oversight

Coast Guard: New Communication System to Support Search and Rescue Faces Challenges

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-09-30.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO	             Report to the Subcommittee on Coast
                 Guard and Maritime Transportation,
                 Committee on Transportation and
                 Infrastructure, House of Representatives

September 2003
                 COAST GUARD
                 New Communication
                 System to Support
                 Search and Rescue
                 Faces Challenges




GAO-03-1111

                 a

                                                September 2003


                                                COAST GUARD

                                                New Communication System to Support
Highlights of GAO-03-1111, a report to the 

Subcommittee on Coast Guard and 

                                                Search and Rescue Faces Challenges
Maritime Transportation, Committee on 

Transportation and Infrastructure,

House of Representatives





Search and rescue—one of the                    Rescue 21’s original schedule, which called for it to achieve initial operating
Coast Guard’s oldest missions—                  capability by September 2003, has been postponed, and the Coast Guard has
involves minimizing the loss of life,           not yet finalized a new schedule. This postponement was due in part to the
injury, and property damage by                  development of the system taking longer than planned.
aiding people and boats in distress.
The Coast Guard has previously
                                                GAO reviewed the Coast Guard’s management of three risk areas associated
reported that its 30-year-old search
and rescue communication system,                with Rescue 21:
called the National Distress and
Response System, has several                    •	   Test management. Scheduled completion dates for key tests are still
deficiencies and is difficult to                     being determined. These key tests (formal qualification testing, system
maintain. Thus, the Coast Guard                      integration testing, and operational testing and evaluation) are
contracted to replace and                            incremental tests that the Coast Guard is planning to perform before
modernize it with a new system,                      reaching initial operating capability. Completion dates are not yet set
called Rescue 21.                                    because the Coast Guard decided to postpone initial operating capability
                                                     due to delays in the original test schedule, which resulted in increased
GAO was asked to identify the                        risks associated with compressing and overlapping key tests (see figure).
status and plans of the Coast
                                                     In addition, key deliverables, including test plans, are still outstanding,
Guard’s acquisition of Rescue 21
and the technical and program                        and no scheduled completion dates exist.
risks associated with Rescue 21.                •	   Requirements management. The Coast Guard has a process in place for
                                                     managing system requirements.
                                                •	   Risk management. The Coast Guard has a program in place for
GAO recommends, in part, that the                    identifying, prioritizing, and minimizing risks. Two high risks identified
Secretary of Homeland Security                       by the Coast Guard are software development and environmental
direct the Commandant of the U.S.                    concerns related to the construction of new antenna sites, which may
Coast Guard to establish a new                       delay the implementation of Rescue 21.
schedule for critical testing phases
and initial operating capability and
ensure that milestones are                      Key Testing Dates through June 2003
established for completing test
plans for formal qualification
testing, system integration testing,
and operational testing and
evaluation.

In commenting on a draft of our
report, Coast Guard officials
generally agreed with GAO’s
findings and recommendations and
provided technical corrections,
which were incorporated as
appropriate.


www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-1111.

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact David A.
Powner at (202) 512-9286 or
pownerd@gao.gov.
Contents




Letter                                                                                                              1
                         Recommendations                                                                            2
                         Agency Comments                                                                            2


Appendix
           Appendix I:   The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An Update                                         4




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                         Page i                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
A

United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    September 30, 2003


                                    The Honorable Frank A. LoBiondo

                                    Chairman

                                    The Honorable Bob Filner

                                    Ranking Minority Member

                                    Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation

                                    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

                                    House of Representatives


                                    The National Distress and Response System is a significant component of 

                                    the United States Coast Guard’s search and rescue program. However,

                                    Coast Guard officials have reported that the 30-year-old system has several 

                                    deficiencies and is difficult to maintain. In September 2002, the Coast 

                                    Guard contracted with General Dynamics Decision Systems (General 

                                    Dynamics) to modernize and replace the National Distress and Response 

                                    System with a system called Rescue 21. As you requested, our objectives 

                                    were to identify the (1) status and plans of the Coast Guard’s acquisition of 

                                    Rescue 21 and (2) technical and programmatic risks associated with 

                                    Rescue 21.


