Guard to rein in fleet app project

Guard to rein in fleet app project

Coast Guard team cites budget concerns

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

After an eight-month review of the Fleet Logistics System project, a Coast Guard systems board will likely take corrective action to bring the project's schedule and budget in line, Guard officials said last week.

Because the review is ongoing, Capt. Cliff Pearson, leader of the FLS examination team for the service's Information Technology Review Board, declined to specify what the board will order.

Rear Adm. George Naccara, the Guard's chief information officer, asked the board in his request for a review to recommend continuation, termination or corrective action for the FLS project. The board probably will not recommend that the project be ended, Pearson said.

The board will release its findings this month, said Pearson, chief of the Guard's Office of Communications Systems. The board's other members are Naccara, chief financial officer Bill Campbell and Rear Adm. David Nicholson, the Guard's resources director.

The examination was prompted by Naccara, who last year voiced concern that FLS project deliverables were out of line with projected costs.

'We identified some risk categories in FLS, and we are focusing in on three of them,' Pearson said.

One problem is that FLS has lacked support from senior management, he said. That could explain why the 7-year-old project's budget has varied from year to year.

FLS' program manager, Cmdr. Mike Mangan, said that although the Guard's senior management has shown support for the project 'by continuing to fund FLS in the face of tight budgets ' funding levels significantly below requested amounts have significantly contributed to delays in providing capability in the field.'

Money trail

In 1994 the Guard spent $5.56 million on system studies.

In 1995 there was no appropriation for FLS. The next year the Guard spent $3 million on system design, project administration and testing. In 1997 it spent another $8.3 million on design, administration and testing.

For development and initial deployment, the program received $8.2 million last year and $4.6 million this year.

Pearson and Naccara declined to discuss the two other areas on which the examination is focusing.

'I feel that the FLS project team has done an outstanding job of managing this project,' Mangan said. 'However, we would welcome any feedback from other sources that would improve the process or the project overall.'

The audit reflects the expanding role of the Guard's CIO and the use of a formal IT review process proposed in the service's IT Management Plan, Naccara said.

Through the FLS project, the Guard wants to integrate logistics support for its fleet.

The system is being built in five increments, each of which addresses a particular aspect of vessel configuration, maintenance, supply and support, Mangan said.

The Guard deployed Increment 1, which provides a base level of systems capability, in July at its Pacific Maintenance and Logistics Command in Alameda, Calif.

The Coast Guard will roll out Increment 1 next month at the Atlantic MLC in Norfolk, Va.

That will complete the first phase, Mangan said.

The first phase will replace legacy systems that handle the budgeting and scheduling for approximately $75 million a year in repair and maintenance across the Guard, Mangan said.

In 1996 the Guard chose OAO Corp. as the systems integrator, and by May 1997 the Greenbelt, Md., company had begun building code using an Oracle Corp. development suite.

The Guard's Engineering and Logistics Management Division began pressing for FLS after the service killed the Systems to Automate and Integrate Logistics project in 1993.

SAILS, a supply and logistics project that began in the late 1980s, was ended because of project management concerns and cost increases, Nacarra said.

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