Challenges Facing the Coast Guard as it Transitions to the New Department
Gao ID: GAO-03-467T February 12, 2003
The Coast Guard is one of 22 agencies being placed in the new Department of Homeland Security. With its key roles in the nation's ports, waterways, and coastlines, the Coast Guard is an important part of enhanced homeland security efforts. But it also has non-security missions, such as search and rescue, fisheries and environmental protection, and boating safety. GAO has conducted a number of reviews of the Coast Guard's missions and was asked to testify about the Coast Guard's implementation challenges in moving to this newly created Department.
The Coast Guard faces major challenges in effectively implementing its operations within the Department of Homeland Security. GAO has identified critical success factors for reorganizing and restructuring agencies, and its recent work in reviewing the Coast Guard has focused on challenges dealing with six of these factors--strategic planning, communications and partnership-building, performance management, human capital strategy, information management and technology, and acquisition management. The Coast Guard faces challenges in all of these areas. The difficulty of meeting these challenges is compounded because the Coast Guard is not just moving to a new parent agency: it is also substantially reinventing itself because of its new security role. Basically, the agency faces a fundamental tension in balancing its many missions. It must still do the work it has been doing for years in such areas as fisheries management and search and rescue, but now its resources are deployed as well in homeland security and even in the military buildup in the Middle East. The Coast Guard's expanded role in homeland security, along with its relocation in a new agency, have changed many of its working parameters, and its adjustment to this role remains a work in process. Much work remains. Some of the work is strategic in nature, such as the need to define new missions and redistribute resources to meet the wide range of missions. Others include accommodating a sudden surge of new positions or trying to ensure that its most ambitious acquisition project--the Deepwater Project--remains viable.
GAO-03-467T, Homeland Security: Challenges Facing the Coast Guard as it Transitions to the New Department
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Before the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Fisheries, Committee
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate:
United States General Accounting Office:
For Release on Delivery Expected at 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, February
Challenges Facing the Coast Guard as it Transitions to the New
Statement of JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director
Highlights of GAO-03-467T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on
Atmosphere, and Fisheries, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Why GAO Did This Study:
The Coast Guard is one of 22 agencies being placed in the new
of Homeland Security. With its key roles in the nation‘s ports,
waterways, and coastlines, the Coast Guard is an important part of
enhanced homeland security efforts. But it also has non-security
missions, such as search and rescue, fisheries and environmental
protection, and boating safety. GAO has conducted a number of reviews
of the Coast Guard‘s missions and was asked to testify about the Coast
Guard‘s implementation challenges in moving to this newly created
What GAO Found:
The Coast Guard faces major challenges in effectively implementing its
operations within the Department of Homeland Security. GAO has
identified critical success factors for reorganizing and restructuring
agencies, and its recent work in reviewing the Coast Guard has focused
on challenges dealing with six of these factors”strategic planning,
communications and partnership-building, performance management, human
capital strategy, information management and technology, and
The Coast Guard faces challenges in all of these areas. The difficulty
of meeting these challenges is compounded because the Coast Guard is
just moving to a new parent agency: it is also substantially
itself because of its new security role. Basically, the agency faces a
fundamental tension in balancing its many missions. It must still do
work it has been doing for years in such areas as fisheries management
and search and rescue, but now its resources are deployed as well in
homeland security and even in the military buildup in the Middle East.
The Coast Guard‘s expanded role in homeland security, along with its
relocation in a new agency, have changed many of its working
and its adjustment to this role remains a work in process. Much work
remains. Some of the work is strategic in nature, such as the need to
define new missions and redistribute resources to meet the wide range
of missions. Others include accommodating a sudden surge of new
positions or trying to ensure that its most ambitious acquisition
project”the Deepwater Project”remains viable.
What GAO Recommends:
GAO is not making new recommendations in this testimony, but past
reports have made specific recommendations aimed at some of these
implementation challenges, such as developing a long-term strategy
for how its resources will be used among its various missions.