                                    To identify the status and plans for acquiring Rescue 21, we analyzed 

                                    Rescue 21’s acquisition strategy and cost and schedule estimates. We also 

                                    compared original Rescue 21 plans with current strategies. To identify the 

                                    technical and programmatic risks associated with Rescue 21, we reviewed

                                    key Coast Guard acquisition documents, including test plans, requirements 

                                    documents, the risk watch list, and risk mitigation plans. We performed our 

                                    work at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the Coast 

                                    Guard group site in Chincoteague, Va.; and General Dynamics in Scottsdale, 

                                    Ariz. We conducted our work from November 2002 through June 2003 in

                                    accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


                                    On August 13, 2003, we provided your offices with a status briefing on the 

                                    results of this review, which is included as appendix I. The purpose of this 

                                    letter is to provide the published briefing slides to you and to officially 

                                    transmit our recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security.


                                    In brief, we reported that the Coast Guard’s original schedule for reaching 

                                    initial operating capability by September 2003 had been postponed and that 

                                    the Coast Guard had not yet finalized a new schedule. The postponement of 

                                    the schedule for reaching initial operating capability was due in part to the 

                                    system’s development taking longer than planned. In reviewing the Coast 




                                    Page 1                        GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                   Guard’s test management practices, we found that the Coast Guard
                   postponed key tests in part because prior schedules showed delay, overlap,
                   and compression of tests, which increased the risk that all requirements
                   would not be tested. In addition, schedules for key tests and deliverables,
                   including test plans, were still outstanding. These key tests (formal
                   qualification testing, system integration testing, and operational testing and
                   evaluation) are incremental tests that the Coast Guard is planning to
                   perform before reaching initial operating capability. We also determined
                   that the Coast Guard has developed key documentation used for managing
                   system requirements and that the Coast Guard has a program in place for
                   identifying, prioritizing, and minimizing risks.



Recommendations	   To mitigate Rescue 21 risks and ensure that adequate testing occurs and all
                   requirements are fulfilled so that the deployed system will work as
                   specified, we are recommending that the Secretary of Homeland Security
                   direct the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard to

                   •	 establish a new schedule for critical testing phases and initial operating
                      capability and

                   •	 ensure that milestones are established for completing test plans for
                      formal qualification testing, system integration testing, and operational
                      testing and evaluation and that test plans address all requirements of the
                      system.



Agency Comments	   In providing oral comments on a draft of this report, Coast Guard officials,
                   including the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Project Manager, stated that they
                   generally agreed with our findings and recommendations. Coast Guard
                   officials also stated that the Coast Guard is actively working with General
                   Dynamics to jointly develop a new schedule that considers all the risk
                   factors identified in this report. In addition, Coast Guard officials provided
                   technical corrections that we incorporated in this report, where
                   appropriate.


                   As we agreed with your staff, unless you publicly announce the contents of
                   this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of it until 30 days from
                   the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to the Secretary of
                   Homeland Security, the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard,



                   Page 2                         GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
and other interested parties. Copies will be made available to others upon
request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO
Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact me at (202) 512-
9286 or by e-mail at pownerd@gao.gov. Sophia Harrison, Richard Hung,
David Noone, Colleen Phillips, Karl Seifert, and Eric Winter were major
contributors to this report.




