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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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