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Coast Guard recognized for acquisition excellence with annual DHS awards


Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star during dry docking March 31, 2021, at Mare Island Dry Dock of Vallejo, California, for work under a service life extension program (SLEP). The Polar Star SLEP was recognized as one of the Department of Homeland Security’s top acquisition programs for fiscal year 2020. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard’s acquisition workforce received five Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Honorary Acquisition Program Management Awards, highlighting the Acquisition Directorate’s continued efforts to achieve its vision of being a model of acquisition excellence in government. All DHS winners were recognized by Deputy Under Secretary for Management R.D. Alles during a virtual ceremony June 23, 2021, hosted by the DHS Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management.

The Polar Star Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) was recognized as the DHS Level 3 Acquisition Program of the Year. Four Coast Guard personnel earned individual awards: Felix E. Delgado, DHS Acquisition Program Support Professional of the Year; Brent N. Durbin, DHS Program Financial Manager of the Year; Daniel W. Eustace, DHS Life Cycle Logistician of the Year; and Gurdev S. Bajwa, DHS Information Technology Professional of the Year.

The work completed by the Polar Star SLEP team will extend the service life of the nation’s only remaining heavy polar icebreaker by approximately four years, ensuring continued U.S. presence and sovereignty in the Arctic without interfering with its critical annual mission to deliver supplies to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The Polar Star SLEP team was recognized for utilizing a unique phased approach and maximum flexibility that reduces program risk while ensuring completion of work necessary to keep the heavy icebreaker operational until delivery of the second polar security cutter. It was hailed as having one of the most comprehensive and forward-looking set of requirements in the history of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment program.

In addition to the work performed by the Polar Star SLEP team, four individuals were recognized for their work efforts during fiscal year 2020.

Delgado was recognized for his quick thinking, foresight and support of post-delivery efforts for the National Security Cutter program. This included sharing information with Coast Guard operators and industrial partners to create and execute an achievable schedule.

Durbin serves as the business financial manager for the Polar Security Cutter, Polar Star Service Life Extension, Great Lakes Icebreaker and Healy Major Maintenance Availability programs and was recognized for his contributions to the execution of these programs’ cost, schedule and performance parameters to ensure national security and the interests of the United States in the Arctic domain.

Eustace was recognized for implementing Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) best practices and improving processes to build the ILS packages for the Coast Guard’s newest cutters and boats.

Bajwa was recognized for his role as acting director of acquisition cybersecurity and his shift from a “first in-first out” process to a process based on prioritizing mission criticality, ensuring maximum support to programs and deployed assets most in need.

Rear Adm. Douglas M. Schofield, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer, said, “These awards are an example of all of the acquisition workforce’s actions to provide outstanding innovation, research and development, contracting, acquisition programs, and acquisition services to our operational and mission support stakeholders. Thank you for modernizing our Coast Guard.”