To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact JayEtta Hecker at (202) 512-2834 or
[End of section]
Madame Chair and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to be here today to discuss key implementation challenges
facing the Coast Guard as it transitions into the newly created
Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Creating this new department
means merging disparate organizational structures, cultures, and
systems into a cohesive working unit. The newly created DHS represents
one of the largest reorganizations and consolidations of government
agencies, personnel, programs, and operations in recent history. The
department and agencies within it must deal with a myriad of
organizational, human capital, process, technology, and environmental
challenges that must be addressed and resolved at the same time that
the new department is working to maintain readiness. For these and
other reasons, we have designated the implementation and transformation
of DHS as a high-risk area.[Footnote 1]
But the Coast Guard, even as a separate entity, was rapidly reinventing
itself in many respects in the wake of the terrorist attacks of
September 11th. After these attacks, the Coast Guard‘s priorities and
focus had to shift suddenly and dramatically toward protecting the
nation‘s vast and sprawling network of ports and waterways. The
National Strategy for Homeland Security[Footnote 2] recognizes the
important role the Coast Guard now plays in protecting the nation‘s
borders and infrastructure. While homeland security has long been one
of the Coast Guard‘s missions, the agency has for decades focused its
efforts on other major national objectives, such as conducting search
and rescue operations at sea, preventing and mitigating oil spills and
other threats to the marine environment, protecting important fishing
grounds, and stemming the flow of illegal drugs and migrants into the
United States. September 11th drastically changed the Coast Guard‘s
priorities, and it did so by adding to the agency‘s many
responsibilities rather than by replacing responsibilities that were
already in place. For example, the recently enacted Maritime
Transportation Security Act[Footnote 3] made the Coast Guard
responsible for numerous new port security functions that will likely
require sizable personnel and hardware commitments.
My testimony today, which is based on a large body of work we have
completed in recent years, both on governmental reorganization in
general and the Coast Guard in particular, focuses on six key factors
for implementation success: strategic planning, communication and
partnership-building, performance management, human capital,
information management and technology, and acquisition management. In
prior reports and testimony before the Congress, we have identified
these factors as among those that are critical to success in
organizational change.[Footnote 4] Our recent work in reviewing the
Coast Guard has focused on challenges the Coast Guard faces in dealing
with these six success factors.
In summary, even though the Coast Guard has in many respects done a
credible job of managing such things as strategic planning,
partnership-building, and aligning its work force with its missions, it
now faces major challenges in implementing all six of the
implementation success factors. Its expanded role in homeland security
and its relocation in a new agency have changed many of its priorities
and working parameters, and its adjustment to this new environment
remains a work in process. Thus, there is much work to be done. Some of
the work is strategic in nature, such as the need to better define its
homeland security mission and the level of resources needed to meet not
only its new security mission responsibilities but its existing
missions as well. Others include accommodating a sudden surge of
thousands of personnel that are being added and trying to ensure that
its most ambitious acquisition project--the Deepwater Project to
modernize its fleet of cutters and aircraft--is well managed and
remains on track. Overlying these challenges is a fundamental tension
that the agency faces in balancing its many missions. On the one hand,
it must still do the job it has been doing for years in fisheries
management, search and rescue work, ship inspections, marine
environmental protection, and other areas. On the other hand, a sizable
portion of its resources are now deployed in homeland security work. In
addition, the Coast Guard is contributing to the military buildup in
the Middle East. Effectively addressing these implementation challenges
in the context of this overarching tension is a sizeable task.
The Coast Guard has a wide variety of missions, related both to
homeland security and its other responsibilities. Table 1 shows a
breakout of these missions--both security and non-security related--as
delineated under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.[Footnote 5]
Table 1: Security and Non-Security Missions of the Coast Guard:
Mission area: Security Missions:; Activities and functions within each
mission area: [Empty].
Mission area: Ports, waterway, and coastal security; Activities and
functions within each mission area: Conducting harbor patrols,
vulnerability assessments, intelligence gathering and analysis, and
other activities to prevent terrorist attacks and minimize the damage
from attacks that do occur..
Mission area: Drug interdiction; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Deploying cutters and aircraft in high drug trafficking
areas and gathering intelligence to reduce the flow of illegal drugs
across maritime boundaries..
