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Research Questions

  1. What gaps exist in Coast Guard cost-estimating ability?
  2. What alternatives are available to bridge those gaps?

This Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center report assesses the capabilities of the current Coast Guard cost-estimating workforce; identifies current requirements and current and future demands for cost-estimating services, based on Coast Guard acquisition plans; and recommends staffing and organizational alternatives to achieve flexibility to deal with future requirements.

Key Findings

  • The Coast Guard can more effectively manage the currently supported twenty full time equivalents through a competency aligned organization.
  • The Coast Guard's current structure, which relies heavily on contracting, hampers cross-program cost comparisons and keeps cost estimators from increasing their subject knowledge. Furthermore, cost estimators often cannot access contractors' models and data.

Recommendations

Researchers found three alternatives for the Coast Guard's cost-estimating capability.

  • Alternative A would maintain the status quo. This option saves review time and does not require extra billets, but is the least responsive to required changes.
  • Alternative B would create a civilian-military competency-aligned division. This division would be best aligned to meet changing requirements and improve communication and career advancement. However, it would add more time to review and would require realignment of cost estimator billets.
  • Alternative C would be similar to Alternative B, but would initially include contracting support as well.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Congressional, Government Accountability Office, Department of Homeland Security, and Coast Guard Requirements

  • Chapter Three

    Coast Guard Cost-Analysis Capabilities Compared with U.S. Navy

  • Chapter Four

    Cost Analysis of Workload Demand

  • Chapter Five

    Training and Manning for a Cost-Analysis Function

  • Chapter Six

    Alternatives for Fulfilling Demand for Cost-Analysis Services

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and conducted within the Strategy, Policy, and Operations Program of the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) operated by the RAND Corporation under contract with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.