Integrated Coast Guard Systems -- a partnership between electronics maker Lockheed Martin and shipbuilder Northrop Grumman -- the “lead systems integrator” for the program, meaning the firms, rather than the Coast Guard, would be responsible for selecting subcontractors to handle the aircraft, electronics and shipbuilding work. . . . [T]he service has terminated the lead-systems-integrator relationship, citing shoddy work on a $100-million effort to stretch and modernize eight 110-foot patrol boats -- the first major shipbuilding portion of Deepwater. Those boats are being decommissioned due to hull buckling, leaving the Coast Guard with a 15-percent gap in its patrol boat force, Commandant Thad Allen said while announcing the decommissioning and the Deepwater changes on April 17. Earlier, Allen had cancelled the so-called Fast Response Cutter being designed from scratch by Integrated Coast Guard Systems to eventually fill that gap, instead expressing his intention to seek off-the-shelf boat designs. [There were also electronics and software problems.]. . .
According to Allen, all aspects of Deepwater that are already far advanced -- including work on patrol planes, helicopters, short-range boats and several large cutters -- will remain intact. But overall management of the program will pass from industry to the Coast Guard.
I personally think that we need, as a nation, to shift resources from the Navy, which provides relatively modest benefit to national defense for the money we spend on it, to the Coast Guard, which provides a high return for the money we spend on it, particularly on the counterterrorism front.
Indeed, given my druthers, the National Guard, Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol would be a unified force in charge of its own procurement and coordinated domestic security and crisis response duties, rather than the current approach, which treats the National Guard as a poor cousin of the Army.