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GAO-10-268R: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

January 29, 2010: 

The Honorable James L. Oberstar:
Chairman:
The Honorable John Mica:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings:
Chairman:
The Honorable Frank LoBiondo:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation:
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 

House of Representatives: 

Subject: Coast Guard: Service Has Taken Steps to Address Historic 
Personnel Problems, but It Is too Soon to Assess the Impact of These 
Efforts: 

During this decade, the Coast Guard has been challenged with expanded 
mission responsibilities, and concerns have been raised about whether 
sufficient personnel exist within the Coast Guard to fulfill these 
mission responsibilities. The terrorist attacks of September 11TH 
resulted in additional and expanded security-related mission areas, 
while major natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, provided 
lessons learned in allocating personnel and other resources across 
Coast Guard units. However, the impact of expanding Coast Guard 
missions and the increasing nationwide need for mission-ready Coast 
Guard units underscored shortcomings in the Coast Guard's ability to 
effectively allocate resources, such as personnel, ensure readiness 
levels, and maintain mission competency. GAO, the Offices of Inspector 
General at first the Department of Transportation and then the 
Department of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety 
Board, Congress, and the Coast Guard itself have reported on these 
types of personnel concerns both before and after the 2001 attacks. 

Commenting on the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2009 appropriations, 
congressional appropriators noted in a Senate Appropriations Committee 
Report that while the Coast Guard workforce is approximately the same 
size today as it was at the end of fiscal year: 

1975, its present mission responsibilities are greater.[Footnote 1] 
For example, the congressional appropriators reported that the number 
of foreign vessel arrivals in the United States increased by 61 
percent over the last 10 years while the number of marine inspectors 
responsible for inspecting these vessels decreased by 1 percent. 
According to the Senate Appropriations Committee Report, however, the 
Coast Guard has not completed the necessary human resource 
requirements analysis to address the increases in its personnel needs. 
Further, a number of our reports and others have noted problems the 
Coast Guard has had allocating its personnel and other resources to 
accomplish its missions. For example, in 2008, we commented on the 
Coast Guard's inability to clearly monitor resource allocations, 
particularly in mission areas like marine safety where work is heavily 
personnel-based and not as dependent on physical assets such as ships 
or airplanes. There are also concerns about the competency levels of 
some Coast Guard personnel. Specifically, maritime stakeholders have 
raised issues about the competency of some Coast Guard personnel to 
fulfill its marine safety mission, which Coast Guard leadership agreed 
needed to be addressed. 

Interested in these issues and others, you requested that we provide 
information on personnel efforts undertaken by the Coast Guard. This 
report discusses (1) documented personnel problems experienced by the 
Coast Guard in the last decade, (2) Coast Guard efforts to address 
these personnel problems, and the extent to which these efforts 
conform to congressional direction or identified best practices, as 
appropriate, and (3) possible challenges to their implementation. 

To provide the historical perspective of personnel problems 
experienced by the Coast Guard, we reviewed our prior work on the 
Coast Guard's difficulties allocating its personnel and other 
resources to accomplish all of its diverse missions while ensuring 
that it addresses personnel readiness, qualifications, and training 
requirements. We also reviewed the results of relevant Coast Guard 
personnel qualifications and training investigations conducted by the 
National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard, as well as 
reports of the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security 
Offices of Inspector General related to the Coast Guard's management 
and readiness posture. 

To assess the Coast Guard's efforts to address personnel problems, we 
reviewed relevant laws and congressional guidance, instructions, 
staffing manuals, training guidance, policies, and procedures related 
to the Coast Guard's workforce planning and personnel development. We 
analyzed the Coast Guard's Workforce Action Plan against guidance 
provided by congressional appropriators, the Department of Homeland 
Security's Workforce Planning Guide, and key principles for effective 
strategic workforce planning we identified in previous work.[Footnote 
2] In addition, we analyzed the Force Readiness Command's Business 
Plan as it reflects the Coast Guard's effort to align and standardize 
training to ensure force interoperability and readiness across all 
units. We also compared the Business Plan to planning elements set out 
in the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993.[Footnote 
3] We analyzed the Marine Safety Performance Plan to assess how the 
Coast Guard planned to address certain complaints raised by the 
maritime community regarding a lack of competency in personnel 
conducting this mission, among other things. We also compared the 
Marine Safety Performance Plan to planning elements set out in the 
GPRA. Further, we reviewed the Coast Guard's Acquisition Human Capital 
Strategic Plan as well as a body of our work related to Coast Guard 
acquisitions as the Coast Guard continues implementing the largest 
acquisition program in the Coast Guard's history.[Footnote 4] We also 
analyzed information that reflects how the Coast Guard assessed 
personnel resources and allocated personnel to its various missions. 
In addition, we spoke with relevant Coast Guard officials from various 
offices, including the Office of the Vice Commandant; Human Resources; 
Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship; 
Assistant Commandant for Capability; Deputy Commandant for Operations; 
and Force Readiness Command, to discuss new personnel initiatives, 
including plans and data-driven tools, which are designed to better 
inform Coast Guard management of the personnel resources available, 
the status of training and other necessary qualifications, and options 
to allocate personnel for Coast Guard missions. 

To identify and assess the challenges the Coast Guard may experience 
implementing new personnel initiatives, we discussed with relevant 
Coast Guard officials the purpose, status, and time frames for these 
initiatives, as well as the challenges and obstacles to implementing 
them. We also reviewed the National Academy of Public Administration's 
(NAPA) 2009 study addressing the Coast Guard's modernization program, 
and interviewed members of the project team.[Footnote 5] 

We conducted this performance audit from December 2008 through January 
2010 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Results in Brief: 

The Coast Guard has made efforts to address its personnel problems, 
but it is too soon to assess these efforts' impact. The Coast Guard 
has a well-documented history of personnel problems, identified by 
Congress, GAO, and marine safety industry stakeholders, among others. 
For example, the Coast Guard faces continuing problems in balancing 
homeland security and more traditional missions, such as law 
enforcement and marine safety. The Coast Guard has made efforts to 
address these problems, such as the development of servicewide mission-
support and mission-specific plans, as well as the creation or 
expansion of data-driven management tools. However, most of these 
efforts are in early stages of implementation or expansion, the data 
are not yet available to assess them, and of the four plans we 
reviewed, one plan did not fully conform to congressional direction. 
For example, one servicewide effort provides a description of the 
processes used by the Coast Guard to manage its personnel resources. 
Yet this effort did not include a gap analysis of the mission areas 
that continue to need resources and the type of personnel necessary to 
address those needs, in response to congressional direction. The 
remaining three plans generally conformed to best practices. Other 
efforts involve the development of electronic tools to allow for more 
data-driven management decisions on personnel requirements and 
preparedness. For example, the Officer Specialty Management System is 
designed to help workforce planners monitor the officer corps and 
identify potential shortfalls in specific knowledge, skills, 
education, and experience. The tool may help determine the rotation 
assignments of individual officers and assist program managers with 
calculating the time and cost of obtaining specific specialties, but 
officials do not expect the system to be fully online until 2011. 
Furthermore, as the Coast Guard continues to develop and implement 
these personnel-related efforts, it faces challenges due to resource 
constraints, data reliability problems, coordination, and leadership 
concerns. 

Background: 

The Coast Guard is a multimission military service comprising 
approximately 49,100 full-time personnel--including about 42,000 
military personnel and 7,100 civilians. Active duty military 
personnel, in turn, are comprised of almost 7,000 officers and 35,000 
chief warrant officers and enlisted personnel. The Coast Guard's 
statutory mission responsibilities include homeland-security-mission 
programs such as the protection of ports, waterways, and coastal 
security; defense readiness; undocumented migrant interdiction; and 
nonhomeland-security-mission programs, such as drug interdiction; aids 
to navigation and waterways management; search and rescue; living 
marine resources; marine safety; marine environmental protection; 
other law enforcement; and ice operations.[Footnote 6] For fiscal year 
2010, the Coast Guard's budget request totals about $9.7 billion to 
meet its personnel and mission responsibilities, which is about $360 
million more than its total enacted appropriation in fiscal year 2009. 

As the Coast Guard continues to tackle historical documented problems 
related to personnel resource allocation, personnel readiness, 
qualifications, and training, the service is undergoing a significant 
organizational change, part of which involves modernizing its command 
structure, support systems, and business processes. The Coast Guard 
intends for this modernization program to better position the service 
to fulfill not only traditional missions but also homeland security 
responsibilities that expanded after September 11TH. The modernization 
program is focused on the Coast Guard's command and control structure 
and human resources systems, among other mission-support systems. 
[Footnote 7] These new commands are as follows: 

* The Deputy Commandant for Operations is responsible for aligning 
policy and planning across the Coast Guard's 11 statutory mission 
programs. The Deputy Commandant for Operations coordinates the 
development of resource proposals, including personnel resources, 
articulates gaps in workforce planning, and prioritizes the workforce 
gaps to be filled. 

* The Deputy Commandant for Mission Support is responsible for 
processes and systems related to logistics, mission support, and human 
resources, including the development of human resource strategies to 
support mission execution (e.g., the Coast Guard's Workforce Action 
Plan). 

* Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) has the overall role of providing 
prepared forces throughout the Coast Guard by using enterprisewide 
analysis and standardized doctrine, training and tactics, and 
techniques and procedures to best allocate forces for sustainable 
mission execution. 

* Operations Command is comprised of and consolidating the Coast 
Guard's field command and control structure, with ultimate 
responsibility for Coast Guard mission execution. Operations Command, 
as the end-user of operational personnel, is expected to collaborate 
with other commands to help ensure that its personnel-related needs 
are met. 

The Coast Guard has requested certain additional statutory authorities 
to fully implement the new command structure and associated senior 
leadership positions. As of January 8, 2010 there were three pending 
bills (H.R. 3619, H.R. 2650, and S. 1194) containing the Coast Guard's 
requested provisions. For example, H.R. 3619, one of the pending Coast 
Guard authorization bills, would amend federal statutes that govern 
the operations of the Coast Guard and authorize four instead of the 
current two vice admiral positions to take leadership positions for 
each of the commands listed above. 