Mission area: Migrant interdiction; Activities and functions within
each mission area: Deploying cutters and aircraft and conducting vessel
inspections to eliminate the flow of undocumented migrants entering the
United States by maritime routes..
Mission area: Defense readiness; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Participating with the Department of Defense (DOD) in
global military operations; deploying cutters and other boats and
aircraft in and around harbors to protect DOD force mobilization
Mission area: Non-Security Missions:; Activities and functions within
each mission area: [Empty].
Mission area: Maritime safety; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Setting standards and conducting vessel inspections to
better ensure the safety of passengers and crew aboard cruise ships,
ferries, and other passenger vessels and commercial and fishing
vessels; partnering with states and boating safety organizations to
reduce recreational boating deaths..
Mission area: Search and rescue; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Operating small boat stations and a national distress and
response communication system; conducting search and rescue operations
for mariners in distress..
Mission area: Living marine resources; Activities and functions within
each mission area: Protecting our nation‘s fishing grounds from foreign
encroachment; enforcing domestic fishing laws and regulations through
inspections and fishery patrols..
Mission area: Environmental protection; Activities and functions within
each mission area: Preventing and responding to marine oil spills;
preventing the illegal dumping of plastics and garbage into our
Mission area: Aids to navigation; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Maintaining an extensive system of navigation aids in our
waterways; monitoring marine traffic through vessel traffic service
Mission area: Ice operations; Activities and functions within each
mission area: Conducting polar operations to facilitate the movement of
critical goods and personnel in support of scientific and national
security activity; conducting domestic icebreaking operations to
facilitate year-round commerce..
Source: U.S. Coast Guard.
[End of table]
The Coast Guard has overall federal responsibility for many aspects of
port security and is involved in a wide variety of activities. Using
its cutters, boats, and aircraft, the Coast Guard conducts security
patrols in and around U.S. harbors, escorts large passenger vessels in
ports, and provides protection in U.S. waterways for DOD mobilization
efforts. It also gathers and disseminates intelligence information,
including gathering information on all large commercial vessels calling
at U.S. ports; the agency monitors the movement of many of these
vessels in U.S. territorial waters. It conducts port vulnerability
assessments; helps state and local port authorities to develop security
plans for protecting port infrastructure; and actively participates
with state, local, and federal port stakeholders in a variety of
efforts to protect port infrastructure and ensure a smooth flow of
commerce. In international maritime matters, the Coast Guard is also
active in working through the International Maritime Organization to
improve maritime security worldwide. It has spearheaded proposals
before this organization to implement electronic identification
systems, ship and facility security plans, and the undertaking of port
The Coast Guard‘s homeland security role is still evolving; however,
its resource commitments to this area are substantial and will likely
grow. For example, under the recently enacted Maritime Transportation
Security Act, the Coast Guard will likely perform numerous security
tasks, such as approving security plans for vessels and waterside
facilities, serving on area maritime security advisory committees,
assessing antiterrorism measures at foreign ports, and maintaining
harbor patrols. The Coast Guard has not yet estimated its costs for
these activities; however, the President‘s fiscal year 2004 budget
request includes over $200 million for new homeland security
initiatives, including new patrol boats, additional port security
teams, and increased intelligence capabilities.
To provide for the orderly transition of the Coast Guard to DHS on
March 1, 2003, the Coast Guard established a transition team last year
that identified and began addressing issues that needed attention.
Coast Guard officials told us that they patterned their transition
process after key practices that we identified as important to
successful mergers, acquisitions, and transformations.[Footnote 6] The
agency‘s transition team consists of top management, led by the Chief
of Staff, and enlists the assistance of numerous staff expertise
throughout the agency through matrixing. According to Coast Guard
officials, the scope of transition issues spans a wide variety of
topics, including administrative and support functions, strategy,
outreach and communication issues, legal considerations, and
information management. The transition team focuses on both DHS-related
issues and on issues related to maintaining an enduring relationship
with the Department of Transportation (DOT). In addition to its own
transition team, senior Coast Guard officials participated with OMB in
developing the DHS reorganization plan late last year.[Footnote 7]
Also, key Coast Guard officials participate on joint DHS and DOT
transition teams that have been established to deal with transition
issues in each department.
