Responsibly Rebuilding the Coast Guard

Rebuilding the Coast Guard


The Coast Guard’s Five Year Capital Investment Plan for acquisition, construction and improvements projects the service’s acquisition priorities for 2013-2017 and is currently estimated at $7.6 billion. From surface and air assets to shore infrastructure or personnel costs, how can companies help responsibly rebuild the Coast Guard?

Bill Glenn
Manager of Public Affairs
Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is a shipbuilder, and our perspective is substantially influenced by our experience with the Coast Guard’s flagship program, the national security cutter (NSC). We have worked side by side with the Coast Guard over the last 10 years to build the NSC, from concept through proven performance. With three NSCs serving superbly at sea and two in production, we are at a point in the program where the Coast Guard is able to achieve the desired level of shipboard capability from a stable design and a proven production line. This creates economic advantages in production and with suppliers that can only be realized when a program reaches a point of “sustained serial production.”

HII’s recommendation is to consider leveraging proven performance in meeting fleet requirements most responsibly. Having reached an optimum program pace and product, the Coast Guard and the Department should exercise it to the maximum. Stick to the plan and consider expanding the plan if it can be used to meet a growing requirement set, and do it when it is most affordable. These factors could be common to several Coast Guard programs, and moving forward, it would be prudent to consider how Coast Guard intends to meet the current requirement set while recognizing the comparative risk in new versus proven programs.

Andy Wakefield
Director of Government Solutions
Lutron Electronics

The best way to save money on energy is to need less of it. To this end, focusing on energy efficiency has to be a key component in the Coast Guard’s Five Year Capital Investment Plan. Lutron can help significantly with that. Lighting is typically a building’s largest energy consumer— almost 40 percent of total energy use.

The energy costs of day-to-day operations currently drain 20 to 25 percent of the Coast Guard’s expenditures. Without changes, rising energy costs will only increase the percentage of funding diverted to power needs. As the Coast Guard invests in rebuilding itself, investing in energy efficiency will cut energy costs and enable the agency to focus resources on saving lives and protecting our nation, providing taxpayers with the best return on Coast Guard investments.

One way the Coast Guard is already cutting energy costs is by making its facilities more energy-efficient. The new Coast Guard headquarters building in Washington, D.C., is currently slated to implement Lutron Electronics’ Quantum Total Light Management system to maximize the efficient use of light. The Quantum system is a buildingwide light control system that automatically adjusts to changing visual environments and can save up to 25 percent of a building’s energy while providing real-time data on energy use, enabling well-informed energy management.

Energy security starts with reducing energy requirements. With continued investment in energy efficiency and a holistic sustainable energy strategy, the Coast Guard can make sure it is “always ready” for future energy and budgetary environments.

Captain Matt von Ruden (USCG, Ret.)
Program Manager, Vigor Offshore Patrol Cutter
Vigor Shipyards

Vigor believes proven working partnerships can help the Coast Guard maximize acquisition dollars, if those shipyard partners are not resting on past success. Nimble, well-managed and responsive shipyards, which continually balance capacity and cost, offer the agency the strong solutions needed for the next halfdecade and beyond.

We believe the Coast Guard can leverage shipyard maintenance partnerships to maximize acquisitions. As the Coast Guard’s long-time maintenance provider for Polar Sea, Polar Star and Healy, Vigor offers decades of experience in icebreaker maintenance and repair, which will inform cost containment for new acquisitions. A multi-year, multi-ship contract similar to that for the icebreakers can also help extend sustainment efforts for the West Coast buoy tender fleet. By allowing shipyards to help identify maintenance requirements, we can plan and execute the work at lower cost and minimize the time these vessels are out of service. Extending the lifespan and uptime of current vessels in turn allows the Coast Guard breathing room to maximize the effectiveness and budget of its acquisition program.

Cost effectiveness in new vessel design and constructability will be critical as well. We see our greatest opportunity to assist the Coast Guard meet its missions by offering an affordable workhorse offshore patrol cutter (OPC) designed to carry out a broad array of offshore missions through 2075. Our OPC team has extensive experience in commanding, operating and maintaining the major cutters of the Coast Guard. Our experience building comparably sized vessels for Washington state, Alaska and the federal government position us well to deliver the quality the Coast Guard expects and achieve a cost that will support the delivery of all 25 vessels the Coast Guard desperately needs.

We know real-world requirements can stress any government agency’s ability to meet acquisition, construction and improvement needs. While the current fiscal situation makes the next five-year cycle especially challenging for the Coast Guard, Vigor Industrial is encouraged by the agency’s plan and commitment for rebuilding its surface fleet. We look forward to continuing and refining our partnership with the Coast Guard to provide maximum operational capability for every investment dollar.