The Coast Guard Has a History of Personnel Resource Allocation and 
Preparedness Problems: 

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard has 
encountered difficulties allocating its personnel and other resources 
to accomplish all of its diverse missions while ensuring that it 
addresses personnel readiness, qualifications, and training 
requirements. More specifically, the Coast Guard's security 
responsibilities increased following the September 11TH attacks, while 
it maintained responsibility for conducting its nonhomeland security 
responsibilities, such as law enforcement and marine safety. Moreover, 
although the Coast Guard received increases in funding following the 
attacks, resources allocated to some nonhomeland-security activities 
declined, and remained below historic levels for years.[Footnote 8] In 
2002 and 2003, we reported that the Coast Guard did not have a long- 
term strategy that outlined how it sees its resources--including 
personnel--distributed across its various missions in this new 
operating environment.[Footnote 9] Furthermore, we reported that 
although the Coast Guard used a variety of mission performance 
measures, it lacked a useful reporting mechanism to synthesize and 
convey data to Congress about its nonsecurity-mission resource levels. 
Thus, we recommended in 2004 that the Coast Guard implement a system 
to accurately account for resources expended in each of its mission 
areas.[Footnote 10] The Coast Guard acted upon this recommendation and 
has reported improvements in the transparency and accuracy of its 
financial systems and data. Similarly, in 2008, we noted that a lack 
of reliable data hindered the Coast Guard's efforts to estimate the 
number of facility inspectors needed to fulfill statutory 
responsibilities for conducting regular security inspections of the 
nation's ports and other maritime facilities to help prevent terrorist 
attacks.[Footnote 11] Facility inspectors may be assigned other duties 
apart from inspections, and the Coast Guard did not have data on how 
inspectors' time was allocated. Further, in 2008, we reported that the 
Coast Guard's execution of a security-related program was at risk 
because it lacked a strategic workforce plan that defined appropriate 
staffing levels, identified the critical skills needed to achieve the 
mission, and eliminated workforce gaps to prepare for future needs. 
[Footnote 12] 

Formulating appropriate personnel levels for specific programs or 
across mission areas also involves a consideration of military-to- 
civilian staff ratios. A previous Coast Guard report to Congress on 
workforce issues, submitted to Congress in 1997, noted that civilian 
employees were better qualified to fill support positions that require 
technical skills, extensive specialty training, and continuity of 
service.[Footnote 13] In 2000, we reviewed close to 1,000 
nonoperational commissioned officer positions and determined that 
about 800 of the positions did not meet the Coast Guard's criteria for 
military staffing and could be filled by civilians.[Footnote 14] 
Although the Coast Guard identified several disadvantages to filling 
the military positions with civilians, such as loss of flexibility and 
impact on promotions and retention in the officer corps, we maintained 
that the long-term cost savings of the conversion outweighed the Coast 
Guard's concerns. Specifically, for the jobs examined in the study, 
the cost of employing an officer was on average 21 percent more than 
filling the same position with a comparable civilian. Despite the fact 
that the Coast Guard did not agree with several aspects of the 
analysis, it concurred that additional civilian conversions were 
appropriate and acknowledged additional qualitative benefits of a 
civilian workforce. More recently, the Coast Guard has sought to 
strengthen continuity of expertise in mission-related areas, such as 
marine safety, by adding civilian positions. These types of 
considerations will continue to make the balance of military and 
civilian personnel an important component of Coast Guard workforce 
planning, especially given the service's uncertain long-term budget 
outlook. 

The Coast Guard has also faced other personnel problems related to 
readiness, qualifications, and training in specific mission areas, 
some of which predate the terrorist attacks. For example, some 
personnel qualifications and training elements associated with the 
Coast Guard's search and rescue mission were questioned in a National 
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the 1997 fatal 
sinking of a recreational sailing vessel.[Footnote 15] The NTSB 
concluded that substandard performance by the Coast Guard in 
initiating a search and rescue response to the incident contributed to 
loss of life, and recommended training improvements and changes in the 
certification process for Coast Guard communications staff that 
receive and act upon distress calls. In 2001, 2002, and 2003, the 
Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General also reported 
personnel concerns with the Coast Guard search and rescue mission 
along with the network of boat stations typically responsible for 
carrying out these operations.[Footnote 16] Among other things, the 
Inspector General noted boat station staff shortages, a declining 
trainer-to-trainee ratio that diminished the quality of on-the-job 
training, and a lack of entry-level training for boatswain's mates, 
who are key search and rescue mission staff that comprise a large 
segment of Coast Guard enlisted personnel. We reported in 2005 that 
stations were still unable to meet Coast Guard standards in the area 
of staffing.[Footnote 17] As recently as 2009, the experience levels 
of Coast Guard personnel were again called into question following a 
search and rescue response to a fatal fishing vessel sinking. A Coast 
Guard memorandum about the incident stated that the delayed response 
"revealed several procedural, training, and judgment shortfalls" and 
recommended further study.[Footnote 18] 

The Coast Guard has also acknowledged significant personnel problems 
in conducting its marine safety mission. The primary goal of this long-
standing core mission is to promote the safe operation and navigation 
of U.S. and foreign flagged commercial vessels, passenger vessels, and 
recreational boats. Towards this goal, the marine safety mission 
encompasses several different activities, including vessel 
inspections, mariner credentialing, developing and enforcing federal 
marine safety regulations, industry and public outreach, and maritime 
casualty investigations. According to Coast Guard documents, the 
demand for marine safety mission services has increased significantly 
over the past decade in conjunction with industry growth and increased 
complexity. For example, citing Department of Transportation figures, 
a Coast Guard budget publication affirms that from 2002 to 2005, the 
number of U.S. port calls made by oceangoing vessels increased more 
than 10 percent to 61,047 calls.[Footnote 19] At the same time, 
however, many of the Coast Guard's industry stakeholders (e.g., ports; 
shipyards; cargo, tank, and small passenger vessels; cruise ships) 
perceived a widening performance gap in the marine safety mission as 
the Coast Guard assumed additional homeland security responsibilities 
after the September 11th attacks. In August 2007, the Coast Guard 
Commandant acknowledged industry concerns in his written testimony for 
a congressional hearing on marine safety challenges. The most 
prominent concerns included reduced access to senior Coast Guard 
leadership, delays in mariner license issuance, perceived reduction in 
marine inspector experience, and confusion over the Coast Guard 
rulemaking process. A more detailed Coast Guard report documenting 
maritime stakeholder complaints was released later in 2007.[Footnote 
20] It described specific stakeholder concerns related to marine 
safety personnel issues: the number of personnel/resources, 
capability, career path/professionalism, training and qualifications, 
civilian/military mix, and tour length and rotations. In addition to 
maritime stakeholders, the Department of Homeland Security Office of 
Inspector General has raised personnel-related concerns about aspects 
of the Coast Guard's marine safety mission. For example, a 2008 report 
found that the marine casualty investigations program had been 
hindered by less than fully qualified personnel conducting 
investigations, among other things.[Footnote 21] The Office of 
Inspector General made several recommendations with which the Coast 
Guard concurred, including developing and implementing a plan to 
increase the number of marine casualty investigators (including hiring 
additional civilians), and improving the investigator career path. 

In addition to issues in specific mission areas, such as search and 
rescue and marine safety, the Coast Guard has faced significant 
problems developing and managing its acquisition workforce, which we 
have reported on previously.[Footnote 22] Although we noted in 2009 
that the Coast Guard had made progress in identifying and mitigating 
acquisition workforce challenges, the service had difficulty hiring 
and retaining qualified acquisitions personnel and key positions 
remained unfilled as of July 2009. However, the Coast Guard's Office 
of Acquisition Workforce Management reported that the vacancy rate 
across the civilian acquisition workforce had declined from 27.2 
percent to 12.7 percent during the second half of the 2009 calendar 
year. 

The Coast Guard Has Developed Plans and Tools to Address Personnel 
Problems, but It Is too Soon to Assess Their Impact: 

The Coast Guard has responded to its historic problems related to 
personnel by developing both plans and tools to better allocate 
personnel resources, and prepare personnel for the positions they have 
been assigned. Figure 1 provides an overall diagram of how selected 
plans and data-driven tools collectively work to inform management 
decisions about personnel, including allocation and training needed. 
Following the figure is a more detailed description of each plan and 
tool we reviewed. For additional information on the time frames and 
status of each of these efforts, see enclosure. 

Figure 1: Select Coast Guard Personnel-Related Plans and Tools: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

Coast Guard strategic intent and mission requirements: 

Select servicewide plans: 
* Workforce Action Plan; 
* Force Readiness Command Business Plan. 

Select mission-support and mission-specific plans: 
* Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan; 
* Marine Safety Performance Plan. 

Select data-driven tools: 
Coast Guard Business Intelligence: 

* Personnel preparedness/training: 
- Competency Management System; 
- Officer Specialty Management System. 

* Personnel resource allocation: 
- Sector Staffing Model; 
- Manpower Requirements Determination. 

Information exchange among overall Coast Guard strategic intent and 
mission requirements, personnel-related plans, and data-driven tools. 

Sources: GAO (analysis), Coast Guard (data). 

[End of figure] 

Servicewide, Mission-Support and Mission-Specific Plans: 

To address problems related to personnel, the Coast Guard has 
developed plans including, among others, two servicewide plans for 
implementing broad workforce changes--the Workforce Action Plan and 
the FORCECOM Business Plan--plus a mission-support plan focused on 
increasing the number of acquisition personnel within its Acquisition 
Directorate, and a mission-specific plan focused more narrowly on its 
marine safety mission.[Footnote 23] According to the Coast Guard, 
these plans represent its efforts to better identify its personnel 
resource needs and manage its workforce. 

* Workforce Action Plan: This plan considers Coast Guard mission areas 
and was developed in response to appropriations committee report 
direction, whose members had expressed concern that the size of the 
Coast Guard's workforce had not kept pace with its increased mission 
requirements.[Footnote 24] The creation of a workforce action plan can 
help to ensure that the Coast Guard better align its human capital 
program with current and emerging mission requirements, and facilitate 
the development of long-term strategies for acquiring, training, and 
retaining needed staff. In this case, the Coast Guard was directed to 
provide a workforce plan that would include (1) a gap analysis of the 
mission areas that continue to need resources and the type of 
personnel necessary to address those needs; (2) a strategy, including 
funding, milestones, and a timeline for addressing personnel gaps for 
each category of employee; (3) specific strategies for recruiting 
individuals for hard-to-fill positions; and (4) any additional 
authorities and resources necessary to address staffing requirements. 
The Workforce Action Plan did not provide a gap analysis of the 
mission areas and personnel needed, and thus also did not provide a 
strategy with proposed funding, milestones, and a timeline for 
addressing these personnel gaps for each employee category consistent 
with congressional direction. The Workforce Action Plan did provide a 
general view of recruiting strategies for meeting the service's three 
priority workforce needs related to the quantity, quality, and 
diversity of its applicant pool, and referred generally to two mission 
areas that the Coast Guard identified as needing personnel 
adjustments--acquisitions and marine safety. Lastly, while the plan 
discussed some of the agency's existing authorities, it did not 
expound upon any additional authorities needed to address staffing 
requirements. Instead, the Coast Guard's Workforce Action Plan 
explained the Coast Guard's workforce planning process. For example, 
the Workforce Action Plan provided an overview of how the Coast Guard 
would use the resources requested in the fiscal year 2010 President's 
Budget and provided a list of manpower determinations for some units 
and platforms, an accession plan, civilian hiring targets, and a 
workforce status report (as of the first quarter of 2009). Although 
the workforce plan did not comport with the direction provided by the 
congressional appropriators, it followed the Department of Homeland 
Security's workforce planning guidance in that the Coast Guard 
identified its human resource planning processes, highlighted recent 
efforts undertaken to improve the Coast Guard's human resources 
management program, and discussed areas for improvement in its human 
resource planning and budgeting processes.[Footnote 25] The Workforce 
Action Plan was completed in August 2009, but elements, such as the 
accession and recruiting plans, are to be implemented once final 
fiscal year funding is identified. The Coast Guard reported that it 
intends to revise the plan periodically as needed. 

