Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress [Updated February 1, 2008] [open pdf - 344KB]
"The Integrated Deepwater Systems (IDS) program, or Deepwater program for short, is a $24 billion, 25-year project to replace and modernize the Coast Guard's aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and aircraft. It is the largest and most complex acquisition effort in Coast Guard history, encompassing 91 new cutters, 124 new small surface craft, and 244 new or converted airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Deepwater program has received a net total of about $5.1 billion through FY2008, including a net total of $650.9 million in FY2008. The year 2007 was a watershed year for the Deepwater program. The management and execution of the program was strongly criticized in reports and testimony from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General (DHS IG), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), and other observers. House and Senate committees held several oversight hearings on the program, at which several Members of Congress strongly criticized the management and execution of the program, particularly regarding problems in programs to acquire new and modernized cutters and patrol boats. Bills were introduced to restructure or reform the program in various ways. […]. A potential key issue for Congress in 2008 is whether the reform actions announced by the Coast Guard in 2007 are sufficient, whether the Coast Guard is implementing these reform actions adequately, and whether additional legislation needs to be passed to restructure or reform the program. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33753