Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress Page: 2 of 48
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Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs
The term Deepwater refers to a collection of more than a dozen Coast Guard acquisition
programs for replacing and modernizing the service's aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and
aircraft. Until April 2007, the Coast Guard pursued these programs as a single, integrated
acquisition program that was known as the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) program or
Deepwater program for short. The now-separated Deepwater acquisition programs include plans
for, among other things, 91 new cutters, 124 new small boats, and 247 new or modernized
airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The year 2007 was a watershed year for Deepwater acquisition. The management and execution
of what was then the single, integrated Deepwater program was strongly criticized by various
observers. House and Senate committees held several oversight hearings on the program. Bills
were introduced to restructure or reform the program in various ways. Coast Guard and industry
officials acknowledged certain problems in the program's management and execution and
defended the program's management and execution in other respects. The Coast Guard
announced a number of reform actions that significantly altered the service's approach to
Deepwater acquisition (and to Coast Guard acquisition in general).
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) provided new assessments of Deepwater
acquisition programs in a July 2009 report and April 2009 testimony.
The Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), requested
$1,051.5 million in FY2010 acquisition funding for Deepwater programs, including $305.5
million for aircraft, $591.4 million for surface ships and boats, and $154.6 million for other items.
The House Appropriations Committee, in its report (H.Rept. 111-157 of June 16, 2009) on the
FY2010 DHS appropriations bill (H.R. 2892), recommends $1,015.0 million in FY2010
acquisition funding for Deepwater programs, including $269.0 million for aircraft, $591.4 million
for surface ships and boats, and $154.6 million for other items.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its report (S.Rept. 111-31 of June 18, 2009) on the
FY2010 DHS appropriations bill (S. 1298), recommends $1,194.8 million in FY2010 acquisition
funding for Deepwater programs, including $305.5 million for aircraft, $734.7 million for surface
ships and boats, and $154.6 million for other items.
The Coast Guard Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 1665) and the Coast Guard Authorization
Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (S. 1194) contain provisions that would reform Coast Guard
acquisition, including Deepwater acquisition programs.
Congressional Research Service
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Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, report, July 22, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc817628/m1/2/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.