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Aug 25, 2009



"Yes some good things have been done over the past couple of years but they are skin deep at best. The root causes have not been addressed."

Amen to that. As long as the contractors continue to get paid more to come up with a product that is shoddy and just barely meets requirements regardless of whether it even floats, then the system will continue to be broken. The government either pays for performance or they pay for process. Right now, they pay for process and we, the US taxpayer, get screwed as the result. It doesn't matter how many Michael DeKorts work for the government or the contractors, when you put monetary incentives in place for the contractor to provide a crappy product, that's what you're going to get, a crappy product. Wishing people didn't act in their own best interests won't make it happen, and why would you even want it to? Wouldn't it be better to institute a procurement system that rewards good behavior instead of bad? Wouldn't it be better to put the monetary incentives in place that reward good products that perform well and are delivered on time? What's wrong with our procurement system is so obvious it's laughable.

Mandy Smithberger

Just a couple of points:
- I did not mean to imply that USCG would be increasing their reliance on contractors or taking work currently performed by government employees, but a concern about continuing to rely on contractors too much.
- To Observer, Jr., I do agree that inherently governmental functions can be too broadly defined--I've seen letters protesting FAIR Act listings that stretched the definition too far. But I also think that Congress and OFPP need to work to more clearly define the line between work that is and isn't appropriate to contract out--but work that is truly inherently governmental as defined in the FAR 7.5 (http://www.acquisition.gov/FAR/current/html/Subpart%207_5.html) should not be contracted out.

Michael DeKort

The LSI's didn't go anywhere and aren't going to until they choose to. They simply run things now from behind the scenes.

The bill the congress just passed gives the Coast Guard permission to waive the reforms should they deem it necessary on Deepwater. Keep in mind the reforms were created for and because of Deepwater.

The GAO has stated that the Coast Guard failed to use it's own new reforms, specifically adhering to the MSAM, on core Deepwater efforts.

The Coast Guard has stated the LSI's will not be completely gone until 2011. In that time the rest of the NSC contracts and probably the OPC contracts will be awarded. Also stopping the LSI's basically means ICGS goes away. Well - ICGS has no employees of their own. The employees were all Lockheed and Northrop. All the Coast Guard has to do to honor their shallow promise is to go right to the contractors and create some leadership figurehead positions to cover for those really pulling the strings.

ICGS, Lockheed and Northrop have stated that they will not only not pay the $100M refund for the 123s but that the Coast Guard is responsible for the hull problems, because they didn't operate or maintain them properly, and that they might actually be due damages from the Coast Guard because the project was stopped. Lastly the NSC still has major communications security issues that may never be fixed adequately and will most likely be pushed to other assets like the FRCs and OPCs. Why wouldn't the Coast Guard defend itself here and demand the refund before the contractors can bid on any more efforts and publicly state that the contractors are solely responsible for the 123 problems?

Yes some good things have been done over the past couple of years but they are skin deep at best. The root causes have not been addressed.

Richard V Kanehl - Communications Mgr, USCG Acquisition Directorate

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) for its new ships, planes, command/control and communications systems. As such we ensure new and existing assets can work effectively with each other and are backed-up with reliable logistics, human capital and shore command structures. Like any governmental agency the USCG Acquisition Directorate has a number of contractors currently supporting its projects.

Everyone within the USCG is responsible for being good stewards of our limited resources. The proposed unified support contract is expected to greatly reduce the Coast Guard’s administrative burden, increase effectiveness and oversight; thus saving tax dollars for use on other vital missions. This is not an effort to increase the level of support currently being provided by contractors. Nor (per Federal Acquisition Regulations) will inherently governmental work already being done by military and government service employees, be considered for outsourcing.

Upon its release in the near future, I encourage your readers to view the Request for Proposal for the Acquisition Directorate's support services at www.fedbizopps.gov/ Information about the Acquisition Directorate’s programs, leadership and vision is readily available at: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/

This is an official United States Coast Guard posting for the public's information. Our posting does not endorse this site or anything on it, including links to other sites, and we disclaim responsibility and liability for the site and its content.

Observer, Jr.

Yes, we have reason in the Coast Guard's case to be concerned about the set of facts concerning Deepwater's various support contracts. But POGO over-reaches on the basis of facts to date. A program can have a fleet of contractors supporting government contract overseers and program managers without having contractors do anything that is inherently governmental. You should note that inh. gov. is not a standard or universally defined term and that it is being, very ponderously, clarified soon--after many years of confusion (OFPP sleeping). You have to go back to OFPP proc policy letter 90-1, which has never been well or consistently understood. And you have to ignore the braying unions who want to make just about everything inherently governmental. From a common sense point of view, the following, for example, should not be considered inherently governmental: doing an IV&V of a contractor (assuming all OCOI is absent or has been mitigated); collecting technical data (facts only) on another contractor's performance for use by government contract overseers; assisting in program and contract budget development and execution tracking. There are many others. What an agency can't do, as the USCG did negligently, is delegate any level of design approvals or milestone-related decision-making to the party building an item. There is a big dif between legit program management support and overseeing a contractor. Almost any contractor would not want to be put in that position because they know it is no-win. The LSI concept failed not because of compromised and conflicted program management support contractors but because the prime supplier-contractor was itself doing things the government should have been doing.

Are we surprised no SES or admiral every suffered the accountability of this incompetent thinking? Or that the builder-contractor resists paying the government back for vessels the CG is afraid to use for safety reasons?

POGO needs to acknowledge, internalize, and comment as if it understood this distinction between the internally conflicted LSI concept, and, a program management support contractor doing anything inh. governmental. Otherwise you just sound like a stentorian anti-contractor machine without an intellect. There are enough of those around, and POGO should be smarter than many so-called media and other so-called good government groups who just don't get the distinction because they take a superficial view of government procurement

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