* FORCECOM Business Plan: The Coast Guard has developed a business 
plan for improving the readiness of its operational personnel and has 
tasked one of its new commands, FORCECOM, with carrying out the plan. 
The plan reflects FORCECOM's goals of ensuring servicewide force 
interoperability and readiness and supports the command's overall 
mission to provide ready forces to operational commanders. 
Standardizing personnel requirements and training may help to ensure 
that the Coast Guard can surge people and assets across the nation to 
fulfill mission needs. GPRA provided agencies a framework for 
effectively implementing and managing programs including setting 
strategic goals, measuring performance, and reporting on the degree to 
which goals are met. Although GPRA is generally applied to agencywide 
strategic plans, its framework is useful to guide any type of 
planning. The FORCECOM Business Plan contains characteristics of GPRA 
planning including defining a mission and desired outcomes and 
identifying performance measures to gauge progress.[Footnote 26] For 
example, the plan defines a clear mission, specifically, to ensure the 
allocated forces are trained to standards, armed with current tactics 
and procedures, interoperable, and inspected in order to meet current 
and future operational requirements. The plan also calls for 
performance to be measured with specific actions. For example, the 
Business Plan contains a goal to catalogue and review all general 
mandated training requirements to ensure that each requirement is 
carefully approved and targeted for efficiency by 2010. To fulfill 
this plan, FORCECOM is assuming responsibilities in several personnel-
related areas, including training and standardization. For example, 
under FORCECOM, Coast Guard officials we spoke with said they are 
planning to work with Coast Guard units to develop more standardized 
on-the-job training requirements across local units. We reported in 
2006 that for the Hurricane Katrina response, standardization enabled 
Coast Guard search and rescue personnel from anywhere in the country 
to form unified crews to perform operations. For example, a helicopter 
pilot from Florida, a copilot from Alabama, and a rescue swimmer from 
Alaska formed a crew to perform numerous search and rescue operations. 
FORCECOM intends to take the standardization lessons-learned from this 
historic response and apply them across Coast Guard units and mission 
areas. FORCECOM officials noted that the Coast Guard's consolidation 
of force readiness responsibilities under FORCECOM represents an 
effort to increase this standardization and integration of personnel 
management. The FORCECOM Business Plan was completed in October 2008, 
and is planned to be implemented through fiscal year 2010. The Coast 
Guard reported that it intends to update the plan periodically to 
reflect FORCECOM priorities. 

* Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan: This document addresses 
the challenges the Coast Guard is facing in filling the government 
acquisition positions it has identified both now and in the future. By 
developing its own acquisition workforce, the Coast Guard may improve 
accountability for its acquisitions by increasing government control 
and visibility over its assets and capabilities. The plan sets forth 
three overall challenges to developing its own acquisition workforce, 
including (1) recruitment, development, and retention of qualified 
acquisition personnel; (2) human capital information management; and 
(3) human capital management policy guidance, procedures, and 
practices. Further, it outlines 10 strategies for building and 
maintaining an acquisition workforce. The strategies include creating 
a "reward environment" that recognizes factors beyond employee 
compensation and benefits that attract, retain, and motivate 
employees. They also include establishing and maintaining human 
capital information systems that support the recruitment, development, 
and retention of the acquisition workforce, and performance planning, 
assessment, and measurement. According to the Acquisition Human 
Capital Strategic Plan, it established the strategic foundation for 
specific actions to be taken to achieve its human capital objectives, 
and identified performance metrics to track progress towards these 
goals. In addition, the plan adopted and applied the Office of 
Personnel Management's Human Capital Assessment and Accountability 
Framework, which includes guidance in the areas of Strategic 
Alignment, Leadership and Knowledge Management, Results-Oriented 
Performance Culture, Talent Management, and Accountability. The 
Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan was first released in 2008, 
with an updated version published in 2009, and officials indicated 
that the outcomes and effectiveness of this plan are under constant 
assessment and review to ensure that the Coast Guard acquisition 
workforce is continually improving. 

* Marine Safety Performance Plan: This mission-specific plan seeks to 
address competency concerns by setting goals, objectives, and 
performance targets for the marine safety mission for fiscal years 
2009 through 2014. Having the appropriate numbers and fully trained 
marine safety personnel may help to ensure that the Coast Guard 
successfully meets the increasing needs of maritime stakeholders. 
Similar to the FORCECOM Business Plan, the Marine Safety Plan also 
contained characteristics of planning set out by GPRA, including 
involving stakeholders in defining the mission and desired outcomes of 
the plan, and identifying specific goals, objectives, and performance 
measures that link to the stated mission.[Footnote 27] For example, 
according to the Marine Safety Performance Plan, it incorporates input 
from maritime stakeholders, and defines the mission of the plan as a 
means to ensure the safety of maritime stakeholders by preventing 
marine casualties, protecting marine environment, and strengthening 
maritime commerce. In addition, the Marine Safety Performance Plan 
outlines specific goals and objectives that can be measured. For 
example, as of December 3, 2009, the Coast Guard had filled 88 of 108 
civilian marine safety positions, including more civilian inspectors 
for continuity, adjusted tour lengths, strengthened career paths, and 
expanded marine safety training and education. The Marine Safety 
Performance Plan was designed to reduce maritime casualties, 
facilitate commerce, improve program processes and management, and 
improve human resource capabilities. The Marine Safety Performance 
Plan was completed in November 2008, and is planned to be implemented 
through 2014. 

Tools to Facilitate Data-Driven Management Decisions: 

Coast Guard officials have expressed a need for reliable, verifiable, 
and repeatable data to facilitate data-driven management decisions on 
personnel requirements and preparedness. The five tools identified 
below are all in development and intended to collectively provide 
Coast Guard management with access to more reliable and comprehensive 
data. The last of the five tools is expected to provide the Coast 
Guard with data access capability to allow it to use the data captured 
by the first four tools, among other things. 

* Officer Specialty Management System (OSMS): OSMS is a new framework 
for Coast Guard officer "specialties," specific areas of expertise 
within the service associated with different occupations or positions. 
In addition to replacing over 70 legacy specialties with 13 new 
specialties and 38 subspecialties, for the first time the Coast Guard 
plans to identify specific competency requirements for each specialty. 
For example, the legacy specialties of Boating Safety, including 
General, Boating Affairs, Boating Standards, and Boating 
Investigations, have been consolidated into one subspecialty under 
OSMS entitled Maritime Law Enforcement/Ports, Waterways & Coastal 
Security Operations. According to officials and an agency overview 
document, the overarching goal of these changes to legacy specialties 
is to gain a clearer picture of (1) what is required by Coast Guard 
officer positions, and (2) the capabilities of the officer corps. 
[Footnote 28] OSMS is the product of internal studies initiated in 
2001. The Coast Guard expects to assign specialties to officers 
beginning in summer 2010 with full implementation of the system by 
spring 2011. 

* Competency Management System (CMS):[Footnote 29] CMS is the 
mechanism by which Coast Guard officials establish and modify a 
standard set of competencies, assign competencies to positions, record 
competencies earned by members, collect and organize competency data 
and information, and allow for the use of competency information in 
personnel management decisions. For example, CMS contains the 
engineering competency "Engineering Inspections" and describes the 
individual with this competency as "able to inspect facilities or 
construction projects from an engineering perspective to identify 
required repairs, remaining life, and potential problems or 
improvements." In another example, CMS lists the marine safety 
competency "Boarding Officer (Marine Safety)" and describes an 
individual with this competency as able to "perform detailed 
examinations of foreign and U.S. vessels of all types to verify 
compliance with U.S., class society, and international safety, 
security, and pollution prevention regulations." According to the CMS 
Manual, at a basic level CMS is designed to help decision makers 
understand the demands of the service and specific positions along 
with the supply of people available to meet those demands. As of 
November 2009, CMS covered approximately 80 percent of active duty and 
reserve positions, and the Coast Guard was in the early stages of 
developing processes to identify and assign competencies to civilian 
and auxiliary positions. It is unclear at this time when CMS will 
fully reflect military, reserve, and auxiliary competencies. 

* Manpower Requirements Determination (MRD): According to Coast Guard 
documents and officials, the MRD system is designed to help calculate 
the human capital needed to perform Coast Guard tasks or missions 
using verifiable, repeatable, and defendable analyses. According to 
the MRD Business Model, Coast Guard officials currently measure human 
capital in ways that can vary based on factors such as programmatic or 
local needs. The goal of the MRD system is to create a common set of 
standards and analytical approaches so that officials responsible for 
personnel allocation decisions can make more standardized human 
capital comparisons across units or programs. For example, in December 
2008 the MRD system was used to conduct a baseline analysis of the 
optimal mix of manpower required to maintain safety and sustain the 
mission of the Juniper Class cutter, which resulted in recommended 
increases of certain enlisted positions, and decreases in other 
enlisted positions.[Footnote 30] MRD was chartered in 2006, and the 
Coast Guard expects the guiding doctrine, policy, and procedure 
documents for the MRD program to be complete by September 2010; the 
service expects the supporting automated information system that would 
be accessed through the Coast Guard Business Intelligence system to be 
completed by September 2012. 

* Sector Staffing Model (SSM): Using SSM, the Coast Guard expects to 
be able to create baseline staffing data that are comparable across 
the Coast Guard's 35 diverse sectors.[Footnote 31] Specifically, 
according to Coast Guard officials, SSM seeks to quantify staffing 
shortfalls, which in turn could justify resource proposals for 
additional staff; provide a transparent basis for mission requirement 
resource allocation; enable senior leadership and program managers to 
understand resource implications of proposed policy changes and 
requirements; and help forecast future staffing needs based on 
projected activity and mission growth. SSM uses two types of 
worksheets to analyze baseline staffing at sectors: (1) an activity-
based worksheet and (2) a command cadre worksheet. For example, using 
the activity-based worksheet for "container inspections," each sector 
estimates annual mission hours and activity levels needed to complete 
inspection-related activities. The results of this worksheet are 
converted into time available for work. The second worksheet--the 
command cadre tool--accounts for the number of subordinate officers, 
and enlisted and civilian personnel, and considers unit-specific data 
for roughly 12-15 criteria related to each unit's size, assets, and 
missions. For example, the Prevention Department Head worksheet would 
include criteria, such as number of vessels inspected in that 
particular sector and the number of serious marine casualties 
occurring in that sector. These SSM worksheets are converted into 
Coast Guard positions, taking into account the mix of civilian and 
military staff, as well as their rates, ranks, or pay grades, 
providing Coast Guard management with a baseline of the personnel 
needed at each sector. SSM was chartered in 2007, and the Coast Guard 
expects that it will be accessible through the Coast Guard Business 
Intelligence data system in December 2010. 

* Coast Guard Business Intelligence (CGBI): According to Coast Guard 
documents and officials, the CGBI data system is designed to support 
decision making across all levels of the Coast Guard by leveraging 
existing Coast Guard data, measures, and processes. This data system 
can generate a variety of reports or displays by drawing and combining 
data from multiple electronic sources. CGBI can access or is expected 
to be able to access the Officer Specialty Management System, 
Competency Management System, Manpower Requirements Determination, and 
Sector Staffing Model and is to provide a foundation for more data- 
driven decisions. For example, the Coast Guard expects to be able to 
access Sector Staffing Model results through CGBI in June 2010. In 
April 2009, the Coast Guard launched an updated version of CGBI, which 
added features to the initial 2006 version. Although the CGBI system 
is operational and utilized across the Coast Guard, its development 
continues. Program staff will continue to focus on measuring data 
quality in the future, according to one official. The next major 
system upgrade, which involves increasing the Coast Guard's capability 
to use existing data for predictive modeling or simulations, is 
expected to be completed in 2011, according to the Coast Guard. 

