IG says Coast Guard needs better acquisition reform oversight

Blueprint action items do not necessarily measure progress

The Coast Guard should do a better job of overseeing reforms of its acquisition management, including setting benchmarks for progress, according to a new report from Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

“The Coast Guard may be overstating its accomplishments by measuring outputs instead of performance outcomes,” Skinner wrote in the report dated May 14.

The service began realigning its acquisition work in 2007 in response to critical reports from the IG and the Government Accountability Office about cost and schedule overruns in the Deepwater acquisition program. The agency has published an annual Blueprint for Acquisition reform with specific items to be completed.

Although the service has implemented many of those items, it hasn't developed an effective process to document progress by evaluating the outcome of the items or to prioritize them, Skinner wrote.

“The Coast Guard uses the percentage of Blueprint action items completed to report accomplishment, even though this information does not measure improvements to acquisition functions,” the report said. “The Coast Guard also has not established priorities for initiating or completing the action items or evaluated the impact of missed completion milestone dates. As a result, the Coast Guard may not have an accurate assessment of its progress in improving its acquisition function.”

Also, 20 percent of the completion dates on actions items in the plan were allowed to slip without full documentation, the report said.

The IG made three recommendations for improvements, and Coast Guard officials agreed with the findings and recommendations, the report said.

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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