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Oct 31, 2008

Comments

Michael DeKort

Open call for assistance in Deepwater case:

Within the next few months we will be fighting the motions to dismiss from Lockheed, Northrop and ICGS. If we lose this round the case is over. That means there will be no refund and the contractors will not be held accountable for the Deepwater problem.

(In addition to that Northrop has signaled that the companies actually intend to seek damages from the Coast Guard for stopping the program. Text from Northrop motion to dismiss the Bollinger suit states the following:

"Presumably, Lockheed Martin could seek compensation from the Coast Guard under the CDA for C4ISR equipment and information delivery delays, if any, caused by the government. As the prime contractor, ICGS, not NGSS or Bollinger, could best determine whether Lockheed Martin or NGSS could assert a CDA claim against the government for delays experienced in delivering equipment or information to Bollinger. ICGS could also sponsor such a claim against the Coast Guard on behalf of Lockheed Martin.")

Additionally one of the tactics Northrop is using is to blame the Coast Guard for the 123 problems. They state that the Coast Guard abused these boats, did not operate nor not maintain them properly. From the motion:

"The Coast Guard decision to decommission vessels does not lead to the inescapable conclusion that the defendants committed fraud. To the contrary, there is strong evidence suggesting that the 123 structural issues were attributable to the Coast Guard's operation of the vessels beyond their performance parameters and failure to maintain the structural integrity of the vessels, not any nonconformance with contract requirements."

This is an open call for assistance. We are asking for the Coast Guard and even contractor personnel who read these blogs to get involved. We feel there should actually be very little trouble winning this motion but given the importance and finality of the event we believe it is prudent to not take anything for granted. If there was ever a time to act to ensure the refund is paid and the contractors are held responsible this may be the last opportunity. Finally I am calling on the Commandant himself to make a public and service wide call for the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard to assist in our efforts.

- Michael DeKort
imispgh@yahoo.com

gary p norton

Here is a little gem out of the NAIS Statement of Work, 20 December 2008 which puts CG leadership in proper perspective:

3.1.1.1.8. Conflict of Interest. The Contractor shall not employ for this contract any
person who is an employee of the U.S. Government and in a pay status. The
Contractor shall not employ, on a part or full time basis, any employee of the Coast
Guard, active duty or reserve uniformed or civilian personnel, unless the Government
has determined no actual or potential conflict of interest exists.

From my past perspective, the CG'ers were a bunch of yokels compared to the thugs in the Navy. All the Deepwater hearings only reinforced this.

Can anyone explain why only the CG would be allowed to work with a CG contractor on a CG acquisition?


gpn

Michael DeKort

The statement asserts that the DHS having the authority is line with what other government agencies do and that the "waivers" to that process had been put in place to enable the majority of the Deepwater purchases.

Deepwater still has quite a few purchases to go. That includes the OPCs and maybe the FRCs if the GAO rejects the Bollinger win. In most of the press articles released on this subject, as well as in text from the Coast Guard itself, the "waivers" were pulled by congress because they were not pleased with the Coast Guard's leadership on Deepwater. That was specifically stated. Instead of the Coast Guard acknowledging that, taking some responsibility and promising to work hard to get things right they misrepresent the facts and act in an anything but transparent manner. It would be one thing if we assumed congress wasn't happy and the CG was simply trying to correct the record. The congress went on record specifically stating the change was made because they weren't pleased with the management of Deepwater - new reforms and all. This is an excellent example of how desperate the Coast Guard is. Their spin is beyond obvious. They are willing to misrepresent the truth and hold back information even when doing so is glaringly obvious. The entire leadership structure in the Coast Guard that has anything to do with Deepwater needs to be removed. That includes senior officers who are only passively involved. They are political cowards, dishonest, harmful to the Coast Guard and the country and an embarrassment.

I just listen to a web interview of Adm. Blore on the topic. He explained that DHS simply pulled back to it's normal practices when it pulled the acquisition authority. He stated that the process that was in place, that allowed the CG to purchase expeditiously on the Deepwater program, is no longer necessary, hasn't been used in 10 months and they didn't anticipate using it again. As such this action changes nothing. OK - I understood the change was mostly symbolic. But it is symbolic nonetheless and shows congress is not happy with the way things are being done. Adm Blore did not address congresses displeasure with them. He once again sidestepped the truth, transparency and accountability. He should have directly addressed what congress stated.

KSBR

Thanks, Ms. Williams of the USCG.

However, I am trying to understand why -- or at least get a USCG acknowledgement--that the acq authority was pulled back to the parent agency.

Is it because the USCG, after several attempts and claimed successes, just kept on wasting the taxpayers' time and money?

And, BTW, as DHS has an atrocious acq record, maybe the authority should have been pulled back to the White House.

Laura Williams

As promulgated in the Coast Guard’s Blueprint for Acquisition Reform and recommended by GAO, this move re-establishes DHS as the key authority for major acquisition project milestone decisions and formalizes the shift to proper acquisition decision authority and Coast Guard's Major Systems Acquisition Manual (MSAM) guidance that has been in practice at the Coast Guard since the Blueprint was introduced in July 2007. See the Coast Guard website for more details: http://uscg.mil/acquisition/newsroom/updates/rescission102808.asp.

Laura Williams
Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate

KSBR  learning

Scott,

Was the recision because of USCG incompetence with the ship procurements? I have not followed these matters for awhile, and it seemed in the spring that the commandant was assuring congress and claiming victory, e.g., taking over functions that the rapacious shipbuilders were performing, e.g., approving their own designs. Is it as simple as congress thought USCG had not been fixing the acq management problem?

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