Efforts Still in Development: 

It is too soon to tell whether the plans and data-driven tools that 
the Coast Guard has begun to put in place will provide an analytical 
foundation to support management decisions related to resource 
allocation and personnel preparedness because the plans and tools are 
still in development or support ongoing efforts. The Workforce Action 
Plan and FORCECOM Business Plan both describe discrete goals related 
to personnel improvements that extend beyond 2010. The Acquisition 
Human Capital Strategic Plan also contains challenges and outlines 
strategies for addressing these challenges, which have deadlines 
provided by the Blueprint for Acquisition Reform, a companion document 
to the human capital strategic plan. As we reported in July 2009, the 
Coast Guard has completed a number of the initiatives, including the 
adoption of a model to assess future acquisition workforce needs. The 
Marine Safety Performance Plan contains initiatives that extend 
through fiscal year 2014. In terms of the tools, OSMS and SSM have 
undergone beta testing and have been deployed for limited use, but are 
not expected to be fully implemented until 2011 and 2010, 
respectively, according to estimates from the responsible program 
offices. The Coast Guard reported in December 2009 that the Manpower 
Requirements Determination analysis tool has been utilized in 23 
completed or ongoing projects; however, the Coast Guard estimated that 
the currently expanding Manpower Requirements Determination system 
will not be completed until 2012. The Competency Management System 
tool currently provides information relevant to most military 
positions, but officials have only recently begun to populate civilian 
and auxiliary competencies, and it is not clear when this update will 
be completed. Lastly, although the CGBI system is operational and in 
use across the Coast Guard, it too undergoes updates and revisions to 
meet the needs of those who use the system, according to officials who 
manage the system. 

Figure 2 illustrates the timeline for implementation or development of 
Coast Guard plans and data-driven tools that may address personnel 
challenges. 

Figure 2: Timeline of Select Coast Guard Personnel-Related Plans and 
Tools: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

Select servicewide plans: 

Workforce Action Plan: 
Effort initiation to present: Started August 2009; 
Expected continuous development: Until September 2010 (in 
implementation). 

Force Readiness Command Business Plan: 
Effort initiation to present: Started October 2008; 
Expected continuous development: Until September 2010 (in 
implementation). 

Select mission-support and mission-specific plans: 

Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan: 
Effort initiation to present: Started April 2009; 
Expected continuous development: Until March 2010 (in implementation). 

Marine Safety Performance Plan: 
Effort initiation to present: Started November 2008; 
Expected continuous development: Until September 2014 (in 
implementation). 

Select data-driven tools: 

Officer Specialty Management System: 
Effort initiation to present: Started 2001; 
Expected continuous development: Until 2011 (Development towards key 
milestone). 

Competency Management System[A]: 
Effort initiation to present: Started 2004; 
Expected continuous development: Until current time. 

Manpower Requirements Determination: 
Effort initiation to present: Started 2006; 
Expected continuous development: Until 2012 (Development towards key 
milestone). 

Sector Staffing Model: 
Effort initiation to present: Started 2007; 
Expected continuous development: Until 2010. (Development towards key 
milestone). 

Coast Guard Business Intelligence: 
Effort initiation to present: Started 2006; 
Expected continuous development: Until 2011 (Development towards key 
milestone). 

[A] Milestone not identified, but the Coast Guard indicated that 
system development is ongoing. 

Sources: GAO (analysis), Coast Guard (data). 

[End of figure] 

The Coast Guard May Face Challenges in Implementing Personnel Efforts: 

The Coast Guard may encounter four specific challenges as it 
implements the personnel management actions discussed above. 
Specifically, there may be challenges related to resources being 
sufficient to implement personnel efforts, as well as sufficient to 
support mission requirements, data reliability, coordination among the 
Coast Guard offices responsible for developing and implementing each 
of these actions, and leadership. It is too soon to tell how 
successful the Coast Guard will be in overcoming these challenges. 

Resource Challenges Are Twofold: Are Resources Sufficient to Implement 
Personnel Efforts and Fill Mission Requirements: 

The Coast Guard acknowledged that it faces two types of resource 
challenges--first, dedicating the necessary resources to implement and 
monitor its planning and data-tool personnel initiatives, and second, 
having the resources to meet its personnel and mission requirements 
once they are established. 

First, it remains unclear whether the Coast Guard's existing resources 
are sufficient or appropriately utilized to put these new plans and 
tools into operation. For example, the Manpower Requirements 
Determination office consists of five staff and one supervisor and has 
three unfilled positions (two officers and one civilian)[Footnote 32] 
and they plan to review human resource requirements for over 100 unit 
types (including small-boat stations, sectors, National Security 
Cutter, and headquarters), provide an analysis for each new unit, or 
mission requirements, which is estimated to take about 6-12 months 
(e.g., the new enlisted maritime enforcement specialist rating), and 
provide support for all resource proposals that are considered for 
funding by the Coast Guard.[Footnote 33] As a result of the size of 
the workload relative to the size of the staff, the program office 
that manages MRD is conducting an MRD analysis on its own manpower 
requirements, which it expects to complete by July 2010. The results 
will inform the MRD office's staffing decisions and may result in a 
request for additional personnel. Further, the Coast Guard's reliance 
upon congressional authorization for the new overall Coast Guard 
command structure may also complicate steps to standardize training 
and personnel requirements across all Coast Guard units. Under the 
Coast Guard's current approach, until the Coast Guard's new command 
structure, which includes FORCECOM, is fully authorized and funded 
under the new structure, personnel assigned to FORCECOM are to 
continue to conduct their legacy responsibilities under the old 
command structure. Although senior Coast Guard officials from FORCECOM 
responsible for training and other personnel-related initiatives 
reported that they have continued to fulfill their legacy 
responsibilities and complete their new responsibilities under 
FORCECOM, it is unclear what impact these dual responsibilities will 
have on the timely implementation of the goals set out in the FORCECOM 
Business Plan that are focused on standardizing personnel training and 
preparedness requirements. 

Second, given the current resource-constrained federal budget 
environment faced by all agencies, the use of more standardized and 
analytical tools like the Manpower Requirements Determination or 
Sector Staffing Model will not guarantee that identified personnel 
needs are met in units and platforms across the Coast Guard. Admiral 
Thad Allen, the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, 
recognized the economic challenges the nation faces when he testified 
in May 2009 on the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2010 budget request. He 
acknowledged that the Coast Guard could no longer do more with less, 
and would need to prioritize resource allocations, while accepting 
risk in areas where resources would be lacking. In July 2009, we noted 
that while the Coast Guard's budget has increased significantly since 
2003, the long-term budget outlook for the service is uncertain. 
[Footnote 34] Specifically, administration budget projections indicate 
that the Department of Homeland Security's annual budget is expected 
to remain constant or decrease over the next 10 years. As a result of 
this uncertainty, if the results of personnel analyses show a need to 
increase resources, it will still be a challenge for the Coast Guard 
to obtain them. 

Data Reliability Challenges Are Ongoing Concern: 

Coast Guard officials we spoke with acknowledge challenges with 
obtaining reliable, verifiable, and repeatable data that may affect 
the data-driven tools created by the Coast Guard. For example, CGBI 
combines data from multiple databases to create its various 
informational reports. Coast Guard officials acknowledge that some of 
these databases, including Direct Access and Marine Information for 
Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE), have data quality problems. 
[Footnote 35] Although Coast Guard officials said that the more 
widespread use and greater transparency of CGBI has promoted more 
accurate data entry, these officials added that the increased use of 
the system has also exposed unreliable data. As a result, the Coast 
Guard has begun taking steps to proactively validate data, for 
example, within the Direct Access system, which is the service's 
authoritative human resources database. Specifically, all active duty 
personnel were required to update or validate certain information, 
such as marital status, birth date, and number of dependents. 
According to Coast Guard officials, they intend to continue this 
validation process for other data fields. In another effort to improve 
data accuracy, after discovering that one data element--military 
service entry date--had a relatively high error rate, the Coast Guard 
reported addressing this issue by providing a clearer definition of 
this data field to personnel. According to an official with direct 
responsibility for CGBI, these types of incremental improvements at 
the transactional database level will improve the overall efficacy of 
CGBI products. However, in 2008 we reported our concerns about the 
reliability of some MISLE data, and the Coast Guard concurred with our 
recommendation to assess the data, including their completeness, along 
with data entry, consistency, and data field problems.[Footnote 36] As 
the Coast Guard plans to rely on MISLE data to help inform personnel 
decisions, ensuring its reliability is important to strengthening the 
reliability of the CGBI system and its subordinate tools, but 
achieving this data reliability will likely be a challenge for the 
Coast Guard given its past problems with ensuring data reliability. 
[Footnote 37] 

Challenges Coordinating Various Personnel-Related Plans and Tools: 

Along with resource and data reliability challenges, the Coast Guard 
faces potential challenges in coordinating its various personnel- 
related plans and tools. Specifically, in the midst of the large 
organizational transformation that is under way involving numerous 
changes to the Coast Guard's command structure, enterprisewide support 
systems, and business practices, it may prove difficult for the Coast 
Guard to coordinate more narrowly defined personnel-related efforts, 
such as the nine plans and tools highlighted in this report. These 
plans and tools, although interrelated, span a range of specific 
functions and encompass a variety of Coast Guard activities. Efforts 
such as the Manpower Requirements Determination system and Sector 
Staffing Model, for example, are designed to help the Coast Guard 
better allocate overall personnel resources across the service, while 
efforts such as the Officer Specialty Management System and Competency 
Management System are more focused on the knowledge, skills, and 
abilities of individuals. In addition to varying in purpose and scope, 
the efforts are subject to different time frames and are overseen by 
several different entities. Specifically, the nine plans and tools 
have been managed by at least eight different program or mission 
support offices and three separate commands, and some initiatives, 
such as the Officer Specialty Management System and Sector Staffing 
Model, have shifted or may shift to different program offices as they 
move from development to implementation. 

Although the Coast Guard has established an office to coordinate the 
modernization effort and other broad organizational change 
initiatives, it is not clear whether its span of control or influence 
will extend to the specific personnel-related plans and tools 
described above. In May 2009, the Coast Guard established the Office 
of Enterprise Strategy, Management, and Doctrine Oversight Directorate 
within the Office of the Vice Commandant, to enhance servicewide 
change management and strategic analysis, among other things. 
According to a draft charter document provided to us in September 
2009, this newly established office will lead a team of senior 
officials from across the Coast Guard charged with the overarching 
design, planning, implementation, and sustainment of organizational 
change initiatives such as modernization. However, as of December 
2009, the draft charter had not been finalized and senior officials 
from the Office of Enterprise Strategy had previously stated that 
their office was not tasked with direct coordination of specific 
personnel efforts. Furthermore, these officials emphasized that the 
more narrowly defined personnel plans and tools are owned and managed 
by their respective program offices. For instance, at the programmatic 
level, the Office of Future Force provided examples of outreach and 
coordination with offices responsible for implementing aspects of the 
plans and tools we have discussed above. The Office of Future Force 
coordinates with FORCECOM's Office of Assessment, Integration and Risk 
Management on building competency-based curriculum, works with the 
Acquisition Workforce Planning, Development & Certification office to 
identify acquisition competencies, and with the Assistant Commandant 
for Marine Safety and Stewardship has developed two new competencies. 

