Blore’s chief priority is to highlight the Deepwater
program office’s new management strategy and
processes as separate from those that made it necessary
to suspend operations of the 123-foot patrol boats.
“While many of the criticisms [in recent press arti-cles] are correct, they reflect a management philosophy that existed in 2004,” the year in which the conversion of patrol boats began, he said.
In the first weeks of February, the Deepwater program office will finalize its list of “best practices” for
acquisition processes, Blore said. At the behest of Allen,
the Coast Guard’s procurement officials will take a more
hands-on approach to the acquisition process for all
assets being procured under the Deepwater umbrella.
“We need one acquisition program” throughout the
Coast Guard that will bring all the experience within the
service to Deepwater and promote proper certification,
training, internships and hiring, Blore said.
“There’s a lot of really good things that happen
when you bring all that together,” he said.
Allen has emphasized to the Deepwater program
office the importance of using independent assessments,
comprising study groups from the Department of
Defense and within the Department of Homeland
Security who are not affiliated with Deepwater or have
vested interests within the Coast Guard, to monitor the
relationship between Deepwater and ICGS.
Several independent assessment teams — some in
existence and others still to be established — will concentrate on a specific asset or management approach
The overall purpose is to provide the Coast Guard
with a better sense of whether ICGS is producing “best
value” proposals for various elements of Deepwater.
Should that not be the case, the Coast Guard is prepared
to obtain goods and services from other contractors.
Deepwater will rely more heavily on its internal
engineers and independent assessment teams rather
than solely on the recommendations of ICGS, as it had
done in the past, Blore said.
For example, the Deepwater office is re-evaluating
its planned acquisition of the Eagle Eye unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was included as part of the
program during its nascent stages.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been accompanied by substantial progress in the development of
UAV technologies. In addition, there have been delays in
Eagle Eye funding and development. An assessment
team of Coast Guard research and development officials
and independent experts is expected to report in
February on whether the Eagle Eye is the best solution
for the service, as well as the availability of other UAVs.
Similarly, the Coast Guard has retained an independent assessment team of Department of Defense experts
U.S. COAST GUARD
Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore initials the keel plate for the
National Security Cutter Waesche during the cutter’s
keel-laying ceremony at Northrop Grumman’s shipyard in
Pascagoula, Miss., in September. As part of the Coast
Guard acquisition restructuring, Blore has been transferred from program executive officer of the Integrated
Deepwater System to acquisitions director for all Coast
Guard procurement programs, including Deepwater.
to monitor the progress of another Deepwater resource,
the Fast Response Cutter B, Blore said. The service will
review the team’s findings, along with assessments by
Coast Guard engineers, to determine if the proposal
from ICGS is the best the Coast Guard can obtain.
Blore said he is prepared to consider an alternative
proposal if ICGS’s progress does not meet the Coast
Guard’s needs within its specified timeline.
The service intends to purchase 12 of the cutters,
with the first to be delivered in 2010.
The service also has an aggressive marketing campaign to sell ships to foreign countries as a means to
drive up production numbers and restrain overhead
costs to be paid by the Coast Guard. Blore describes
the shipbuilding industry as one similar to health care
— a sector of the economy with cost growth greater
than overall inflation. In the wake of Hurricane
Katrina, the shipbuilding industry experienced
tremendous cost growth as shipyards sustained damage and are facing high costs in bringing employees
back to the ravaged Gulf Coast.
As things move forward, there already are a lot more
checks and balances in place than there were when
Deepwater commenced. The patrol boat situation
“would not happen today,” Blore said. If the boat had
gone through the independent third-party analysis that
has been put in place, and if the Coast Guard’s engineers and program managers had looked at it, “we
would have not gone forward with that project.” ■