The Coast Guard Faces Numerous Complex Implementation Challenges as It
Transitions into DHS:
We have testified that, despite the complexity and enormity of the
implementation and transformation of DHS, there is likely to be
considerable benefit over time from restructuring homeland security
functions.[Footnote 8] These benefits include reducing risk and
improving the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of these
consolidated agencies and programs. In the short term, however, there
are numerous complicated challenges that will need to be resolved,
making implementation a process that will take considerable time and
effort. Reorganizations frequently encounter start-up problems and
unanticipated consequences, and it is not uncommon for management
challenges to remain for some time. Our past work on government
restructuring and reorganization has identified a number of factors
that are critical to success in these efforts. Coast Guard officials
now involved in transition efforts told us that they are aware of these
factors and are addressing many of them as they prepare to move to DHS.
Our testimony today focuses on six of these factors--strategic
planning, communication and partnership-building, performance
management, human capital strategy, information management and
technology, and acquisition management--and, based on past work, some
of the key challenges the Coast Guard faces in addressing and resolving
The strategic planning process involves assessing internal and external
environments, working with stakeholders, aligning activities,
processes, and resources in support of mission-related outcomes.
Strategic planning is important within the Coast Guard, which now faces
a challenge in merging past planning efforts with the new realities of
homeland security. The events of September 11th produced a dramatic
shift in resources used for certain missions. Cutters and patrol boats
that were normally used offshore were quickly shifted to coastal and
harbor security patrols. While some resources have been returned to
their more traditional activities, others have not. For example, Coast
Guard patrol boats in the nation‘s Northeast were still conducting
security patrols many months later, reducing the number of fisheries
patrols by 40-50 percent from previous years. Even now, the Coast Guard
continues to face new security-related demands on its resources. Most
notably, as part of the current military build-up in the Middle East,
the Coast Guard has sent nine cutters to assist the DOD in the event of
war with Iraq.[Footnote 9]
While its greatly expanded homeland security role has already been
merged into its day-to-day operations, the Coast Guard faces the need
to develop a strategic plan that reflects this new reality over the
long term. Where homeland security once played a relatively small part
in the Coast Guard‘s missions, a new plan must now delineate the goals,
objectives, strategies, resource requirements, and implementation
timetables for achieving this vastly expanded role while still
balancing resources among its various other missions. The agency is now
developing a strategic deployment plan for its homeland security
mission and plans to finish it sometime this year. However, development
has not begun on a long-term strategy that outlines how it sees its
resources--cutters, boats, aircraft, and personnel--being distributed
across all of its various missions, as well as a timeframe for
achieving desired balance among missions. We recommended in a recent
report to this Subcommittee that the Coast Guard develop such a
strategy to provide a focal point for all planning efforts and serve as
a basis for spending and other decisions.[Footnote 10] The Coast Guard
has taken this recommendation under advisement but has not yet acted on
Communication and Partnership-Building:
There is a growing realization that any meaningful results that
agencies hope to achieve are likely to be accomplished through matrixed
relationships or networks of governmental and nongovernmental
organizations working together. These relationships exist on at least
three levels. First, they exist within and support the various internal
units of an agency. Second, they include the relationships among the
components of a parent department, such as DHS. Third, they are also
developed externally, to include relationships with other federal,
state, and local agencies, as well as private entities and domestic and
international organizations. Our work has shown that agencies encounter
a range of barriers when they attempt coordination across
organizational boundaries.[Footnote 11] Such barriers include
agencies‘ concerns about protecting jurisdictions over missions and
control of resources, differences in procedures, processes, data
systems that lack interoperability, and organizational cultures that
may make agencies reluctant to share sensitive information.
