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Polar Security Cutter Integrated Program Office recognized as DHS Program of the Year



Members of the Polar Security Cutter Integrated Program Office (IPO) were recognized by Department of Homeland Security officials on July 9, 2019, as the Major Acquisition Program of the Year for fiscal year 2018. The IPO is operating on an accelerated schedule, with planned delivery of the lead ship moved from 2026 to 2024; the contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery to meet a critical national need. Photo courtesy of Mike Beaty.

The Polar Security Cutter (PSC) Integrated Program Office (IPO) was recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as the Major Acquisition Program of the Year in a ceremony on July 9, 2019, at the Department of Interior’s Yates Auditorium. Staffed by both Coast Guard and Navy personnel, the IPO earned the award for their programmatic excellence and success in fiscal year 2018 in applying resources and innovative processes to deliver the planned capabilities.

Those efforts of the IPO led to a major milestone. In April 2019, the Coast Guard and the Navy, through the IPO, awarded VT Halter Marine Inc. a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of the lead PSC.

The award documentation called attention to the innovative approach that was developed in order to meet this national need while achieving cost savings. For 11 months, affordability trade off review sessions, known as executive oversight councils, were facilitated involving leadership. These processes enabled the IPO to reduce the estimated cost of the lead vessel by $300 million.

Another major achievement of the IPO, which the award documentation highlighted, was the release of the DD&C request for proposal (RFP) two months ahead of schedule.

The PSCs will be national assets that will ensure access to both polar regions and be capable of executing key Coast Guard missions, including defense readiness; marine environmental protection; ports, waterways and coastal security; and search and rescue. The ships will operate worldwide and face the extreme environmental conditions found in the polar, tropical and temperate regions.

The IPO is operating on an accelerated schedule in response to the critical national need. “The PSC’s constant hurdle is schedule,” said Andrew Bosak, deputy program manager for the PSC IPO. “We have a real-world time constraint driven by the age of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star and the amount of effort it takes to keep it operational and meeting the country’s high latitude commitments.”

With the schedule in mind, the office integrated strategic industry engagement. “We performed industry studies in place of a multi-phase procurement which resulted in less source selection activities and increased the maturity level and industry knowledge of requirements prior to release of the RFP,” Bosak explained. The industry engagement has led to greater insight into state of the market equipment, modern technologies and production risk mitigations; much of this information has been incorporated into the PSC’s specifications and requirements.

Leadership’s involvement and prioritization with review and approval processes was key; both services worked together. They “have seamlessly integrated into one team, at the program as well as the leadership levels,” Bosak affirmed. “Throughout this program, we have been able to leverage the breadth of knowledge and experience from the two acquisition communities, doubling the ideas and strategies we can consider implementing.”

Looking ahead, construction on the first PSC is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024. The contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.

For more information: Polar Security Cutter Program page