David A. Powner
Director (Acting), Information Technology
  Management Issues




Page 3                        GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
Appendix I

The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An
Update




             The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21
                Acquisition: An Update
                            August 13, 2003




                                                                                      1




                   Page 4               GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                    Appendix I

                    The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                    Update





Briefing Outline


•   Introduction
•   Objectives, Scope, and Methodology
•   Results in Brief
•   Rescue 21 Background
•   Status and Plans
•   Key Risk Areas
•   Conclusions
•   Recommendations




                                                                                                     2




                    Page 5                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                   Appendix I

                                   The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                   Update





Introduction

Search and rescue is one of the Coast Guard's oldest missions and one of its
highest priorities.* The search and rescue mission involves minimizing the
loss of life, injury, and property damage by aiding people and boats in
distress.

The National Distress and Response System (NDRS) is a significant
component of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue program. NDRS is a
short-range communication network used to communicate over U.S. Coastal
waters and inland waterways. NDRS allows Coast Guard officers to monitor
the radio distress frequency and to coordinate search and rescue missions in
response to mariner distress calls.

Coast Guard officials have previously reported that the 30-year-old NDRS has
several deficiencies and is difficult to maintain. Therefore, the Coast Guard
contracted with General Dynamics Decision Systems (General Dynamics) to
develop and implement a modernized NDRS, called Rescue 21.
*14 U.S.C. § 90; 6 U.S.C. § 468.
                                                                                                                    3




                                   Page 6                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                    Appendix I

                    The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                    Update





Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


Objectives

• Identify the status and plans of the Coast Guard’s acquisition of Rescue 21.

• Identify the technical and programmatic risks associated with Rescue 21.




                                                                                                     4




                    Page 7                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                      Appendix I

                      The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                      Update





Objectives, Scope, and Methodology (cont’d)

Scope and Methodology
To identify the status and plans for acquiring Rescue 21, we analyzed the
Rescue 21 acquisition strategy and cost and schedule estimates. We also
compared original Rescue 21 plans with current strategies.

To identify the technical and programmatic risks associated with the Rescue
21 acquisition, we reviewed the Coast Guard’s acquisition plans and policies.
Specifically, we reviewed
     • test management plans, including the test and evaluation master plan
       and formal qualification test plan;
     • requirements management plans, including the mission needs
       statement, operational requirements document, and contract
       performance specification; and
     • risk management plans, including risk watch list and risk mitigation
       strategies.

                                                                                                       5




                      Page 8                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                     Appendix I

                     The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                     Update





Objectives, Scope, and Methodology (cont’d)

We also evaluated the Coast Guard’s policies for managing Rescue 21 risks,
requirements, and testing by comparing them to industry best practices and
Coast Guard policies. In addition, we interviewed program managers and
contract officials.

We performed our work at the United States Coast Guard headquarters in
Washington D.C.; the Coast Guard group site in Chincoteague, Va.; and
General Dynamics in Scottsdale, Ariz. We conducted our work from
November 2002 through June 2003, in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards.




                                                                                                      6




                     Page 9                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                      Appendix I

                      The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                      Update





Results in Brief

Rescue 21 Status and Plans

    • The original Rescue 21 schedule for reaching initial operating
      capability by September 2003 has been postponed and the Coast
      Guard has not yet finalized a new schedule.

Rescue 21 Technical and programmatic risks

    • Test management – Effective test management ensures that system
      functions meet their specified requirements. Scheduled end dates for
      formal qualification testing, system integration testing, and operational
      testing and evaluation are still being determined, and key deliverables
      are still outstanding, including test plans. The Coast Guard decided to
      postpone these tests and IOC because of delays in development and
      the resulting risks associated with compressing and overlapping key
      tests.


                                                                                                       7




                      Page 10                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                      Appendix I

                      The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                      Update





Results in Brief (cont’d)

Rescue 21 Technical and programmatic risks (cont’d)

    • Requirements management – Effective requirements management
      ensures that the minimum functions and performance levels needed to
      satisfy user needs are met. The Coast Guard has developed key
      documentation used for managing requirements.

    • Risk management – Effective risk management typically includes
      identifying, prioritizing, resolving, and monitoring project risks. The
      Coast Guard’s plans for identifying, prioritizing, and minimizing risks
      are in place.




