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June 2002 Excerpt

United States Coast Guard’s
Integrated Deepwater System



By William A. Moss

The present Coast Guard fleet of high and medium endurance cutters is older than 37 of the world’s 39 naval fleets. Not surprisingly, excessive operating and maintenance costs coupled together with a lack of essential capabilities in speed, sensors, communications and interoperability hamper the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its 14 Federally mandated missions. These missions span critical areas such as homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, environmental protection, and defense operations. The Coast Guard’s greatest challenge, which is of particular interest to the Navy, is its ability to operate efficiently alongside Navy platforms.

The Coast Guard’s approach to solving all the problems associated with the aging Cutter Fleet is called the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS). The IDS program includes the “capabilities-based” replacement and/or modernization of not only all major Coast Guard cutters but also aircraft, their communications, sensors, and logistics infrastructure. To do this, the Coast Guard will partner with a system integration and management contractor to design, construct, deploy, operate, and support an effective and affordable system encompassing surface, air, integrated logistics support, and command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) assets.

The Coast Guard has selected an innovative mission-based performance acquisition approach and has teamed with leaders in industry to develop IDS concepts that seek to maximize operational effectiveness while minimizing total ownership cost. Three teams have competed over four years to win the right to design and build the IDS. The Coast Guard has just announced that the Lockheed-Martin/ Northrup Grumman team is the winner of the estimated $20 billion dollar IDS acquisition program. The winning IDS industry team is a separate joint venture activity called Integrated Coast Guard Systems Joint Venture and is staffed by Lockheed-Martin/Northrup Grumman, with Northrup Grumman taking the lead for ship and ship systems. “Much like the Navy’s DD 21 program, this is a great opportunity for the Carderock Division to work with the IDS Program Office and the prime contractors to support this major USCG acquisition program,” stated Ivan Caplan, Director of Business Development.

The approach the Coast Guard has taken to accomplish this monumental task is truly unique. In 1993, the Coast Guard Office of Operations formally acknowledged that a significant “block of obsolescence problems” loomed in the near future for its major Deepwater assets. Seven of the Coast Guard’s nine classes of Deepwater assets reach the end of their planned service life in the next 15 years. Formally established in 1996, IDS was initiated to ensure timely acquisition of the resources that will satisfy the Coast Guard’s mission needs.

NSWCCD has supported the Coast Guard for many years with hull, mechanical and electrical in-service engineering and with acquisition programs. The Division has recently signed memorandums of agreements (MOAs) with the Coast Guard’s Engineering Logistic Center and with most acquisition programs. To facilitate the necessary coordination of the Division’s systems engineering and design integration capabilities supporting these MOAs, the Coast Guard and NSWCCD agreed that it would be useful to have a single Division point of contact with the Coast Guard. “This is critical,” emphasized Caplan, “to ensure that proper support and customer satisfaction are achieved for this important client.” In January of this year, Captain Steven Petri and Jim Fein briefed Rear Admiral Patrick Stillman, USCG IDS PEO, and Rear Admiral Ronald Silva, USCG Chief Engineer on the Division’s capabilities and informed them that William Moss (9123) would be the Division’s SPOC for all USCG programs. In taking this approach, the Division will present an integrated and coherent Division perspective to the Coast Guard and, especially the Deepwater program. The following SPOC duties are those that were presented to senior Coast Guard staffs:

  • Serves as entry point for access to the Division’s diverse resources.

  • Is responsible for receipt, distribution, monitoring, and tracking customer funding and expenditures.

  • Establishes reporting and communication channels and facilitates meetings.

  • Represents Division position on approaches to address customer requirements and needs.

  • Serves as customer’s advocate to resolve issues.

What are the challenges that the Division faces working with the Coast Guard and specifically IDS? As with all customers, we need to know and understand the customer and its requirements. We need to know its organization and how it functions. We also need to be aware that the Coast Guard is not the Navy—although it is required to at times provide support to the Navy. The Coast Guard currently falls under Department of Transportation, so its mission, reporting lines, and funding cycle are different. (This may change shortly under the President’s new homeland security reorganization plan.) The Coast Guard has an organizational infrastructure that includes engineering field activities (similar to ours) that we need to interface with so as not to upset its system of checks and balances. The challenge here for the Division is to work within the Coast Guard in a way that augments its organization and does not conflict with existing organizational responsibilities. Probably one of the more important responsibilities for the Division Coast Guard SPOC is to understand the proper way for us to work within the Coast Guard’s organization. Using this approach, the Division has successfully initiated and completed many projects coordinating with Coast Guard Engineering and Logistic Codes in the manner that they want and are comfortable with.

What are the opportunities that the Division faces with the Coast Guard and specifically with IDS? The IDS Technical Director, Diane Burton, recently identified the following areas as those that are of most interest to her office:

  • Reduced manning technology.

  • Reduced operational costs technology.

  • Increased operational availability (Ao) technology.

  • Technology that is mature and transferable (from Navy to industry).

  • Logistics systems support.

In addition, the IDS Program Executive Officer, RAdm. Stillman, recently signed an MOA with Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program Executive Officer, Rear Admiral C. S. Hamilton. The Coast Guard’s interest is in identifying with LCS specific common technologies, systems and processes critical to both LCS and IDS. This could be an opportunity for the Division—to support both the LCS and IDS programs simultaneously. “Synergisms may arise from this approach,” suggested Caplan. The Coast Guard believes IDS platforms have a greater chance to be built before LCS platforms and, therefore, can become the lead platforms to “proof-in” the new technologies. As stated in the IDS/LCS MOA, “The CNO and the Commandant of the Coast Guard have formally agreed to build a National Fleet that will combine USN and USCG forces to maximize our effectiveness across all naval and maritime missions. This agreement is articulated in the National Fleet Joint Navy Coast Guard Policy Statement signed 27 Feb 2001.”

The selected IDS industry team is an important potential customer, since the Coast Guard is committed to having a prime contractor be responsible for the total acquisition package, the so called “Mission-Based Acquisition” approach. We have the ability to enhance the capabilities of the winning team and at the same time provide direct support to the Coast Guard program office.

Where do we go from here to develop a better working relationship with the Coast Guard and the IDS program? As suggested by Burton, the next step will be to arrange for the Coast Guard’s Engineering Logistic Center’s new Commanding Officer, Captain Mangan and his staff to visit Carderock and Philadelphia and discuss how our organizations can more effectively work as a team. Also, the Division will continue to keep an active presence, meeting with the IDS staff members, following-up on the recent visit to Carderock, extending a similar visit invitation to Philadelphia, and making sure that the lines of communication are maintained in an orderly and coordinated manner. In addition, as the Division’s Coast Guard SPOC, Moss is developing a quarterly newsletter that will be distributed internally and will highlight what the Division is doing with the Coast Guard. It will include information that will be helpful to the directorates in identifying funding opportunities. Most importantly, Moss will be setting up an internal Division team with representation from each directorate to coordinate current and future Coast Guard activities.

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