Specifically, our work has shown that the Coast Guard faces formidable
challenges with respect to establishing effective communication links
and building partnerships both within DHS and with external
organizations. While most of the 22 agencies moving to DHS will report
to under secretaries for the department‘s various
directorates,[Footnote 12] the Coast Guard will remain a separate
entity reporting directly to the Secretary of DHS. According to Coast
Guard officials, the Coast Guard has important functions that will
require coordination and communication with all of these directorates,
particularly the Border and Transportation Security Directorate. For
example, the Coast Guard plays a vital role with Customs, Immigration
and Naturalization Service, the Transportation Security
Administration, and other agencies that are organized in the
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. Because the Coast
Guard‘s homeland security activities require interface with these and a
diverse set of other agencies organized within several DHS
directorates, communication, coordination, and collaboration with
these agencies is paramount to achieve department-wide results.
Effective communication and coordination with agencies outside the
department is also critical to achieving the homeland security
objectives, and the Coast Guard must maintain numerous relationships
with other public and private sector organizations outside DHS. For
example, according to Coast Guard officials, the Coast Guard will
remain an important participant in DOT‘s strategic planning process,
since the Coast Guard is a key agency in helping to maintain the
maritime transportation system. Also, the Coast Guard maintains
navigation systems used by DOT agencies such as the Federal Aviation
Administration. In the homeland security area, coordination efforts
will extend well beyond our borders to include international agencies
of various kinds. For example, the Coast Guard, through its former
parent agency, DOT, has been spearheading U.S involvement in the
International Maritime Organization. This is the organization that,
following the September 11th attacks, began determining new
international regulations needed to enhance ship and port security.
Also, our work assessing efforts to enhance our nation‘s port security
has underscored the formidable challenges that exist in forging
partnerships and coordination among the myriad of public and private
sector and international stakeholders.[Footnote 13]
A performance management system that promotes the alignment of
institutional, unit, and individual accountability to achieve results
is an essential component for organizational success. Our work has
shown performance management is a key component of success for high-
performing, results-oriented organizations. High-performing
organizations have recognized that a key element of a fully successful
performance management system is aligning individual employees‘
performance expectations with agency goals so that employees can see
how their responsibilities contribute to organizational goals. These
organizations (1) define clear missions and desired outcomes, (2)
measure performance as a way of gauging progress toward these outcomes,
and (3) use performance information as a basis for decision-
making.[Footnote 14] In stressing these actions, a good performance
management system fosters accountability.
The changed landscape of national security work presents a challenge
for the Coast Guard‘s own performance management system. The Coast
Guard has applied the principles of performance management for most of
its missions, but not yet for homeland security. However, the Coast
Guard has work under way to define its homeland security mission and
the desired outcomes stemming from that mission. The Coast Guard
expects to have such measures this year and begin collecting data to
gauge progress in achieving them. Progress in this area will be key in
the Coast Guard‘s ability to make sound decisions regarding its
strategy for accomplishing its security mission as well as its various
Human Capital Strategy:
In any organization, people are its most important asset. One of the
major challenges agencies face is creating a common organizational
culture to support a unified mission, common set of core values, and
organization-wide strategic goals. The Coast Guard, like the 21 other
agencies moving to DHS, will have to adjust its own culture to work
effectively within the department. The Coast Guard also faces other
important new human capital challenges. For example, to deal with its
expanded homeland security role and meet all of its other
responsibilities, the Coast Guard expects to add thousands of new
positions over the next 3 years. The Coast Guard acknowledges that such
a large increase could well strain the agency‘s ability to hire,
develop, and retain talent. Coast Guard officials acknowledge that
providing timely training for the 2,200 new personnel it plans to bring
on by the end of fiscal year 2003 and the additional 1,976 staff it
plans to add by the end of fiscal year 2004 will likely strain its
training capabilities. Compounding this challenge is that over the next
decade, the Coast Guard is modernizing its entire fleet of cutters and
aircraft with more modern, high technology assets that require a higher
skill level to operate and maintain.
Information Management and Technology:
One factor that often contributes to an organization‘s ineffectiveness
or failure is the lack of accurate, complete, and timely information.
Sometimes this lack of information contributes to the failure of a
system or to cumbersome systems that cannot be effectively coordinated.
In other instances, however, it can relate to the institutional
willingness to share information across organizational boundaries.