However, management by different program offices may complicate 
coordination. For example, in August 2009, the Personnel Service 
Center assumed responsibility for the Officer Specialty Management 
System; the Office of Future Forces maintains the Competency 
Management System. The expertise of staff in the Office of Enterprise 
Strategy, one official continued, does not typically extend to program 
subject matter itself and the program offices are ultimately 
accountable for developing and monitoring their own initiatives. 
Officials did note, however, that the Office of Enterprise Strategy's 
role in managing the Coast Guard Business Intelligence system involves 
checking the performance metrics of the various initiatives for 
duplication. In addition, they concurred that the visibility of the 
Coast Guard Business Intelligence system data throughout the Coast 
Guard would facilitate coordination among the relevant program offices 
themselves. Still, because of the numerous Coast Guard entities 
involved with the development of the various personnel-related plans 
and tools, the Coast Guard faces the potential for duplication of 
efforts and challenges in establishing accountability for its overall 
workforce goals. 

Upcoming Change in Leadership May Make Sustaining Personnel Efforts 
Challenging: 

A change in the Coast Guard's leadership in May 2010 may make it 
challenging to sustain various personnel efforts associated with the 
Coast's Guard's ongoing modernization. In our view, fostering 
continued progress in addressing workforce issues is important to 
achieving the agency's workforce goals embedded within the agency's 
overall modernization plan. As we have previously reported, at the 
center of any serious change management initiative--such as the 
modernization plan--are the people.[Footnote 38] Thus, the key to a 
successful merger and transformation is to recognize the "people" 
element and implement strategies to help individuals maximize their 
full potential in the new organization, while simultaneously managing 
the risk of reduced productivity and effectiveness that often occurs 
as a result of the changes. One key practice in this effort is 
ensuring that the organization's top leadership drives the change 
initiative and defines and articulates a succinct and compelling 
reason for the change. For example, in 2003 we reported that because a 
merger or transformation entails fundamental and often radical change, 
strong and inspirational leadership is indispensable, and that top 
leadership that is clearly and personally involved in the merger or 
transformation represents stability and provides an identifiable 
source for employees to rally around during tumultuous times. The 
agency's leadership must set the direction, pace, and tone for the 
transformation. According to a 2009 National Academy of Public 
Administration (NAPA) study, the current Coast Guard Commandant has 
taken several positive steps in this regard by reaching out to an 
unprecedented number of agency staff through a variety of innovative 
mechanisms and by involving his senior leadership in the design, 
communication, and implementation of the modernization vision since 
announcing his intention to transform the organization.[Footnote 39] 
However, with the transition to a new Commandant's leadership in the 
summer of 2010, there is no guarantee that the events put into motion 
to achieve this transformation will be supported by the new 
Commandant's agenda. As NAPA reported, it is possible that the current 
leadership's vision will not be sustained past the summer of 2010. 
Moreover, our previous work also reported that experience shows that 
successful major change management initiatives in large private and 
public sector organizations can often take at least 5 to 7 years. 
Thus, the combined factors of the Coast Guard's dependence on 
receiving congressional authorization to fully implement the 
modernization plan, and the current Commandant's limited time 
remaining as the leader of this effort, may make it challenging to 
retain the sustained and inspired attention needed to accomplish these 
changes, unless the incoming Commandant shares a similar vision for 
the organization. Certainly the progress made to date in implementing 
the modernization plan helps to mitigate this challenge, but the final 
results remain to be seen. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

On December 21, 2009, we provided a draft of this report for review 
and comment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Coast 
Guard. On January 5, 2010, the department's audit liaison office 
responded by e-mail that DHS concurred with the report. The department 
and the Coast Guard provided no formal comments but offered one 
technical clarification. We incorporated the technical clarification 
into this report where appropriate. 

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents 
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days 
from the report date. At that time, we will send copies of this report 
to the Secretary of Homeland Security and interested congressional 
committees and subcommittees. In addition, this report will be 
available at no charge on GAO's Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff has any questions about this report or wish to 
discuss the matter further, please contact me at (202) 512-9610 or 
caldwells@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of Congressional 
Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this 
report. Other key contributors to this report are listed in enclosure 
II. 

Signed by: 

Stephen L. Caldwell:
Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 

Enclosure - 2: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure I: Key Personnel Plans and Data-Driven Tools: 

This enclosure provides more detailed information about how the Coast 
Guard seeks to address its personnel problems. The Coast Guard has 
developed plans and tools including, among others, two servicewide 
plans for implementing broad workforce changes--the Workforce Action 
Plan and the FORCECOM Business Plan--plus a mission-support plan 
focused on improving the number of acquisition personnel within its 
Acquisition Directorate, and a mission-specific plan focused more 
narrowly on its marine safety mission. Table 1 provides a detailed 
description of the purpose of each personnel plan or tool, the 
specific Coast Guard office responsible for its implementation, the 
time frames for implementation, and the status of each initiative. 

Summary of Key Personnel Plans and Data-Driven Tools: 

Servicewide Plans: 

Workforce Action Plan: 

Issue: 
This plan considers Coast Guard mission areas and was developed at the 
direction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, whose members had 
expressed concern that the size of the service's workforce had not 
kept pace with its increased mission requirements. The plan was to 
include (1) a gap analysis of the mission areas that continue to need 
resources and the type of personnel necessary to address those needs; 
(2) a strategy, including funding, milestones, and a timeline, for 
addressing personnel gaps for each category of employee; (3) specific 
strategies for recruiting individuals for hard-to-fill positions; and 
(4) any additional authorities and resources necessary to address 
staffing requirements. The creation of a workforce action plan may 
help the Coast Guard better align its human capital program with 
current and emerging mission requirements, and also facilitate the 
development of long-term strategies for acquiring, training, and 
retaining needed staff. 

Purpose: 
The Coast Guard's Workforce Action Plan, which emphasizes the Coast 
Guard's mission staffing for fiscal years 2009-2010, was created in 
response to congressional direction and examines current human 
resource planning processes, highlights recent improvements to these 
processes, and discusses areas for improvement. 

Responsible Command: 
The Assistant Commandant for Human Resources under the future Deputy 
Commandant for Mission Support is responsible for development of the 
Workforce Action Plan. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* September 2008--Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 
2009 (Pub. L. No. 110-329, 122 Stat. 3574 (2008)) enacted. Senate 
appropriations committee report 110-396 accompanying this 
appropriations act directed the Coast Guard to create a workforce 
action plan. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of 
Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2009 directed the Coast Guard to 
comply with the Senate report direction regarding a workforce action 
plan. H. Comm. on Appropriations, 110[TH] Cong., Committee Print on 
H.R. 2638/Public Law 110-329 at 646 (2008). 
End: 
* August 24, 2009--Plan signed by Commandant; 
* Fiscal year 2010--Plan listed selected requests for personnel 
increases contained in the fiscal year 2010 President's Budget; the 
Coast Guard reported that it intends to revise the plan periodically 
as needed. 

Status: 
The Workforce Action Plan did not provide a gap analysis of the 
mission areas and personnel needed, and thus also did not provide a 
strategy with proposed funding, milestones, and a timeline for 
addressing these personnel gaps for each employee category consistent 
with congressional direction. The Workforce Action Plan did provide a 
general view of recruiting strategies for meeting the service's three 
priority workforce needs related to the quantity, quality, and 
diversity of its applicant pool, and referred generally to two mission 
areas that the Coast Guard identified as needing personnel 
adjustments--acquisitions and marine safety. Lastly, while the plan 
discussed some of the agency's existing authorities, it did not 
expound upon any additional authorities needed to address staffing 
requirements. Instead, the Coast Guard's Workforce Action Plan set out 
an explanation of the Coast Guard's workforce planning process. For 
example, the Workforce Action Plan provided an overview of how the 
Coast Guard would use the resources requested in the fiscal year 2010 
President's Budget and provided a list of manpower determinations for 
some units and platforms, an accession plan and civilian hiring 
targets, as well as a workforce status report (as of the first quarter 
of 2009). Although the submitted workforce plan did not comport with 
direction provided by the Senate appropriators, it did follow the 
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) workforce planning guidance in 
that the Coast Guard identified its human resource planning processes, 
highlighted recent efforts undertaken to improve the Coast Guard's 
human resources management program, and discussed areas for 
improvement in its human resource planning and budgeting processes. 
Following the DHS Workforce Planning Model, the Coast Guard plan 
frames its human resource planning and budget processes across five 
stages: 

* Strategic Planning: As described in the Workforce Action Plan, Coast 
Guard strategic planning takes place under the "Evergreen process," a 
4-year planning cycle aligned with the appointment of a new 
Commandant. The incoming Commandant's Intent is developed into Coast 
Guard Strategy and communicated to the organization. The central 
linkage between overall strategy and human capital allocations is the 
budget process. Program managers submit Resource Proposals (RP) to 
request staffing for current shortfalls or anticipated needs using 
guidance from the Commandant, which is reflected in the Coast Guard 
Strategy. The RPs are reviewed and prioritized by different groups of 
senior resource managers before inclusion in the DHS budget. 

* Supply, Demand, Discrepancies: In its Workforce Action Plan, the 
Coast Guard describes how program managers determine the nature of 
their human resource needs by identifying the job tasks to be 
performed, the skills needed to do them, and an assessment of the 
training needed to deliver the job skills to an individual. The Coast 
Guard has developed the Manpower Requirements Determination tool, 
which according to Coast Guard documents and officials is designed to 
use a scientific approach to measure workload, in order to help 
determine the appropriate number and mix of personnel needed to 
conduct Coast Guard work. The Manpower Requirements Determination 
system, is under development and is planned to be linked to RP 
requests--with the goal of providing senior Coast Guard managers the 
information they need to make better informed resource management 
decisions. 

* Develop Action Plan: According to the Workforce Action Plan, the 
Coast Guard develops an annual Integrated Accession Plan (IAP) to 
provide guidance on personnel requirements and goals for the following 
fiscal year. The IAPs provide target numbers of needed military and 
civilian personnel, and are based on expected on-budget personnel 
increases or decreases and forecasted losses. In addition, the Coast 
Guard Recruiting Command annually develops a recruiting plan that 
focuses on hiring individuals in sufficient quantity to meet mission 
requirements. 

* Implement Action Plan: To help attain hiring goals contained in 
annual IAPs, the Workforce Action Plan describes various Coast Guard 
recruiting strategies for its military and civilian workforce, 
including incentive programs for difficult to fill positions. 
Strategies used include bonuses and guaranteed skills training; direct-
hire authority for limited occupations such as contracting specialist; 
a pilot referral bonus program; recruitment, relocation, and retention 
incentives; rehire of annuitants without a salary offset; 
moving/relocation assistance; student loan repayments; enhanced annual 
leave accrual; and student internship/developmental programs. Also, 
the Acquisition Directorate's Human Capital Strategic Plan outlines 
the tools used to meet the human capital goals of the acquisition 
workforce. 

