Page 27: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q3 2014)

Power & Fuel Management

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starts and stops, well-publicized problems, failures and cost overruns. Eventually, the Coast Guard stood up its own ac- quisition group to address those issues. Zukunft was asked to rate their performance in recent years. According to the Com- mandant, it has come a long way. ?As we came out of the starting block with our major acquisition program, what we learned from that is how to generate requirements. And we know what the Coast Guard needs into the 21st century. What we didn?t have when we took on Deepwater is the certi ed professionals, the acquisition experts, to oversee a program of that magnitude. I?m pleased to say today, in fact we just had the Department of Homeland Security put out an annual list of recipients of procurement and acquisition awards, and the Coast Guard took 5 of the 7.? As proof of that, Zukunft points to the policy of  xed-cost contracting, and the fast response cutters being built in Bol- linger shipyard coming out on-time, on-budget. And, he says, the third national security cutter is also proceeding on-time, on-budget. ?Actually, I could not be more pleased with the professionalism that now exists within our acquisition pro- gram. It just didn?t exist before the integrated Deepwater sys- tem came to be. And we quite honestly didn?t appreciate the magnitude of how much this would consume the Coast Guard, not for a one-time buy but for the lifecycle of the systems that we?re bringing on board.? People: not head count The Department of Homeland Security describes the Coast Guard as a force about 42,000 members, but that number is actually about 39,600. That?s because for the last several years with unpredictable budgets, they?ve been forced to trim their workforce. Zukunft shakes his head at those numbers and says, ?That?s almost an irrevocable risk that you take, because I can?t buy those back, absent what I call a ?black swan event.? So, if I have to surge for a hurricane this season, and then I have another event, what I end up doing is stripping people from one area that may be at lower risk. But, there is never ?zero? risk. Right now, as I told my team, as we go forward, we need to ?hold fast.? But, we cannot draw the Coast Guard down any smaller than we are today.? If he could get those numbers back up to 42,000, Zukunft would do it in a heartbeat ? again, with caveats: ?We need to be smart about what we do, and we need to demonstrate what the value of each and every one of those individuals have been. We often look at a person as a dollar line item, and we tend to underestimate the investment that we have made for them to become leaders and competent at the work that they do.? This has to begin, says Zukunft, with benchmarking what is it that the Coast Guard needs to complete all of its regulatory missions. That?s something the Commandant says has never been done. Add to this the challenges presented by budget cy- cles that often necessitate a drawdown in force and the policy 18-33 Q3 MP2014.indd 2718-33 Q3 MP2014.indd 278/13/2014 3:35:48 PM8/13/2014 3:35:48 PM

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Maritime Logistics Professional magazine is published six times annually.