Concerns about information management have been well chronicled in the
discussions about establishing DHS. Programs and agencies will be
brought together from throughout the government, each bringing its own
systems. Integrating these diverse systems will be a substantial
The Coast Guard is among several agencies moving to DHS that will bring
with it existing information technology problems. For example, 14 years
after legislation was passed requiring the Coast Guard to develop a
vessel identification system to share vessel information, no such
system exists, and future plans for developing the system are
uncertain.[Footnote 15] Given today‘s heightened state of homeland
security, such a system has even more potential usefulness. Coast Guard
officials stated that law enforcement officials could use a vessel
identification system to review all vessels that have been lost or
stolen and verify ownership and law enforcement history.
Sound acquisition management is central to accomplishing the
department‘s mission. DHS is expected to spend billions annually to
acquire a broad range of products, technologies, and services. Getting
the most from this investment will depend on how well DHS manages its
acquisition activities. Our reports have shown that some of the
government‘s largest procurement operations need improvement.
The Coast Guard has major acquisitions that pose significant
challenges. The agency is involved in two of the most costly
procurement programs in its history--the $17 billion Integrated
Deepwater Project to modernize its entire fleet of cutters and
aircraft, and the $500 million national response and distress system,
called Rescue 21, to increase mariner safety. We have been reviewing
the planning effort for the Deepwater Project for a number of years,
and the agency‘s management during the planning phase was among the
best of the federal agencies we have evaluated, providing a solid
foundation for the project. While we believe the Coast Guard is in a
good position to manage this acquisition effectively, the current phase
of the project represents considerably tougher management challenges.
The major challenges are:
* Controlling costs. Under the project‘s contracting approach, the
responsibility for the project‘s success lies with a single systems
integrator and its contractors for a period of 20 years or more. This
approach starts the Coast Guard on a course potentially expensive to
alter once funding has been committed and contracts have been signed.
Moreover, this approach has never been used on a procurement of this
size or complexity, and, as a result, there are no models in the
federal government to guide the Coast Guard in developing its
acquisition strategy. In response to the concerns we and others have
raised about this approach, the Coast Guard developed cost-related
processes and policies, including establishing prices for deliverables,
negotiating change order terms, and developing incentives.
* Stable sustained funding. The project‘s unique contracting approach
is based on having a steady, predictable funding stream of $500 million
in 1998 dollars ($544.4 million in 2003 dollars) over the next 2 to 3
decades. Significant reductions in levels from planned amounts could
result in reduced operations, increased costs, and/or schedule delays,
according to the Coast Guard. Already the funding stream is not
materializing as the Coast Guard planned. The 2002 fiscal year
appropriation for the project was about $18 million below the planned
level. The fiscal year 2003 transportation appropriations have not yet
been signed into law; however, the Senate appropriations committee has
proposed $480 million for the Deepwater Project, and the House
appropriations committee proposed $500 million.
* Contractor oversight. Because the contracting approach is unique and
untried, the challenges in managing and overseeing the project will
become more difficult. To address these challenges, the Coast Guard‘s
plans require the systems integrator to implement many management
processes and procedures according to best practices. While these
practices are not yet fully in place, in May 2002, the Coast Guard
released its Phase 2 Program Management Plan, which establishes
processes to successfully manage, administer, monitor, evaluate, and
report contract performance.
* Unproven technology. Our reviews of other acquisitions have shown
that reliance on unproven technology is a frequent contributor to
escalated costs, schedule and delays, and compromised performance
standards. While the Coast Guard has successfully identified
technologies that are sufficiently mature, commercially available, and
proven in similar applications for use in the first 7 years of the
project, it has no structured process to assess and monitor the
potential risk of technologies proposed for use in later years.
Specifically, the Coast Guard has lacked uniform and systematic
criteria, which is currently available, to judge the level of a
technology‘s readiness, maturity, and risk. However, in response to our
2001 recommendation, the Coast Guard is incorporating a technology
readiness assessment in the project‘s risk management process.
Technology readiness level assessments are to be performed for
technologies identified in the design and proposal preparation and
procurement stages of the project.