* Monitor, Evaluate, Revise: According to the Workforce Action Plan, 
the Coast Guard creates and distributes to senior leadership a monthly 
workforce status report to help monitor several aspects of the Coast 
Guard's human capital. The status reports track indicators such as the 
number of personnel in Coast Guard positions (by officer, chief 
warrant officer, and enlisted), rates of attrition, and position 
vacancy rates. The Workforce Action Plan states that anomalies 
revealed through these reports and through other means are 
investigated further, and can result in corrective actions, such as 
offering incentives to attract personnel to a specific job. In 
addition, mission performance data are used by program managers to 
help identify potential links between declining performance and 
workforce gaps. 

In the section Coast Guard Staffing Level Requirements, the Workforce 
Action Plan contains fiscal year 2010 requested personnel increases 
and fiscal year 2009 enacted increases. 

The concluding comments of the Workforce Action Plan indicate that the 
Coast Guard will continue its development of tools, such as the 
Manpower Requirements Determination system, and the Competency 
Management System, in order to provide a clearer picture of the 
service's general human resource requirements, and will also continue 
to implement programs in specific mission areas where resource needs 
have already been identified, such as marine safety, acquisitions, and 
financial management. 

The fiscal year 2009 Workforce Action Plan noted that important 
elements of its five-stage planning process are incomplete and still 
being developed, including the Manpower Requirements Determination 
(MRD) System and competency definitions. 

[End of Workforce Action Plan] 

Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) Business Plan: 

Issue: 
Prior to FORCECOM, which was established on June 1, 2009, many 
personnel readiness roles were independently managed by the Atlantic 
Area and Pacific Area commands.[Footnote 40] This bifurcation resulted 
in geographic variation in how Coast Guard personnel were trained; how 
their operational readiness was inspected, assessed, and reported; and 
which doctrine or Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP)[Footnote 
41] they followed when performing their missions. For example, at the 
unit level, on-the-job training requirements for the same positions 
could vary by location at the discretion of the commanding officers. 
Standardizing personnel requirements and training will help to ensure 
that the Coast Guard can surge people and assets across the nation to 
fulfill mission needs. 

Purpose: 
FORCECOM's overarching mission is to provide ready forces to meet the 
supported commander's current and future operational requirements. 
FORCECOM is leading efforts to make aspects of personnel readiness 
more standardized across the Coast Guard. As described in the Business 
Plan and FORCECOM Commander's Intent for fiscal years 2009 through 
2010, the intended roles of the new command are to; 
* allocate mobile and deployable specialized forces; 
* formulate operational doctrine that will align training and 
standardization to ensure force interoperability and readiness; 
* provide timely and high-quality operational training; 
* consolidate and standardize operational inspections and establish a 
standard measurement system to evaluate force readiness, and; 
* validate field innovation best practices and incorporate them into 
TTP. 

While recognizing that Coast Guard personnel serve in diverse 
operating environments that require a degree of local control and 
flexibility, the consolidation of force readiness responsibilities 
under a single service-wide command represents an effort to increase 
standardization and integration of personnel management, according to 
the Coast Guard. 

Responsible Command: 
FORCECOM, along with the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, the 
Deputy Commandant for Operations, and the Operations Command, is one 
of the four new commands created under the Coast Guard's modernization 
effort. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* October 2008--FORCECOM Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Business Plan issued; * 
June 1, 2009--FORCECOM stood-up at initial operating capability, but 
awaiting full congressional approval. 
End: 
* Fiscal year 2010--FORCECOM Business Plan end date; the Coast Guard 
reported that it intends to update the plan periodically to reflect 
FORCECOM priorities; 
* 2012--FORCECOM expected to reach final operating capability. 

Status: 
Between its 2009 commission date and 2012, FORCECOM will incrementally 
expand its operations to final operating capability. Although not 
fully implemented, FORCECOM documents and officials provided examples 
of specific initiatives under way that intend to further the overall 
goal of more centralized and standardized force readiness management: 

* Assume management of all major training commands--For the first time 
in the Coast Guard's history, according to FORCECOM documents, all 
training for individuals, boat, cutter, shore, and aviation units will 
be managed under a single command. 

* Review and revise operational policy, doctrine, and Tactics, 
Techniques, and Procedures--One FORCECOM division is currently leading 
an effort to identify, catalog, and prioritize legacy operational 
doctrine. 

* Standardize unit inspection requirements and coordinate inspections--
According to the FORCECOM Commander's Intent, an average Coast Guard 
unit spends 60 days completing inspection visits each year. In 
addition, we spoke with the senior officer from the FORCECOM offices 
responsible for standardizing unit inspection requirements and 
coordinating inspections and he explained that in many cases they 
request the same information. In 2009, FORCECOM began beta testing new 
processes to consolidate and standardize assessment visits at three 
types of field units: cutter, air station, and sector. The command is 
also seeking ways to more efficiently integrate best practices from 
the field into standard Coast Guard operating doctrine. 

* Develop a Coast-Guard-wide system of readiness measures--This 
"FORCECOM Readiness Dashboard" is expected to measure individual, 
unit, and mission readiness across six broad indicators: People, 
Equipment, Supply, Training, Infrastructure, and Information, and will 
be accessed through the Coast Guard Business Intelligence system. 

* Collaborate with operational command and program offices to build a 
catalog of Coast Guard Mission Essential Tasks--Mission Essential Task 
Lists for specific unit types or assets are intended to help the Coast 
Guard better assess readiness gaps and will be used as part of a 
system that reports readiness to the Department of Defense and others. 

We used the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), 
which provides agencies a framework for effectively implementing and 
managing programs including setting strategic goals, measuring 
performance, and reporting on the degree to which goals were met, in 
our analysis of the FORCECOM Business Plan. Although GPRA is generally 
applied to agencywide strategic plans, its framework is useful to 
guide any type of planning. The FORCECOM Business Plan contains 
characteristics of GPRA planning including defining a mission and 
desired outcomes and identifying performance measures to gauge 
progress.[Footnote 42] For example, the plan defines a clear mission, 
specifically to ensure the forces allocated are trained to standards, 
armed with current tactics and procedures, interoperable, and 
inspected, in order to meet current and future operational 
requirements. The plan also calls for performance to be measured with 
specific actions needed to create this new command. For example, the 
FORCECOM Business Plan sets a goal to catalogue and review all general 
mandated training requirements to ensure that each requirement is 
carefully approved and targeted for efficiency by 2010. Some personnel-
related milestones contained in the FORCECOM Business Plan, such as 
establishing processes for developing new operational doctrine and 
assuming management of certain training teams, for example, are not 
expected to be reached until 2010. 

[End of Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) Business Plan] 

[End of Servicewide Plans] 

Mission-Support Plan: 

Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan: 

Issue: 
In the late 1990s the Coast Guard began the largest acquisition 
program in its history to build or modernize ships and aircraft and to 
procure other capabilities, and in 2007, after a series of 
programmatic failures, the Coast Guard sought to change how its 
acquisitions were managed. Recognizing that it did not have in place a 
workforce with the experience and depth to manage all Coast Guard 
acquisitions, and that it was relying too heavily on contractors, the 
Coast Guard took steps to build its own acquisition workforce to 
manage its multibillion dollar acquisition program. By developing its 
own acquisition workforce, the Coast Guard may improve accountability 
for its acquisitions by increasing government control and visibility 
over its assets and capabilities. 

Purpose: 
The Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan 2009 is the second human 
capital plan used by the Coast Guard since the Acquisition Directorate 
was created in 2007. The first human capital plan described the 
challenges related to building a new acquisition directorate, and the 
updated Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan 2009 set out longer-
term planning and management of the acquisition workforce. 

Responsible Command: 
The Office of Acquisition Workforce Management within the future 
Deputy Commandant for Mission Support authored the plan. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan first released in April 
2008, with a recently updated version published in 2009 and a third 
iteration expected in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010, 
according to the Coast Guard. 
End: 
* According to the July 2009 Blueprint for Continuous Improvement--a 
companion document to the Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan--
the plan will be updated. 

Status of the Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan: 
The 2009 version of the Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan 
identifies three overarching human capital challenges facing the Coast 
Guard's Acquisition Directorate along with 10 specific strategic 
objectives to address these challenges. In addition, the plan adopted 
and applied the Office of Personnel Management's Human Capital 
Assessment and Accountability Framework, which includes guidance in 
the areas of: Strategic Alignment, Leadership and Knowledge 
Management, Results-Oriented Performance Culture, Talent Management, 
and Accountability. While the Acquisition Human Capital Strategic Plan 
itself does not identify time frames for completion, the Blueprint for 
Acquisition Reform, renamed the Blueprint for Continuous Improvement, 
supports many of the initiatives and provides deadlines for their 
completion. 

[End of Mission-Support Plan] 

Mission-Specific Plan: 

Marine Safety Performance Plan: 

Issue: 
Some Coast Guard officials, congressional members, and industry 
stakeholders perceived a widening performance gap in the service's 
marine safety mission as the Coast Guard took on increased homeland 
security mission responsibilities. Specific concerns were summarized 
in a November 2007 report by retired Vice Admiral James C. Card, Coast 
Guard Marine Safety Analysis: An Independent Assessment and 
Suggestions for Improvement. Personnel-related issues described in the 
report were: the number of marine safety personnel/resources; 
capability; professionalism; training and qualifications; 
civilian/military mix; and tour length and rotations. Having the 
appropriate numbers and fully trained marine safety personnel will 
help to ensure that the Coast Guard successfully meets the increasing 
needs of maritime stakeholders. 

Purpose: 
The Marine Safety Performance Plan was developed in part as a response 
to concerns expressed by stakeholders and others noted above. The plan 
sets goals, objectives, and performance targets for the marine safety 
mission for fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2014. 

Responsible Command: 
Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship under 
the Deputy Commandant for Operations authored the Marine Safety 
Performance Plan and is responsible for managing its implementation. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* November 2008--Performance Plan issued. 
End: 
* Fiscal year 2014--Performance Plan end date. 

Status of Marine Safety Performance Plan: 
The Coast Guard set out a course of action to meet its human resource 
capability goals and objectives identified in the Marine Safety 
Performance Plan. 

* Additional positions for fiscal year 2009--The Coast Guard's fiscal 
year 2009 appropriation included 310 marine safety positions. About 
two-thirds (202) of these positions are for military personnel and 
about one-third (108) are for civilian personnel. The military 
positions include 47 officers, 42 warrant officers, and 113 enlisted 
personnel, and as of December 16, 2009, the Coast Guard reported that 
it had placed a total of 178 military personnel in marine safety 
positions, including 39 officers, 26 warrant officers, and 113 
enlisted personnel. The Coast Guard also reported that it expects to 
assign the remaining marine safety military positions during the 
regular assignment cycle (which will conclude in June 2010). With 
regard to the civilian positions, as of December 3, 2009, 88 of the 
108 positions were filled, 17 positions were advertised, and three 
position descriptions were under development, according to the Coast 
Guard. Civilian positions have been funded within the National Centers 
of Expertise for Marine Safety, and among apprentice marine 
inspectors, and additional civilian training, planning, oversight, 
policy, and investigating officer positions have also been funded. 

