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US Coast Guard chief acquisition officer defends Polar Security Cutter programme progress

An artist's rendering of the Polar Security Cutter, which the US Coast Guard has acknowledged has taken longer than initially estimated to begin fabrication. (VT Halter Marine/Technology Associates)

As US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports continue to question the development and acquisition of the US Coast Guard (USCG) Polar Security Cutter (PSC), the USCG's Chief Acquisition Officer, Rear Admiral Chad Jacoby, is defending the progress of the shipbuilding effort.

β€œThe government is building the work force to certify the welders and learn the lessons in prototypes opposed to learning in full production,” Rear Adm Jacoby said on 5 March during the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Arctic & Antarctic Operations Symposium 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rear Adm Jacoby's comments came just before the GAO, in its report, DHS Annual Assessment: Most Programs Are Meeting Current Goals, but Some Continue to Face Cost and Schedule Challenges, released on 7 March, noted, β€œThe Polar Security Cutter programme increased its cost baseline by USD3.5 billion and its lead ship delivery goal has been delayed by more than two years as the programme faces continued challenges with achieving a stable design.”

Design maturity for the first ship is about 60%, Rear Adm Jacoby said during his presentation at the symposium. β€œWe expect to go to construction by the end of the calendar year.”

The GAO noted in its report, β€œThe programme plans to start lead ship construction in March 2024.”

Rear Adm Jacoby acknowledged that the USCG and industry have both gone through a series of lessons learned to design and build the ship. β€œWe're learning more about the PSC and how long it takes.”

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