WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee hearing on U.S. Coast Guard Oversight.
John D. Rockefeller, IVSenatorI want to welcome Admiral Allen and Mr. Caldwell, before the Committee. It is an honor to chair the Committee that oversees the brave and dedicated men and women of the United States Coast Guard.The Coast Guard has served this nation with distinction and honor throughout its nearly 220 year history. And last year was no exception as the Coast Guard continued to carry out its missions with great success, from rescuing more than 4,000 people -- some in landlocked Midwestern states suffering from devastating floods -- to seizing a record 167 metric tons of cocaine from the high seas destined for cities across the United States.The Coast Guard successfully conducts safety and security inspections for more than 3,200 oil and chemical facilities around the country including those located in and around the Port of Huntington, the nation’s largest inland port in terms of tonnage and America’s seventh largest port overall.The Coast Guard protects our interests well beyond our borders in the battle against piracy off the Horn of Africa, taking the lead to improve the safety and security of all U.S. ships conducting commerce in that region.And I am enormously thankful for the Coast Guard’s meticulous maintenance of nearly 800 buoys and other navigational aids throughout West Virginia’s waterways, helping to keep over 63,000 registered boaters safe.The American people have largely come to expect an unmatched level of excellence and professionalism from the Coast Guard and its unsung heroes both at home and abroad. And they deserve all the support we can give them.The Coast Guard is undergoing sweeping transformations including the continued recapitalization of its fleet of surface vessels and aircraft through the Deepwater program. It also continues to make significant changes to its organizational structure and business practices through its Modernization plan.I support efforts aimed at improving the Coast Guard, but I also believe every decision and action should be transparent, accountable and based on thorough analysis and sound business strategies.On June 4, 2009, Senator Cantwell introduced legislation, S. 1194, the Coast Guard Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, designed to strengthen management and oversight of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program. This bipartisan legislation -- cosponsored by Senator Snowe, Senator Hutchison, and me -- has as its centerpiece a major acquisition reform title building on Senator Cantwell’s Integrated Deepwater Program Reform Act (S. 924) which the Senate passed in the 110th Congress. Among other things, the acquisition reform title of S. 1194:· Addresses the need for acquisition reform on a comprehensive, service-wide basis;· Codifies the phases and requirements of the Coast Guard’s acquisitions processes; and· Prohibits the use of a lead systems integrator except in limited circumstances where they will be phased out by 2012.The bill also includes important provisions that will help the Coast Guard complete its Modernization plan which would eliminate the existing geographically-based command and replace it with a more centralized structure.As your Chairman, I want to ensure that the Coast Guard is properly positioned and has the resources it needs for ultimate success. To that end, I will ask you to provide the Committee an update this morning on the status of the Deepwater program, your progress in Modernization, and the challenges the Coast Guard is facing in managing its aging “legacy” cutters and deteriorating shore facilities including personnel housing.Admiral Allen, I look forward to your testimony and learning more about the Coast Guard’s plans to address these challenges under your leadership. I am also looking forward to Mr. Caldwell’s testimony which I hope will provide additional perspective to these and other issues.###
Mr. Stephen CaldwellDirector of Maritime Security and Coast Guard IssuesU.S. Government Accountability Office
The Honorable Thad AllenCommandantU.S. Coast Guard