* Additional positions for fiscal year 2010--The Coast Guard has 
requested funding for an additional 74 positions for marine inspectors 
and investigating officers at field units; marine inspector training 
officers at feeder ports; staffing for the Steam and Vintage Vessels 
Center of Expertise; engineers for standards development and review; 
and expanded training curricula at the Marine Safety School in 
Yorktown, Virginia. 

* Strengthen marine safety career paths--The Coast Guard is developing 
an apprentice, journeyman, and senior marine inspector career 
progression as well additional career paths for junior civilian marine 
safety positions. 

* Feeder Ports and National Centers of Expertise--Feeder Ports are 
ports that have sufficient volume and workload to train apprentice-
level personnel on marine safety competencies during a 2-year 
rotation. Eighteen Feeder Ports have been established to enhance 
training consistency and opportunities for new marine safety 
personnel. In addition to the feeder ports, the Coast Guard has 
created various National Centers of Expertise designed to enhance 
professional development and interaction with industry. Seven centers 
were developed in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, including the Vintage 
Vessels National Center of Expertise (NCOE), Duluth, Minnesota; Towing 
Vessel NCOE, Paducah, Kentucky; Liquefied Gas Vessel NCOE, Port 
Arthur, Texas; Outer Continental Shelf NCOE, Morgan City, Louisiana; 
and Investigating Officer NCOE, New Orleans, Louisiana. 

* Industry training/Merchant Marine Industry Training Program--The 
Coast Guard is developing Mutual Training Memorandums of Understanding 
for industry and the Coast Guard, and has a goal of doubling annual 
industry training billets to 24. In fiscal year 2009, six commissioned 
Coast Guard Academy graduates were assigned to a newly developed 
merchant marine ship-rider program. The purpose of the program is to 
provide staff with exposure to the U.S. merchant marine and maritime 
industry prior to beginning marine inspector assignments. The Coast 
Guard and industry are developing long-term (12 months), mid-term (3-6 
months), and short-term (less than 1 month) professional development 
opportunities. 

We found that this performance plan also contained characteristics of 
planning set out in the Government Performance and Results Act, 
including involving stakeholders in defining the mission and desired 
outcomes of the plan, and identifying specific goals, objectives, and 
performance measures that link to the stated mission. [Footnote 43] 
For example, this 5-year plan was the result of actively solicited 
input from maritime stakeholders, and defines the mission of the plan 
as a means to ensure the safety of maritime stakeholders by preventing 
marine casualties, protecting the marine environment, and 
strengthening maritime commerce. In addition, the Marine Safety 
Performance Plan outlines specific goals and objectives that can be 
measured. For example, the plan envisions adding over 300 inspector 
and investigator positions in fiscal year 2009, including more 
civilian inspectors for continuity, adjusting tour lengths, 
strengthening career paths, and expanding marine safety training and 
education. The Marine Safety Performance Plan describes various 
initiatives and set targets for marine safety outcomes through fiscal 
year 2014. In addition, a senior Marine Safety official said and the 
Marine Safety Performance Plan states that the plan is a living 
document and will undergo continual review. 

[End of Mission-Specific Plan] 

Data-Driven Tools: 

Officer Specialty Management System (OSMS): 

Issue: 
The legacy Officer Corps Management System and Officer Billet Code 
framework, according to agency documents and officials, was too 
complex and no longer accurately reflected Coast Guard mission 
requirements. The OSMS, by providing a framework with more clearly 
defined specialties and position requirements, may help officers 
manage their careers and development, and assist Coast Guard 
management to better understand the skills set within the officer 
corps and those skills that need to be enhanced or expanded. 

Purpose: 
The OSMS consists of a new framework of officer specialties and 
subspecialties--the set of over 70 legacy specialties under the 
Officer Billet Code framework was reorganized into 13 specialties and 
38 subspecialties. Also, unlike the previous system, the OSMS is to 
detail specific competencies and qualifications required for the 
specialties and subspecialties. 

The OSMS is an evolving system for managing Coast Guard officer 
"specialties"--specific areas of expertise within the service 
associated with different occupations or positions. As described both 
by officials who designed the new system and by key end-users 
responsible for assigning officers to new positions, OSMS is intended 
to more clearly articulate information than the legacy system it is to 
replace, providing the technological link between competencies, 
individual officers, and specialties. As a result, the system should 
facilitate the Coast Guard's efforts to specifically identify, for the 
first time, the specific competency requirements for each officer 
specialty. As such, according to officials and an agency overview 
document, the new streamlined system of specialties will provide a 
clearer picture of what is required by Coast Guard officer positions 
and the capabilities of the officer corps. In addition, the OSMS 
allows for the addition or deletion of specialties and subspecialties 
as service needs dictate. Officials responsible for OSMS development 
outlined different ways that stakeholders may capitalize on these 
clarifications and use the OSMS as a type of management tool: 

* Individual officers may be able to better manage their professional 
development and career choices given more clearly articulated 
specialty requirements and standards. 

* Supervisors and workforce planners may be able to better monitor the 
competency profile of the officer corps, including potential 
shortfalls of specific knowledge, skills, education, and experience. 
In addition, standard specialty requirements may assist managers with 
calculating the time and cost of obtaining specific specialties. 

* Assignment Officers who determine the rotation assignments of 
individual officers can use the tool to inform their placement 
decisions, although officials involved with the assignment process 
emphasized that the system data by itself would not determine 
placements. 

Responsible Command: 
OSMS was developed by the Future Force Office within the Office of the 
Assistant Commandant for Human Resources and the future Deputy 
Commandant for Mission Support. In August 2009 the management of the 
system was transferred to the Personnel Service Center, the Coast 
Guard entity responsible for officer assignments. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* 2001--the Coast Guard sponsored studies focused on officer 
specialties that led to a 2-year Future Force Office evaluation of the 
legacy system; 
* May 2004--Coast Guard Commandant approved new officer specialty 
framework; 
* Summer 2010--the Coast Guard expects to start assigning specialties 
to all officers. 
End: 
* Summer 2010--the Coast Guard expects System to be mapped to CMS; 
* Spring 2011--Expected full implementation, followed by continued 
development. 

Status: 
The Future Force Office assigned the new specialties and 
subspecialties to officer billets in 2008 and conducted beta testing 
from December 2008 through June 2009. The Personnel Service Center, 
having assumed management of OSMS in August 2009, planned to carry out 
additional beta testing in four specific specialty areas (aviation, 
medical, legal, and C4IT) from September 2009 through May 2010. 
[Footnote 44] 

As of summer 2009, program offices were still in the process of 
identifying requirements for the new specialties, and full system 
implementation is not expected until 2011. 

[End of Officer Specialty Management System (OSMS)] 

Competency Management System (CMS): 

Issue: 
There are ongoing general concerns in the Coast Guard about personnel 
being subjected to different sets of human resource requirements. For 
example, a 2006 Commandant Intent Action Order stated that the Coast 
Guard's "staffing standards are obsolete and no process exists to 
remedy this state.Leaders and resource managers do not have confidence 
that any particular set of human capital requirements are based on 
industrial engineering principles, or any objective science, and 
cannot compare sets of requirements to optimize human resource 
allocation."[Footnote 45] Having clearly defined, standardized human 
resource requirements should help the Coast Guard ensure that the 
appropriate personnel with appropriate skill sets are assigned to the 
appropriate positions. 

Purpose: 
Through a standard set of defined competencies, according to Coast 
Guard documents, CMS is designed to help decision makers understand 
the demands of the service and specific positions along with the 
supply of people available to meet those demands. Specifically, for 
all Coast Guard personnel, including officers, enlisted, and civilian, 
the system allows the Coast Guard to: 
* establish and modify competencies; 
* assign competencies to positions; 
* record competencies earned by members; 
* collect and organize competency data and information, and; 
* allow for the use of competency information in personnel management 
decisions. 

Responsible Command: 
The Future Force Office, which falls under the Assistant Commandant 
for Human Resources and the future Deputy Commandant for Mission 
Support, maintains CMS. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* 2004--CMS initial implementation. 
End: 
* Ongoing. Competencies are routinely reviewed and modified if needed 
based on changing Coast Guard mission requirements, according to 
officials. 

Status: 
As of November 2009, CMS covered approximately 80 percent of active 
duty and reserve positions, and the Coast Guard was in the early 
stages of developing processes to identify and assign competencies to 
civilian and auxiliary positions. The system's Competency Dictionary 
currently contains close to 900 competencies. It is unclear at this 
time when CMS will fully reflect all military, reserve, and auxiliary 
competencies. 

[End of Competency Management System (CMS)] 

Manpower Requirements Determination (MRD): 

Issue: 
In general, the MRD system was developed to help make the Coast Guard 
staffing processes more objective. More specifically, according to the 
MRD business model, Coast Guard officials currently measure human 
capital in ways that can vary based on factors such as programmatic or 
local needs. Having a common set of standards and analytical 
approaches may enable officials responsible for personnel allocation 
decisions to make more standardized human capital comparisons across 
units or programs. 

Purpose: 
According to the MRD business model, the MRD system is designed to 
help calculate the human capital needed to perform Coast Guard tasks 
or missions using verifiable, repeatable, and defendable analyses. 

The MRD analyses consider a range of variables including Coast Guard 
strategy, mission requirements, standards shaped by program mangers, 
and inputs from operational commanders. Analyses can be conducted on 
current, new, or changing mission requirements, such as the recent 
addition of the new Maritime Enforcement Specialist rating, or on more 
specific unit-or asset-based activities, such as operating a 
particular class of cutter. 

In addition to the number of personnel needed, analysis outputs can 
include data on personnel competencies, experience, training, and rank 
required to conduct the mission, as well as broader Coast Guard 
considerations like the appropriate mix of ranks needed for continuous 
growth. When summed across all units, the MRD business model notes, 
the total human capital requirements associated with a particular 
mission can be advocated by the program manager or unit in the Coast 
Guard's resource prioritization and allocation process. 

The MRD system is highlighted in the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2009 
Workforce Action Plan as an example of a tool being developed by the 
service to help identify workforce supply and demand gaps. 

Responsible Command: 
The Future Force Office within the Office of the Assistant Commandant 
for Human Resources and future Deputy Commandant for Mission Support 
is developing the MRD system. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* August 2006--Commandant Intent Action Order #8 (Human Resource 
Strategies to Support Coast Guard Maritime Strategy) noted the need 
for a more standardized, objective set of human capital requirements; 
* October 2006--MRD Enterprise Project Chartered. 
End: 
* September 2010--Expected completion of policy and program 
development; 
* September 2012--Expected completion of automated information system 
to support the MRD (including access through CGBI), followed by 
continued development. 

Status: 
According to an agency document, 16 MRD analyses were completed 
throughout the Coast Guard as of December 2009, an additional 7 were 
ongoing, and 2 were planned. These types of analyses can be conducted 
at the request of a sponsoring program, operational commander, or 
Coast Guard planning element to support specific resource requests in 
the Coast Guard's annual budget process. The analyses are currently 
not required and represent almost none of the total number of human 
capital resource proposals evaluated, according to one official 
involved with the development of the MRD system. This official stated, 
however, the Future Force Office hopes to eventually conduct an MRD 
analysis of every unit type, every 5 years. 

