House passes Deepwater reform bill

The House passed legislation Sept. 27 that would reform the acquisition structure of the Coast Guard’s troubled $24 billion Deepwater program. Many of the changes have been adopted by the Coast Guard on its own, and the legislation would make those modifications law.

The Integrated Deepwater Program Reform Act of 2008 (H.R. 6999), sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.),  passed by a voice vote.

The Coast Guard would be prohibited from using a private contractor as a lead systems integrator for the Integrated Deepwater Program, except in special circumstances to continue current work until 2011. The Coast Guard, on its own, took over as the lead systems integrator for Deepwater in April 2007.

The program was started in 2001 to update and replace the service's aging fleet under a contract awarded to a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. However, the initial eight patrol boats were rejected as unacceptable, and other technological and management problems and delays have surfaced.

The legislation also would require the Coast Guard commandant to name a chief acquisitions officer, among other measures. It is similar to Deepwater reform legislation that passed the House last year.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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