facturer of the engine, they’re still in business and
they’re still able to sell you parts and supplies. And that,
of course, applies across the board to ships, boats, aircraft and our C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and recon-naissance] systems that we have in the field.
They deserve new equipment, new systems, and that’s
what we’re working really hard to give them because
they’re going to be able to do their mission better. There
are new technologies, but more importantly, they are easier to maintain and [personnel are] spending less time to
take care of things and more time doing the mission.
Do you think the Coast Guard will receive more
money from Congress after its major acquisition
programs start churning out finished products?
RÁBAGO: One of the things Congress has told us is that
you’ve got to have an acquisition organization that represents good stewardship of the taxpayers’ dollars. I know
we have built an organization that is able to be a good
steward of the taxpayers’ dollar, deliver capability to the
Coast Guard, and do it in a repeatable and accountable
fashion, so we’re accountable to those who appropriate
the money to us and, certainly, we’re mostly accountable
to our operational Coast Guard. We’re in the process of
earning the trust of Congress, earning the trust of our
overseers that we, in fact, have an organization able to do
things in a way that it is responsive to the needs of the
nation and the needs of Congress and our overseers.
How are you and your predecessor, Rear Adm.
Gary Blore, now commander of District 13 based
in Seattle, alike and how are you different?
RÁBAGO: We share mainly the same priorities. Our
acquisition work force and the people who work in the
acquisition directorate; the need to be integrated and
work with the rest of the directorates; and then look
out past this headquarters building to our men and
women out there who are serving on the front line. We
share those priorities, certainly. I share his priority for
professional credentialing of our work force. That’s
incredibly important. It’s paying dividends every day in
terms of how we operate.
Ways we’re different? Well, he’s a pilot, I’m a ship
driver. That’s one difference. I’m an engineer. I know
he’s had a great deal of experience interacting with
Congress in the past, or congressional staff, and also in
the budget office, so he has some of those backgrounds.
Most of my assignments have been out in the field, both
in operational units as well as in support communities,
providing support to operational units.
What will be your biggest short- and long-term
RÁBAGO: Short term, we have a lot of competing priorities. We need to recapitalize the old Coast Guard. We
have a bow wave of old ships and old planes that need
to be replaced and we’ve got to make progress on that.
I’m comfortable where we are with our acquisition
organization. I’m not saying we’re perfect yet. I could
see our organizational team improve and continue to
connect to all of the stakeholders within the Coast
Guard and, certainly, externally to the Coast Guard.
Our biggest long-term challenge would probably be
receiving enough funds to recapitalize the Coast Guard
at a rate that doesn’t have to make our men and women
be heroic out there to take care of these very old, old
ships and planes.
RÁBAGO: I fear delays, to be honest with you. We need
to have the NSC program continue at best speed so
Do you anticipate any production delays in the
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009