Coast Guard: Vessel Identification System Development Needs to Be Reassessed

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The September 11th attacks emphasized the need for sound government information management of potential risks to U.S. assets and citizens. One possible source of that risk is through the vessels that navigate our ports and waterways. Whereas most large commercial vessels and many large recreational vessels obtain federal documentation, most smaller vessels are registered only in the state where they are primarily used. Congress, in 1998, required the Secretary of Transportation to develop a system to share individual states' vessel information as well as information on ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 24, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The September 11th attacks emphasized the need for sound government information management of potential risks to U.S. assets and citizens. One possible source of that risk is through the vessels that navigate our ports and waterways. Whereas most large commercial vessels and many large recreational vessels obtain federal documentation, most smaller vessels are registered only in the state where they are primarily used. Congress, in 1998, required the Secretary of Transportation to develop a system to share individual states' vessel information as well as information on federally documented vessels. Fourteen years after legislation required the Coast Guard to develop a vessel identification system (VIS), no such system exists. In 1995 the agency contracted to develop the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement system, of which VIS was a subcomponent. The Coast Guard accepted the contractor-developed VIS in 1998 despite system performance problems, intending to resolve these problems as the system evolved. However, the Coast Guard later found that there was no viable way to correct these problems, and that the cost to populate the system with states' data would be high. Even though the Coast Guard spent $9 million to plan and develop VIS, it was never implemented. Recently, the Coast Guard initiated a new three-phase VIS development effort and developed a rudimentary system called VIS 2.0. The new system contains information on documented vessels and on state's data. However, the Coast Guard has yet to develop detailed plans for the full system development and cannot estimate when a system capable of uploading, integrating, and updating states' data may be developed. Even as the Coast Guard is initiating efforts to plan for the full system development, it does not intend to incorporate a rigorous acquisition process--including comprehensive analyses and management oversight."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 24, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Coast Guard: Vessel Identification System Development Needs to Be Reassessed, report, May 24, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291523/: accessed December 10, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.