GAO: Costs of Coast Guard modernization to soar by $2 billion

The Government Accountability Office estimated Tuesday the cost of the long-delayed Coast Guard Deepwater ship and aircraft construction program would rise again, jumping $2.1 billion from the $24.2 billion forecast two years ago.

Stephen Caldwell, director of GAO's Homeland Security and Justice Issues department, told the Senate Commerce Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee there might be further "cost growth" beyond the new $26.3 billion estimate.

As a result, the higher costs might present the Coast Guard challenges involving potential tradeoffs in the program to upgrade its aging fleet, he said. But Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen told the subcommittee the service is analyzing each project. "I think it will change -- hopefully, it will go down," he said.

Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and ranking member Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said they were concerned about the rising costs.

Overall, the costs of the Deepwater program are not only going up, but the completion goal is moving from 2018 to 2027 for dozens of ships and planes, Cantwell said.

Allen also told Cantwell he endorsed a pending bill reauthorizing Coast Guard functions for fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011, including its proposed overhauls, such as creation of a high-level chief acquisition officer to monitor performance of programs and projects.

"The Coast Guard continues to face several management challenges," Caldwell said. As an example, he said the Coast Guard's proposed newest ship, the National Security cutter, has encountered delays that he said will "result in the loss of thousands of operational days for conducting missions through 2017."

But he added that the Coast Guard is taking steps to implement past GAO recommendations for improving the management of the construction program. The full Senate Commerce Committee is expected to mark up and approve the authorization bill Wednesday.

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 G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

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

  • 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.

  • 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 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.


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