For these and other reasons, our most recent series of Performance and
Accountability Reports continues to list the Deepwater Project as a
project meriting close management attention.[Footnote 16] We will
continue to assess the department‘s actions in these areas.
The Coast Guard‘s move to DHS may complicate these challenges further.
For example, central to the acquisition strategy for the Deepwater
Project is a clear definition of goals, needs, and performance
capabilities, so that a contractor can design a system and a series of
acquisitions that can be carried out over 2 to 3 decades, while meeting
the Coast Guard‘s needs throughout this time. These system goals and
needs were all developed prior to September 11th. Whether the Coast
Guard‘s evolving homeland security mission will affect these
requirements remains to be seen. Properly aligning this program within
the overall capital needs of DHS is critical to ensuring the success of
the Deepwater Project. Also, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 requires
the Secretary of DHS to submit a report to the Congress on the
feasibility of accelerating the rate of procurement of the Deepwater
Project. If the project is accelerated, even greater care would need to
be exercised in managing a project that already carries numerous risks.
In conclusion, these challenges are daunting but not insurmountable.
The Coast Guard continues to do an admirable job of adapting to its new
homeland security role through the hard work and dedication of its
people, and it has the management capability to address the
implementation issues discussed here as well. However, reorganizations
frequently encounter startup problems and unanticipated consequences,
and even in the best of circumstances, implementation is a lengthy
process that requires a keen focus, the application of sound management
principles, and continuous reexamination of challenges and issues
associated with achieving desired outcomes. As the Coast Guard
addresses these and other challenges in the future, we will continue to
monitor its efforts as part of our ongoing work on homeland security
issues, and we will be prepared to report to you on this work as you
Madame Chair, this concludes my testimony today. I would be pleased to
respond to any questions that you or members of the Subcommittee may
have at this time.
Contacts and Acknowledgements:
For information about this testimony, please contact JayEtta Z. Hecker,
Director, Physical Infrastructure, at (202) 512-2834, or
email@example.com. Individuals making key contributions to this testimony
include Christopher Jones, Sharon Silas, Stan Stenersen, and Randall
[End of section]
Related GAO Products:
Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
Transportation. GAO-03-108. Washington, D.C.: January 30, 2003.
Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Homeland
Security. GAO-03-102. Washington, D.C.: January 30, 2003.
Homeland Security: Management Challenges Facing Federal Leadership.
GAO-03-260. Washington, D.C.: December 20, 2002.
Container Security: Current Efforts to Detect Nuclear Materials, New
Initiatives, and Challenges. GAO-03-297T. New York, NY: November 18,
Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons Learned
for a Department of Homeland Security and Other Federal Agencies. GAO-
03-293SP. Washington, D.C.: November 14, 2002.
Coast Guard: Strategy Needed for Setting and Monitoring Levels of
Effort for All Missions. GAO-03-155. Washington, D.C.: November 12,
National Preparedness: Technology and Information Sharing Challenges.
GAO-02-1048R. Washington, D.C.: August 30, 2002.
Homeland Security: Effective Intergovernmental Coordination Is Key to
Success. GAO-02-1011T. Washington, D.C.: August 20, 2002.
Port Security: Nation Faces Formidable Challenges in Making New
Initiatives Successful. GAO-02-993T. Washington, D.C.: August 5, 2002.
Homeland Security: Critical Design and Implementation Issues. GAO-02-
957T. Washington, D.C.: July 17, 2002.
Managing for Results: Using Strategic Human Capital Management to Drive
Transformational Change. GAO-02-940T. Washington, D.C.: July 15, 2002.
Homeland Security: Title III of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. GAO-
02-927T. Washington, D.C.: July 9, 2002.
Homeland Security: Intergovernmental Coordination and Partnerships
Will Be Critical to Success. GAO-02-899T. Washington, D.C.: July 1,
Homeland Security: New Department Could Improve Coordination but May
Complicate Priority Setting. GAO-02-893T. Washington, D.C.: June 28,
Homeland Security: Proposal for Cabinet Agency Has Merit, But
Implementation Will Be Pivotal to Success. GAO-02-886T. Washington,
D.C.: June 25, 2002.
