Magazine article National Defense

Not So Fast on Fast Response Cutters, Coast Guard Says

Magazine article National Defense

Not So Fast on Fast Response Cutters, Coast Guard Says

Article excerpt

* The Coast Guard has slowed down awarding the contract for its fast response cutters after its initial request for proposals proved to be too confusing, said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, assistant commandant for acquisition.

The contract will be awarded in "late spring," which is about a four-week delay, he told reporters.

"It was very complicated," he said of the documents that specified what the service wanted during its second attempt to acquire its 140-foot fast response boat. "Some people just wouldn't understand what the government was looking for, which would make competition difficult," Blore said. "We had so many different options and conditions, that we thought it would be awkward," he said.

There were "several hundred" technical questions about the initial request for proposals, said Rear Adm. Ronald Rabago, director of acquisition programs and program executive officer for the Deepwater integration program. Once those were answered, the documents were amended in order to allow bidders to rewrite their proposals. Cost proposals were due in December.

Despite the confusion that the initial RFP apparently engendered, the Coast Guard released a 2007 program evaluation update document that boasted of issuing the RFP "in record time."

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The competition for the boats will come in two rounds, Blore added. Instead of awarding the entire contract with options, after an initial run, a second RFP will be issued.

"If past performance is the single most important thing to predict future performance--and I believe it is--why not structure the RFP so instead of building the entire run with options, build part of the runs so we can have another competition later on? …

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