Coast Guard's Deepwater is afloat, GAO says

Coast Guard acquisition planning for the decades-long, $17 billion Integrated Deepwater System procurement of cutters and aircraft 'was among the best of the federal agencies we have evaluated,' the General Accounting Office's JayEtta Z. Hecker told a Senate subcommittee earlier this month.

But the responsibility for Integrated Deepwater's success lies with a systems integrator joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. and their subcontractors, Hecker testified at a hearing of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere and Fisheries.

Deepwater's 'unique contracting approach depends on a steady, predictable funding stream of about $544 million [a year] over the next two or three decades,' said Hecker, GAO director of physical infrastructure.

Such an approach 'has never been used on a procurement of this size or complexity, and there are no models in the federal government to guide the Coast Guard in developing its acquisition strategy.'

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