                                                                                                       8




                      Page 11                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                    Appendix I

                    The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                    Update





Background: The Existing NDRS


NDRS is a significant component of the Coast Guard’s current search and
rescue program. This system

    • is the Coast Guard’s primary short-range communication network, with
      a range of about 20 nautical miles;

    • provides communications for command and control missions, such as
      maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, national security, and
      marine environmental protection; and

    • is composed of VHF-FM radios, communication towers, and
      communication centers.



                                                                                                     9




                    Page 12                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                   Appendix I

                                   The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                   Update





Background: The Existing NDRS (cont’d)

Much of the existing system was installed in the 1970’s, making many of the
system’s components expensive to maintain and difficult to upgrade. In
addition, the Coast Guard has previously reported that the existing NDRS has
several other critical deficiencies:
    • numerous gaps in the coverage of communication, affecting 14
        percent of Coast Guard’s total area of responsibility; in these areas,
        the Coast Guard cannot hear calls from mariners in distress;
    • limited direction-finding capabilities and no digital selective calling
        capabilities;*
    • no effective way to track Coast Guard assets;
    • limited interoperability with other federal and state communication
        systems; and
    • no means for secure/protected communication.



*A digital selective calling radio has the ability to send a mayday signal that identifies the vessel and when
 connected to a Global Positioning System, sends the vessel’s location.                                             10




                                   Page 13                              GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                       Appendix I

                       The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                       Update





Background: Rescue 21

In September 2002, the Coast Guard awarded a contract to General
Dynamics for developing and implementing a modernized NDRS, called
Rescue 21. The contract and original schedule call for the following:
    • two initial Coast Guard locations to be operating with full functionality,
       scheduled for September 2003, referred to as achieving initial
       operating capability (IOC), and
    • continuing deployment to additional locations through 2006.

Rescue 21 is to be a short-range communication system with a range of about
20 nautical miles. The system is to include VHF-FM radios, communication
towers, and hardware and software at the communication centers. Rescue
21’s primary functions are to provide the Coast Guard with communication for
    • maritime search-and-rescue functions, such as monitoring distress
        calls from boaters and coordinating the response or rescue, and
    • command and control missions.

                                                                                                      11




                       Page 14                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                     Appendix I

                     The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                     Update





Background: Rescue 21 (cont’d)

According to the Coast Guard’s contract with General Dynamics, the Rescue
21 system is to:
    • limit the number of communication coverage gaps in the United States
       to less than 2 percent;
    • use direction finding and digital selective calling to locate boaters;
    • allow the Coast Guard to track its mobile assets;
    • meet interoperability standards to allow communication with other
       federal and state systems;
    • allow secure/protected communication of sensitive information; and
    • archive voice and data communications and have them instantly
       accessible.




                                                                                                    12




                     Page 15                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                 Appendix I

                                 The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                 Update





Status and Plans

Rescue 21 is currently under development. As of June 2003, the Coast
Guard’s testing and schedule for reaching initial operational capability (IOC)
was as follows:




The Coast Guard has received funding of $182.4 million for the Rescue 21
acquisition through fiscal year 2003, and the projected funding through fiscal
year 2007 is $569.2 million.
*Formal qualification testing (FQT), system integration testing (SIT), and operational testing and evaluation (OT&E)
 are incremental tests the Coast Guard is planning to perform before reaching IOC.
                                                                                                                     13




                                 Page 16                             GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                       Appendix I

                       The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                       Update





Status and Plans (cont’d)

In July 2003, the Coast Guard delayed IOC from the original September 30,
2003, date to a January to March 2004 timeframe.

According to agency officials and test documents, the causes for delaying IOC
and preceding test were as follows:
    • General Dynamics had taken longer than expected to obtain
       developers and subcontractors for Rescue 21,
    • the development of the system software continues to take longer than
       planned.