Homeland Security: Key Elements to Unify Efforts Are Underway but
Uncertainty Remains. GAO-02-610. Washington, D.C.: June 7, 2002.
National Preparedness: Integrating New and Existing Technology and
Information Sharing into an Effective Homeland Security Strategy. GAO-
02-811T. Washington, D.C.: June 7, 2002.
Coast Guard: Vessel Identification System Development Needs to Be
Reassessed. GAO-02-477. Washington, D.C.: May 24, 2002.
National Preparedness: Integration of Federal, State, Local, and
Private Sector Efforts Is Critical to an Effective National Strategy
for Homeland Security. GAO-02-621T. Washington, D.C.: April 11, 2002.
Coast Guard: Budget and Management Challenges for 2003 and Beyond. GAO-
02-538T. Washington, D.C.: March 19, 2002.
Homeland Security: Progress Made, More Direction and Partnership
Sought. GAO-02-490T. Washington, D.C.: March 12, 2002.
Homeland Security: Challenges and Strategies in Addressing Short-and
Long-Term National Needs. GAO-02-160T. Washington, D.C.: November 7,
Coast Guard: Actions Needed to Mitigate Deepwater Project Risks. GAO-
01-659T. Washington, D.C.: May 3, 2001.
Coast Guard: Progress Being Made on Deepwater Project, but Risks
Remain. GAO-01-564. Washington, D.C.: May 2, 2001.
Managing for Results: Barriers to Interagency Coordination. GAO/GGD-00-
106. Washington, D.C.: March 9, 2000.
Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government Performance
and Results Act. GAO/GGD-96-118. Washington, D.C.: June 1, 1996.
 Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
Homeland Security (GAO-03-102, January 2003).
 National Strategy for Homeland Security, The White House, Office of
Homeland Security, July 16, 2002.
 Pub. L. 107-295, Nov. 25, 2002.
 Homeland Security: Proposal for Cabinet Agency Has Merit, But
Implementation Will Be Pivotal to Success (GAO-02-886T, June 25, 2002).
Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons Learned
for a Department of Homeland Security and Other Federal Agencies
(GAO-03-293SP, November 14, 2002). GAO has identified several other
factors as important to success, including organizational alignment,
knowledge management, financial management, and risk management.
However, these factors, as they relate to the Coast Guard were not
covered in the scope of completed GAO work.
 Pub. L. 107-296, Nov. 25, 2002.
 Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons
Learned for a Department of Homeland Security and Other Federal
Agencies (GAO-03-293SP, November 14, 2002).
 Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan, November 25,
2002. This plan, required by the Homeland Security Act of 2002,
addresses (1) the transfer of agencies, personnel, assets, and
obligations to DHS, and (2) any consolidation, reorganization, or
streamlining of agencies transferred to DHS.
 Homeland Security: Proposal for Cabinet Agency Has Merit, But
Implementation Will Be Pivotal to Success (GAO-02-886T, June 25, 2002).
 The Coast Guard is sending one 378-foot high endurance cutter and
eight 110-foot patrol boats to the Middle East in support of DOD‘s
Enduring Freedom, the Global War on Terrorism.
 Coast Guard: Strategy Needed for Setting and Monitoring Levels of
Effort for All Missions (GAO-03-155, November 12, 2002).
 Managing for Results: Barriers to Interagency Coordination, (GAO/
GGD-00-106, March 9, 2000).
 Most agencies within DHS are organized within one of the four
directorates: Science and Technology, Information Analysis and
Infrastructure Protection, Border and Transportation Security, and
Emergency Preparedness and Response.
 Container Security: Current Efforts to Detect Nuclear Materials,
New Initiatives, and Challenges (GAO-03-297T, November 18, 2002). Port
Security: Nation Faces Formidable Challenges in Making New Initiatives
Successful (GAO-02-993T, August 5, 2002).
 Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government
Performance and Results Act (GAO/GGD-96-118, June 1, 1996).
 Coast Guard: Vessel Identification System Development Needs to Be
Reassessed. (GAO-02-477, May 24, 2002).
 Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
Transportation (GAO-03-108; January 30, 2003).