House Democrats seek to restructure Coast Guard modernization

Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced a bill Thursday that would restructure the Coast Guard's troubled fleet modernization program and prohibit putting private contractors in charge of it.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said the bill is needed to strengthen management of the $24 billion Deepwater program, which has come under heavy scrutiny by government investigators and lawmakers. Significantly, the bill would prevent private contractors from being the program's lead systems integrator two years after enactment of the measure. A team from industry giants Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. now fills that role.

The Coast Guard has said it plans to take over management of the program, but has not provided a timeline for doing so.

"The legislation we are introducing today will help to steady the new course by putting in place the systems and the personnel the Coast Guard needs to effectively manage all future procurements," Cummings said during a news conference. He added that a two-year timeframe is provided to give the Coast Guard time to build up its management staff.

"The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security has emphasized that the Coast Guard must move slowly and deliberately to prepare to assume the role of lead systems integrator," Cummings said. The Coast Guard would also be required to use full and open competition for most future procurement under the program.

Government investigators have found major problems with the program, especially with the work that Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman did to turn 110-foot patrol boats into 123-foot patrol boats with updated equipment and technology. The Justice Department also has opened an investigation into the program. The Coast Guard last month revoked its decision to accept the 123-foot patrol boats, and said it was seeking to recover costs from the industry team. The government spent about $100 million on the boats, which have been taken out of service.

The House bill is silent on whether the contractors should reimburse the government for costs associated with the program. But Cummings said he wants the funds repaid.

"I've told Lockheed Martin the same thing; we want our money back," Cummings said.

The bill also would require independent certification for assets acquired under the program, including having new cutters evaluated and certified by the American Bureau of Shipping.

The legislation would also require the Coast Guard to appoint a civilian chief acquisition officer to oversee the program. "We believe that the appointment of a civilian with extensive career experience in acquisitions and management will bring to that position expertise that simply is not inherently cultivated among uniformed Coast Guard officers, given the service's mission requirements," Cummings said.

Similar legislation already has been introduced in the Senate.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.