Coast Guard Acquisitions: Addressing Key Risks Is Important to Success of Polar Icebreaker Program

To maintain heavy polar icebreaking capability, the Coast Guard, in collaboration with the Navy, plans to acquire up to three new heavy polar icebreakers. The Navy plans to award a contract in 2019 for the polar icebreaker program. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that before committing resources, successful acquisition programs begin with sound business cases, which include plans for a stable design, mature technologies, a reliable cost estimate, and a realistic schedule. This statement addresses, among other things, the key acquisition risks facing the polar icebreaker program. This statement by Marie A. Mak, Director, Contracting and National Security Acquisitions, is primarily based on GAO’s April 2018 and September 2018 reports examining the Coast Guard’s polar icebreaker acquisition, and also draws from GAO’s extensive body of published work examining the Coast Guard’s and the Navy’s shipbuilding efforts. In its prior work, GAO analyzed Coast Guard and Navy guidance, data, and documentation, and interviewed Coast Guard and Navy officials. In September 2018, GAO recommended, among other things, that the polar icebreaker program update program baselines following a preliminary design review, conduct a technology readiness assessment, reevaluate its cost estimate, and develop a schedule according to best practices. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with all of GAO’s recommendations and identified actions it plans to take to address them.


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Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01687430
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-19-255T
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 29 2018 4:50PM