August 8, 2007
Coast Guard awards contract for third national security cutter
In what it describes as "a consolidated contractual action," the Coast Guard today awarded the Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin joint venture Integrated Coast Guard Systems $337 million for construction of the third national security cutter, along with $255 million for continuation of construction for the first two national security cutters.
Integrated Coast Guard Systems has been roundly criticized in Congress for problems with shipbuilding programs and the first national security cutter was the subject of a DHS Inspector General Report that, among other things, found that the ship "as designed and constructed, will not meet performance specifications described in the original Deepwater contract."
Since the multiple Deepwater shipbuilding problems came to light the program has been the focus of numerous Congressional hearings that have included calls for the contract with Integrated Coast Guard Systems to be simply canceled.
"The consolidated contract action agreement announced today marks the culmination of more than a year's worth of painstaking work to put the Coast Guard's fleet modernization program on the right track," said Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen in a Coast Guard statement. "It clearly reflects my commitment to getting this program right as we address those concerns expressed by the Congress, the Government Accountability Office and the DHS Inspector General."
The national security cutters are built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss. Lockheed Martin is building and integrating the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities onboard the cutters.>
"The contract award for the third national security cutter is a significant milestone for the Coast Guard," said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, assistant commandant for acquisition. "This agreement ensures that the Coast Guard will be prepared for our demanding, post-9/11 operational requirements. We are very pleased that the negotiating teams from the Coast Guard and our industry suppliers were able to derive best value for the American taxpayer, to bring these vital platforms to the fleet."
The Coast Guard says that the national security cutter is a crucial element of its recapitalization and is urgently needed to meet growing mission needs. The largest cutters in the Coast Guard's current fleet, the 378-foot high endurance cutters, are 35 years old and are approaching the end of their service lives. The new cutters will offer the Coast Guard's operating force a safer and more effective platform from which to carry out its missions. The Coast Guard says that the 418-foot national security cutter is uniquely suited for conducting the full range of maritime safety, security and natural resource stewardship missions in the world's toughest environments for extended periods of time.
The third national security cutter incorporates cost-saving efficiencies and improvements in processes derived during the ongoing construction of the first two national security cutters. Additionally, the cutter will include design enhancements to ensure it meets a 30-year fatigue life and all operational requirements.