U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, today (June 26, 2007) convened the Subcommittee to mark up the Integrated Deepwater Program Reform
Act, H.R. 2722 and the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2007, H.R. 2830, which would reauthorize the Coast Guard. Both bills were adopted by voice vote.
Congressman Cummings said, "The Integrated Deepwater Program Reform Act, H.R. 2722, would make significant and overdue changes to the management of the Deepwater program."
"In response to the issues we have examined during the oversight hearings our Subcommittee has convened on Deepwater, H.R. 2722 would require the use of full and open competition for procurements made under Deepwater and require the use of third-party certification for new assets."
"The bill also requires the appointment of a civilian Chief Acquisitions Officer. Currently, the Coast Guard's mission needs do not allow the service to cultivate among uniformed personnel the many years of acquisitions experience needed to develop senior-level acquisitions expertise. The bill requires the appointment of a civilian to head the Coast Guard's acquisitions efforts to try to ensure that this position is filled by an experienced acquisitions professional who will bring a commitment to the position longer than the current Coast Guard duty assignment."
As introduced, H.R. 2722 would have prohibited the Coast Guard from using a private sector lead systems integrator two years after its enactment. However, an amendment offered by Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, and adopted by the Subcommittee would allow the Coast Guard to continue using a private sector firm as lead systems integrator until October 1, 2011.
Chairman Cummings noted, "The Coast Guard could phase out the use of the private sector lead systems integrator earlier than 2011 if it certifies that it has in place the personnel and management systems necessary to enable it to perform that function in-house."
The second piece of legislation considered during today's mark up, H.R. 2830, would authorize $8.3 billion in funding for the Coast Guard, including more than $1 billion directed to capital acquisitions, and authorize an end strength of 45,000 active duty personnel.
Chairman Cummings said, "H.R. 2830 would provide an overdue authorization for the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2008 budget. It also introduces groundbreaking measures to improve the Coast Guard's operations
, to protect our waterways from the significant risks posed by invasive species, and to improve safety in the fishing industry
"Further, the bill would create an ombudsman in each Coast Guard district to serve as a liaison between the maritime community and the Coast Guard and to give the maritime community an opportunity to have their concerns about the imposition of a Coast Guard requirement - or the withholding of a Coast Guard service - examined by an industry professional."
Both H.R. 2722 and H.R. 2830 are scheduled to be considered during a mark up of the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on June 28.