Weekend weirdness, USCG fleet failure

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I’m steamed this morning, having just read the New York Times detailed expose on all the problems plaguing the U.S. Coast Guard’s multi billion dollar fleet upgrade. It’s just unbelievable. Personally I’m neither anti-government nor anti-corporate, but read this and see if you don’t want to do damage to some greed heads at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and their cronies at the Dept. of Homeland Security.
  So I went looking in the CG image archives for pictures of the electronics screw ups—like the non-waterproof (and now shorted-out) radios installed on open patrol RIBs, or the oversize navigation systems that are apparently still being installed on the new National Security Cutters even though the Guard plans to strip them right off. What I found instead was this shot of 123 Haitians trying to make Miami on a funky 40’ sloop. Now that’s the moxie we humans are capable of, and vaguely akin to the energetic work the USCG has been getting done, often despite their own old boats. So how did all the new ones get so messed up?

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

8 Responses

  1. Ferrel Hadley says:

    Need to do some fact checking before you buy into exposes and start slinging slurs. Remember the NYT is not there to inform — it is there to shape public opinion and to bring eyes to advertisers.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    What facts did the NYT get wrong, Ferrel? Also, how is it that you know with such certainty what the paper’s motivations are?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Here’s a comment from Pat in Washington (who had trouble with TypeKey, darn it):
    I read the article you reported on about the USCG and there program to replace their ships and aircraft. I believe the core issue is that the Coast Guard has acquired way to many missions and though broad in their scope the execution has become shallow at best. I feel the solution is to breakup the Coast Guard. Give the environmental enforcement to the EPA, Give their drug enforcement to the DEA. Homeland security can protect our borders.
    I would like the Coast Guard to put most of their emphasis on search and rescue, aids to navigation, and vessel traffic management. What I am proposing is for the USCG to return to their roots.

  4. Mark Read says:

    I do not find it surprising that the coast guard some how botched this upgrade, given their handling and roll-out (or lack there of) of project Rescue21. (Any one remember DSC?)http://www.uscg.mil/rescue21/overview/index.htm
    As for questioning the New York Times ability to fairly monitor the coast guard, that is a good question. However, the coast guard has a press release on their own site which goes into much greater detail.
    https://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/786/138897/
    As your read the press release, and gain an understanding of what they were trying to do (adding 13 feet to the length of the vessels), I can’t understand why they are surprised they are having structural issues. At the end of the story they admit that it was a poor idea to start with. Each tax payer should be getting a rebate check in the mail any day.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Mark. I want to make it clear that I have a high regard for the men and women of the Coast Guard. And you’ll notice in this article that time after time CG personnel�inspectors, engineers, etc.�warned of problems with these various designs. But they were ignored by the brass, and most of all the contractors, who were apparently unusually free from oversight. This horror show smells like stinky politics to me, as does Ferrel’s slagging of the NYT. I think this is a very well reported and thorough article.

  6. DefJef says:

    These defense contractors have been ripping off the tax payers for 5 decades. The patriot missle is one example of something which never worked, was lied about and is still being procured.
    The latest missle defense system failed another test… I don’t believe it has tested successfully yet… and cost billions and billions.
    I say shrink the defense budget to 10% of its present size and up the GC about 10 times. and bust up all the big defense contractors.
    They sicken me… and that INCLUDES patriot missle maker Raytheon or whatever their new tag is.

  7. Nelson says:

    Forwarded from Ferrel, (he couldn’t get typecast to work on the blackberry).
    “Slag? Ben, your snarling reference to Lockheed and Northrop employees as “greed heads” had way more slag in it. The profit margins on work for the Coast Guard are considerably below the profit margins in the print media business. And the working conditions suck by comparison. You have smeared a lot of patriotic folks with those terms — people who want to see the USCG succeed, people who get jerked around by government buying practices and tons of conflicting rules, people who care just as much as I believe you do. I have no idea what the paper’s motivations are. I do know that the necessary dividing line between editorial and journalism is increasingly difficult to find in many newspapers. I recommend you read the Wall Street Journal “the media is in need of some mending” article from Dec 11. I liked the blog a lot better when it dealth with technology and not people bashing.”

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Ferrel, again I’ll ask you to tell us where the NYT got this story wrong? And, no, I wasn’t smearing patriots; that’s another dodge like blaming Deepwater’s many problems on the Times. It’s obvious in the article that plenty of civilian and Guard workers and middle management tried to do right, tried to blow the whistle, but were ignored by top corporate and government management. The people who screwed this up were thinking of themselves, not our country; therefore, they are not patriots.
    �This is the fleecing of America,� said Anthony D�Armiento, a systems engineer who has worked for Northrop and the Coast Guard on the project. �It is the worst contract arrangement I�ve seen in all my 20 plus years in naval engineering.�

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