Captain Paul Glandt (USN, Ret.)
Director, Business Development
Wärtsilä Ship Power–Defense

The four pillars Admiral Papp emphasized during his 2011 State of the Coast Guard address clearly called upon a strong industrial base. Wärtsilä supports these pillars through “Sustaining Mission Excellence” by designing and supplying robust, well-supported, fully-integrated equipment. This results in improved vessel availability, optimal life cycle efficiencies, and promotes the crew to focus on mission critical operations.

Wärtsilä undertakes the enlarged role of “Recapitalizing and Building Capacity” of surface assets by uniquely offering a total integrated marine propulsion system. We begin with several hundred design professionals working from initial ship concepts through all technical aspects including hydrodynamics, electrical power management, advanced controls, bridge integration, automation, propulsion, environmental mitigation of water/air/noise emissions, and world leading LNG fuel technology. Our integrated equipment portfolio tailors shipboard systems to exceed the most demanding vessel operational requirements through the application of best available technologies. This broad foundation is based upon our long-term R&D investment maintaining premier focus on innovation.

Rapid global change brings one certainty; change begets accelerated change. As the Coast Guard faces future mission shifts and technology that advances by leaps every decade, it’s paramount that strong industry-government partnerships evolve. Fleets require continual updates throughout their extended lifetime to avoid obsolescence and maintain security. Wärtsilä’s long-term committed focus to the marine industry, financial strength and leading technical expertise along with global service capabilities provide compelling value. This uniquely positions Wärtsilä as a preferred long-term trusted partner for the USCG.

Jim Van Sice
Director of Homeland Security
EADS North America

With the Coast Guard’s broadened responsibilities and changing priorities, efficiency and versatility are necessary for all of its assets. To make best use of limited budgets, the Coast Guard must strike the right balance between replacement and upgrades, seek economies of scale, and reduce logistics costs by procuring systems and platforms common to other services.

Proper maintenance can extend service life for airframes that still meet mission requirements, but avionics and engines are continuously evolving. Upgrades can be an efficient way to sustain capability. At some point, however, it becomes more efficient to completely replace aging platforms with ones that significantly increase utility. This was the case with the HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft, which enables the Coast Guard to cover a much wider mission area without more surface vessels. The HC-144A’s endurance and cargo capacity are much better suited to today’s wide-ranging tasks, including disaster response, search and rescue, and drug interdiction.

Procurement strategy is about tradeoffs. Delaying a program achieves short-term savings but incurs higher long-term expenditures, whereas greater investment upfront minimizes costs down the road. For example, purchasing more HC-144As per year would achieve significant economies of scale and more consistent fleetwide aging.

Finally, an important consideration is commonality, especially with the U.S. Navy. For example, the Coast Guard already uses similar combat management and radar systems on its national security cutter compared to the Navy’s littoral combat ship. Putting this radar on the OPC would further reduce the government’s total program and ownership costs and leverage the supply chain and training assets already in place.

Bill Houtz
Military Sales Manager

The evolution of asymmetric security threats makes sharing information imperative amongst the nation’s defenders. KVH is providing a new generation of maritime VSAT service that is fast and reliable, offers near-global multimegabit coverage and outstanding 24/7/365 global support, and uses small, affordable onboard terminals that can be installed on virtually any vessel. Through the Small Cutter Connectivity program, KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network is enabling improved collaboration for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The mini-VSAT Broadband service uses ViaSat’s Arclight advanced spread spectrum technology. Designed for mobile applications in hostile environments, it enables mobile VSAT service with very small antennas. KVH’s TracPhone V7 system, selected by the Coast Guard, features a 60 cm antenna, comparable to slower L-band services. Previously, the Coast Guard was using prohibitively expensive L-band service for most of its connectivity at sea. The mini-VSAT Broadband service enables affordable transmission of voice and operational data, biometrics and crew access.

KVH is expanding mini-VSAT Broadband coverage by overlaying three global C-band beams on top of its Ku-band service. The new TracPhone V11, scheduled for introduction in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012, uses a unique dual-mode 1-meter antenna that receives both C- and Ku-band signals. The C-band service will provide total global coverage outside the extreme polar regions, as well as back-up service in regions with Ku-band coverage.

The U.S. Coast Guard has shown great confidence in mini-VSAT Broadband since 2008. This was affirmed with the signing of the Small Cutter Connectivity contract in September 2010, bringing mini-VSAT Broadband service, equipment, and global support to the fleet with a $42 million, 10-year IDIQ contract. The solution will be deployed on 216 cutters, with 78 installations completed and more occurring monthly. ♦

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