This spring the Coast Guard allegedly faked a key test on its flagship, $650-million National Security Cutter. The allegations were only the latest to come out of the troubled, $25-billion Deepwater modernization scheme, which has been beset by technical failures, shady contracting, delays and huge cost overruns.
Through it all, the Coast Guard has resisted giving straight answers to simple questions. But in the wake of last week’s heated conference call with Commandant Thad Allen (pictured), the Coast Guard has offered to answer any questions. I came up with 13. Noah at Danger Room will be passing them along to Allen’s people.
1) Has the Coast Guard’s access to SIPR Net been totally or partially shut down recently? If so, why?
2) Was the National Security Cutter designed with Secure Compartmented Information Facilities? If not, why not – and what is the Coast Guard going to do about it?
3) Four years ago Coast Guard civilian employee Ron Porter issued waivers for security shortcomings in the network systems for the 123-foot cutters, despite not being a full Certified Tempest Technical Authority. Why was that allowed to happen?
4) Who is the Coast Guard’s current CTTA?
5) Were any C4ISR systems installed on, then removed from, Bertholf prior to her INSURV inspection in the spring? If so, what were they, who removed them, and why? Were those systems re-installed?
6) Rear Admiral Gary Blore said that some of Bertholf’s systems would be brought on line for the first time during her work-up on the West Coast. What are those systems?
7) Considering that not all of Bertholf’s C4ISR systems were functioning at the time of her acceptance, what system was she using for secure comms?
8) Do NSC 2 and 3 share the exact same design with NSC 1? Or have their designs been altered based on lessons learned during Bertholf’s construction and trials? If the designs have been altered, what are the major changes?
9) Considering Deepwater’s “system of systems” architecture, how does the Coast Guard ensure that flaws with one component system do not “spread” to other components? In other words, if one comms system leaks emissions, how do we know that a similar, if not identical, comms system on another platform won’t also leak emissions?
10) Congress wants the Coast Guard to name a three-star acquisitions chief with 10 years of acquisitions experience. How will the Coast Guard fill this requirement, considering the service’s practice of prohibiting “limited duty”?
11) Why did the Coast Guard award Bollinger the contract for new Sentinel-class cutters, considering that Bollinger was involved in the botched work on the 123-foot cutters three years ago? Is the Coast Guard concerned about a repeat of the 123 fiasco?
12) What is the status of the Coast Guard’s $100-million refund on the decommissioned 123s?
13) Did the 123-foot cutters, before they were decommissioned, ever use their “secure” C4ISR equipment near Cuba?
Coastie observers: did I miss anything?