for your comments and readership. You may find this new GAO statement by Stephen Caldwell released this week of interest. GAO issued its statement of record submitted for this week’s hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Coast Guard. The review focused on Deepwater procurement management, the FY08 budget request, and some attention given to the Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) as part of Maritime Domain Awareness. The statement is available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07489t.pdf.

CZ-

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » GAO on Sentinel, US-VISIT, DOS Visas

August 6, 2007 @ 9:16 am

[...] management and information sharing obligations.  Think of this as a case of the opposite of the Deepwater project run by Lockheed for the Coast Guard: this GAO report actually focuses on how well the project is [...]

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