JIM LO SCALZO
best business decisions that we
When we signed [the Deepwater contract in 2002],
we did what we needed to do at the time to start recapitalizing the ships, but clearly, now, it’s like, “Oh, gosh,
we wish we did it a bit differently.” But who knows
what the future is? Obviously, the economy is going to
pick up again and the prices are going to go up. There’s
always supply and demand and you’ve just got to jump
in when you have to jump in. The best you can do is
maintain as much flexibility contractually as you possibly can to be able to accommodate unforeseen changes.
When the economy is in a period like this, do
you try to get contracts signed a little more
quickly and churn out assets faster?
CREA: We try to adapt to the best environmental sensibility that we can. When I say “environmental and
economic environment,” there are so many different
drivers there in terms of politics, when the funds
expire, when they might be rescinded from you, and
then other emerging priorities for which you have to
kind of rob from Peter to pay Paul. …
We pride ourselves on being good stewards of the
taxpayers’ dollars. We, historically, have been the
cheap and stingy service that tries to milk everything
we possibly can out of the funding because we know
we never, ever, have enough, so we try to make the best
business decisions that we possibly can.
What’s going to be your biggest challenge now
that the service, and not Integrated Coast
Guard Systems, is the Deepwater lead systems
CREA: We’ve made huge progress in terms of developing and continuing to grow and maintain an acquisi-
tion force for the future. That’s challenging for everybody because that’s a skill set that is very rare and
highly sought after across government and industry.
Having that [human resources] system [in place so]
we can attract and retain and grow that work force to
do the stuff we need to do is absolutely essential.
We’ve made huge progress in designating the technical authorities and having that re-integration back at
work. Our engineers, our IT [information technology]
specialists, our finance people and, obviously, our HR
[human resources] folks and the sustainers are participating every step of the way in each of these decision
processes, so it is a total integrated product. We’ve got
great certification. We’ve got great cultural awareness
within the decision-makers.
Does the Coast Guard need to push the icebreaker discussion forward?
CREA: We have been pushing the fact that there is a
huge, gaping hole there in terms of capacity, not just
in the future, now. It is a national conversation
because it’s going to be extremely expensive. It’s not
something we can take on with the [current] Coast
Guard budget. It was intentionally left out of the
Deepwater recapitalization because of that huge price
tag and the fact that it’s easier to pay on two different
It is absolutely critical and a decision needs to be
made as soon as possible. We have already seen huge
changes in the [Arctic] environment. … We’re not
serving our nation’s interests the way we need to at this
point in terms of observing the sovereign creed, having
the scientific capacity and being able to respond in the
event of some type of a disaster. ■
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009