Since postponing IOC, the Coast Guard has not developed a schedule for
formal qualification testing, system integration testing, operational testing and
evaluation, or IOC.


                                                                                                      14




                       Page 17                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                               Appendix I

                               The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                               Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management


Test management is used to ensure that system functions meet their specified
requirements. According to leading information technology organizations*, to
be effective, software testing practices should be planned and conducted in a
structured and disciplined fashion. Typically, this involves testing increasingly
larger increments of a system until the complete system is tested and
accepted and resolving critical problems before moving to the next phase of
testing.




*U.S. General Accounting Office Year 2000 Computing Crisis: A Testing Guide (GAO/AIMD-10.1.21, Washington,
 D.C.: November 1998).                                                                                        15




                               Page 18                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                 Appendix I

                                 The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                 Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management (cont’d)


  Rescue 21 is planned to go through the following stages of testing before
  achieving IOC:
                                                                                             initial operating
 formal qualification          system integration              operational testing and
                                                                                             capability (IOC)
 testing (FQT)                 testing (SIT)                   evaluation (OT&E)             declared


•performed by the             •performed by the               •performed by the Coast       •the system is to be
 contractor and witnessed      contractor and witnessed        Guard                         operational at two
 by the Coast Guard            by the Coast Guard             •ensures that the installed    locations
•demonstrates that the        •includes system-level           system satisfies the
 system meets the              testing that cannot be fully    contract performance
 contract performance          performed during FQT            requirements and that
 specifications*              •the contractor installs a       the acquisition program
•takes place in a simulated    fully functional system at      is ready to deploy the
 environment located at        two locations to validate to    system at other Coast
 the contractor’s facility     the government that             Guard locations
                               installation and
                               performance meet the
                               performance specifications


*The contract performance specifications define system level requirements for communications as well as
 information and data processing.
                                                                                                                   16




                                 Page 19                              GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                     Appendix I

                     The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                     Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management (cont’d)


Since early 2003, the Coast Guard began postponing formal qualification
testing and subsequent testing for Rescue 21. In order for the Coast Guard
and General Dynamics to meet scheduled end dates, they planned to
compress and overlap testing schedules. Specifically,
     • formal qualification testing and system integration testing were delayed
        by 6 and 4 months, respectively;
     • the Coast Guard had originally scheduled 2 months to perform formal
        qualification testing, but was planning less than a month; and
     • formal qualification testing and system integration testing were
        planned to be performed in sequence, but were scheduled
        concurrently.

The graphic on the following slide depicts Rescue 21’s schedule at various
dates and demonstrates delays and compression of the timing of key tests
through June 2003.


                                                                                                    17




                     Page 20                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                    Appendix I

                    The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                    Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management (cont’d)


Key Testing Dates Through June 2003




                                                                                                   18




                    Page 21                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                      Appendix I

                      The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                      Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management (cont’d)

Schedule delays, test compression, and testing overlap increase the risk that
   • all requirements will not be tested during formal qualification testing,
      system integration testing, and operational testing and evaluation
      because of the lack of time, and
   • system anomalies that could be found in one testing phase could carry
      over to another testing phase or may not be fully resolved before the
      next testing cycle begins.

We raised these testing concerns to the Coast Guard in April 2003 and later
discussed whether these concerns could increase the likelihood that the
Coast Guard would not be able to test the full functionality of the system and
deploy the system in the initial sites by September 2003 as was originally
planned.



                                                                                                     19




                      Page 22                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                       Appendix I

                       The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                       Update





Key Risk Areas: Test Management (cont’d)

Due to the previously stated delays in development and resulting risks
associated with compressing and overlapping key tests, the Coast Guard
decided to postpone IOC.

In addition, key actions remain incomplete. The test plans for formal
qualification testing, system integration testing, and operational testing and
evaluation are incomplete, and no scheduled completion dates exist.




                                                                                                      20




                       Page 23                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                Appendix I

                                The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                Update





Key Risk Areas: Requirements Management


  System requirements define the minimum functions and performance levels
  needed to satisfy user needs. According to leading industry experts an
  effective requirements management process should establish and maintain a
  common agreement among the project team, including the end user, and
  supplier team.* The mismanagement of requirements can result in an
  unwanted change in a project’s scope or a system that does not meet user
  expectations.




*Software Acquisition Capability Maturity Model Version 1.03, March 2002.
                                                                                                               21




                                Page 24                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                    Appendix I

                    The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                    Update





Key Risk Areas: Requirements Management
(cont’d)

The Coast Guard has requirements management practices in place.
Specifically, it developed the following requirements documents:
    • Mission Needs Statement
    • Operational Requirements
    • Work Breakdown Structure
    • Contract Performance Specification

Coast Guard officials reported that Rescue 21 requirements have not
changed as a result of the Coast Guard’s moving from the Department of
Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security.




                                                                                                   22




                    Page 25                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                     Appendix I

                     The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                     Update





Key Risk Areas: Risk Management


According to leading management practices, risk management is a key
component of a sound system development approach. An effective risk
management approach typically includes identifying, prioritizing, resolving,
and monitoring project risks. In support of this approach, the Coast Guard’s
risk management plan calls for
     • assigning a severity rating (high, medium, or low) to risks that bear
       particular attention and placing these risks on a “risk watch list;”
     • prioritizing these risks;
     • planning a response or strategy for each risk on the risk watch list, and
       drafting a detailed response plan; and
     • reviewing and evaluating all risks on the risk watch list during monthly
       management meetings.




                                                                                                    23




                     Page 26                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                     Appendix I

                     The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                     Update





Key Risk Areas: Risk Management (cont’d)


The Coast Guard is managing risks with Rescue 21 by
    • developing and monitoring a Rescue 21 risk watch list,
    • prioritizing and assigning a severity rating for each risk on the watch
      list,
    • creating a risk management team that meets once every 4 months,
      and
    • developing a risk mitigation strategy for each risk.




                                                                                                    24




                     Page 27                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                       Appendix I

                       The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                       Update





Key Risk Areas: Risk Management (cont’d)

High risks identified by the Coast Guard include:
    • software development may delay the schedule, and
    • acquiring antenna sites may be affected by environmental concerns and
        National Environmental Protection Act requirements, which may delay
        the schedule.
Medium risks identified by the Coast Guard include:
    • Rescue 21 operating expenses are uncertain, and
    • the performance specification and the statement of work could be
        misinterpreted, which could have a negative impact on the technical
        performance of Rescue 21.

Coast Guard plans for identifying, prioritizing, and minimizing risks are in place.



                                                                                                      25




                       Page 28                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                       Appendix I

                       The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                       Update





Conclusions


Development and testing of key Rescue 21 components have been delayed,
and the Coast Guard has not yet established new schedules for key tests or
for initial operating capability. In addition, key deliverables, such as detailed
test procedures used to perform key tests, have not been completed.
Although the Coast Guard has developed key documentation used for
managing system requirements, it is unknown whether all Rescue 21
requirements will be fulfilled until detailed testing procedures are completed
and executed.




                                                                                                      26




                       Page 29                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
                                 Appendix I

                                 The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Acquisition: An

                                 Update





           Recommendations

           To mitigate Rescue 21 risks and to ensure that adequate testing occurs and
           all requirements are fulfilled so that the deployed system will work as
           specified, we are recommending that the Secretary of the Department of
           Homeland Security direct the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
           to
               • establish a new schedule for critical testing phases and initial
                 operating capability;
               • ensure that milestones are established for completing test plans for
                 formal qualification testing, system integration testing, and operational
                 testing and evaluation and that test plans address all requirements of
                 the system.

                  (310443)




                                                                                                                27




(310443)                         Page 30                            GAO-03-1111 Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Faces Challenges
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