[End of Manpower Requirements Determination (MRD)] 

Sector Staffing Model (SSM): 

Issue: 
As noted in the 2007 charter that established SSM's guidance team and 
working group, when sectors were created between 2004 and 2006, there 
was no standard model to help determine staffing levels--personnel 
allocations were developed using methodologies that differed by 
program or unit. Having a transparent and repeatable methodology to 
determine the minimum number of personnel needed to staff a sector 
should assist Coast Guard management in allocating personnel resources 
across all sectors and help project future personnel needs. 

Purpose: 
According to Coast Guard documents, SSM is designed to assist 
officials with resource allocation decisions by creating baseline 
staffing data that are comparable across the Coast Guard's 35 diverse 
sectors. 

Officials hope that SSM will address these inconsistencies by applying 
a transparent, repeatable, and scalable methodology to the staffing 
process. Specifically, officials intend to use the model to: 
* quantify staffing shortfalls to justify human capital requests in 
the Coast Guard's regular resource prioritization and allocation 
process; 
* provide a transparent basis to reallocate resources; 
* enable senior leadership and program managers to understand resource 
implications of proposed policy changes and requirements, and; 
* help forecast future staffing needs based on projected activity and 
mission growth. 

SSM, according to an official involved with its development, will 
quantify staffing needs for specific sector activities, such as 
"container inspections," based upon a number of variables, including: 
* Coast Guard mission requirements; 
* individual sector activity levels; 
* "average" time to complete activities, and; 
* other sector-specific data (e.g., local travel factors). 

In addition to defining the quantity of human capital needed to 
complete an activity in a particular location, the model is planned to 
break out a recommended mix of officer, enlisted, and civilian 
personnel along with their rates, ranks, and grades. Another component 
of the model, a "command cadre tool," is expected to recommend 
appropriate ranks for sector leadership based on responsibility and 
span of control measures. 

A key official noted that base-level staffing data generated by the 
model assume positions will be staffed with fully qualified personnel 
and that data on the length of time needed to complete training 
requirements have not been collected; specific training factors were, 
however, under development as of spring 2009. 

Responsible Command: 
The Office of Shore Forces within the Assistant Commandant for 
Capabilities and the Deputy Commandant for Operations is leading the 
development of SSM. According to one official, Shore Forces intends to 
maintain the model until at least 3-years of activity data are 
incorporated and other refinements to the model are complete. The same 
official further commented that the Manpower Requirements 
Determination workgroup in the Future Force Office will recommend 
which Coast Guard directorate should take ownership of all service 
staffing issues, including SSM. Currently, the official said, the 
Office of Budgets & Programs is responsible for the Coast Guard 
staffing requirements and the official service staffing manual. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* 2007--Sector Staffing Senior Guidance Team and Working Group 
chartered. 
End: 
* December 2010--Expected SSM access through CGBI. 

Status: 
SSM was accredited by senior Coast Guard leadership in July 2009 and 
is now available for use by select units to support resource requests 
and unit-level reprogramming. 

According to one Shore Forces official, further refinement is required 
before the SSM is implemented on a large scale in 2010. This 
refinement includes additional testing to reduce data anomalies and 
faulty assumptions, as well as the development and integration of a 
Sector competency framework. A charter to begin development of the 
refined model, Phase III, was issued July 2009. 

[End of Sector Staffing Model (SSM)] 

Coast Guard Business Intelligence (CGBI): 

Issue: 
The Coast Guard employs numerous data systems that exhibit varying 
degrees of data quality, reliability, and integration. The Coast Guard 
recognizes the need for accurate data from a variety of sources to use 
in its analysis of personnel management decisions. 

Purpose: 
According to Coast Guard documents and officials, the CGBI system is 
designed to support decision making across all levels of the Coast 
Guard by leveraging existing Coast Guard data, measures, and 
processes. Specifically, the tool accesses raw data from the Coast 
Guard's numerous "transactional" systems, (i.e., individual databases 
like Direct Access or Marine Information for Safety and Law 
Enforcement that serve a range of functions). The general premise of 
the tool, according to one official, is to collect data once through 
the appropriate transactional systems in order to have the ability to 
use the information multiple times in a variety of configurations. 
Along with providing decision makers a means to view Coast Guard data, 
officials told us that CGBI also promotes information transparency, 
which has resulted in more self-correcting of inaccurate data, and 
greater information sharing, which among other things, helps prevent 
duplication of efforts. 

Responsible Command: 
The Office of Performance Management and Decision Support under the 
Office of the Vice Commandant, maintains CGBI. This office is 
currently transitioning to the new Office of Performance Management 
within the Coast Guard Enterprise Strategy, Management and Doctrine 
Oversight Directorate, also under the Office of the Vice Commandant. 

Time frames: 
Start: 
* 2006--CGBI Phase I launched. 
End: 
* Officials indicated that the system will continue to evolve to meet 
organizational needs. The next major system upgrade, which involves 
predictive analytics capabilities, is expected to be implemented by 
2011. 

Status: 
CGBI Phase II was launched in April 2009. This version, according to 
agency documentation, is capable of more powerful searches and has 
more features than the initial system launched in 2006. 

Several other tools related to personnel issues, including the 
Competency Management System, the Manpower Requirements Determination 
system, the Officer Specialty Management System, and the Sector 
Staffing Model, are currently or are planned to be accessed through 
CGBI. 

The CGBI system has been implemented, but its refinement continues. 
For example, an official noted that the next major system enhancement 
is focused on capabilities that will help the Coast Guard use existing 
data in models or simulations to help predict future outcomes. In 
addition, the Office of Performance Management staff that support the 
CGBI system will continue to focus on measuring data quality for the 
foreseeable future, according to one official. 

[End of Coast Guard Business Intelligence (CGBI)] 

[End of Data-driven Tools] 

[End of Enclosure I] 

Enclosure II: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgements: 

GAO Contact: 

Stephen L. Caldwell, (202) 512-9610 or caldwells@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgements: 

In addition to the contact name above, Dawn Hoff, Assistant Director, 
and Lori Kmetz, Analyst-in-Charge, managed this assignment. David 
Lutter contributed to all aspects of the work. Neetha Rao and Brian 
Schwartz provided analytical support to several aspects of this 
review. Greg Wilmoth assisted with design and methodology. Geoffrey 
Hamilton provided legal support. Katherine Davis assisted in report 
development. 

GAO Related Products: 

Coast Guard: As Deepwater Systems Integrator, Coast Guard Is 
Reassessing Costs and Capabilities but Lags in Applying Its 
Disciplined Acquisition Approach. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-682]. Washington, D.C.: July 14, 
2009. 

Coast Guard: Observations on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget and Related 
Performance and Management Challenges. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-810T]. Washington, D.C.: July 7, 
2009. 

Coast Guard: Observations on the Genesis and Progress of the Service's 
Modernization Program. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-530R]. Washington, D.C.: June 24, 
2009. 

Coast Guard: Update on Deepwater Program Management, Cost and 
Acquisition Workforce. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-620T]. Washington, D.C.: April 22, 
2009. 

Military Personnel: DOD's and the Coast Guard's Sexual Assault 
Prevention and Response Programs Face Implementation and Oversight 
Challenges. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-924]. 
Washington, D.C.: August 29, 2008. 

Coast Guard: Change in Course Improves Deepwater Management and 
Oversight, but Outcome Still Uncertain. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-745]. Washington, D.C.: June 24, 
2008. 

Coast Guard: Strategies for Mitigating the Loss of Patrol Boats Are 
Achieving Results in the Near Term, but They Come at a Cost and Longer 
Term Sustainability is Unknown. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-660]. Washington, D.C.: June 23, 
2008. 

Coast Guard: Status of Selected Aspects of the Coast Guard's Deepwater 
Program. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-270R. 
Washington, D.C.: March 11, 2008. 

Coast Guard: Observations on the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget, Recent 
Performance, and Related Challenges. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-494T]. Washington, D.C.: March 6, 
2008. 

Maritime Security: Coast Guard Inspections Identify and Correct 
Facility Deficiencies, but More Analysis Needed of Program's Staffing, 
Practices, and Data. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-12]. Washington, D.C.: February 14, 
2008. 

Military Personnel: The DOD and Coast Guard Academies Have Taken Steps 
to Address Incidents of Sexual Harassment and Assault, but Greater 
Federal Oversight Is Needed. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-296]. Washington, D.C.: January 17, 
2008. 

Maritime Security: The SAFE Port Act: Status and Implementation One 
Year Later. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-126T]. 
Washington, D.C.: October 30, 2007. 

Department of Homeland Security: Progress Report on Implementation of 
Mission and Management Functions. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-454]. Washington, D.C.: August 17, 
2007. 

Coast Guard: Challenges Affecting Deepwater Asset Deployment and 
Management Efforts to Address Them. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-874]. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 
2007. 

Coast Guard: Observations on the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget, Performance, 
Reorganization, and Related Challenges. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-489T]. Washington, D.C.: April 18, 
2007. 

Coast Guard: Status of Efforts to Improve Deepwater Program Management 
and Address Operational Challenges. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-575T]. Washington, D.C.: March 8, 
2007. 

Coast Guard: Observations on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery 
Missions Related to Hurricane Katrina. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-903]. Washington, D.C.: July 31, 
2006. 

Coast Guard: Observations on Agency Performance, Operations, and 
Future Challenges. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-448T]. Washington, D.C.: June 15, 
2006. 

[End of Enclosure II] 

Footnotes: 

[1] The Senate report (S. Rep. No. 110-396 at 80 (2008)) accompanying 
the Fiscal Year 2009 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations 
Act (Pub. L. No. 110-329, 122 Stat. 3574, 3652 (2008)) required the 
Commandant of the United States Coast Guard to develop a workforce 
action plan. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of 
Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2009, directed the Coast Guard 
to comply with the Senate report direction regarding a workforce 
action plan. H. Comm. on Appropriations, 110TH Cong., Committee Print 
on H.R. 2638/Public Law 110-329 at 646 (2008). 

[2] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Workforce Planning Guide, 
(July 31, 2007); and GAO, Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective 
Strategic Workforce Planning, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-39] (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 14, 
2003). 

[3] Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Pub. L. No. 
103-62, 107 Stat. 285 (1993). 

[4] We have a robust body of work related to the acquisition 
challenges of the Coast Guard spanning several years. For example, 
GAO, Coast Guard: As Deepwater Systems Integrator, Coast Guard Is 
Reassessing Costs and Capabilities but Lags in Applying Its 
Disciplined Acquisition Approach, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-682] (Washington, D.C.: July 14, 
2009) and Coast Guard: Change in Course Improves Deepwater Management 
and Oversight, but Outcome Still Uncertain, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-745] (Washington, D.C.: June 24, 
2008). 

[5] NAPA, U.S. Coast Guard Modernization Study (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 
2009). NAPA is an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by 
Congress to assist federal, state, and local governments in improving 
their effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. 

[6] The Coast Guard's homeland security and nonhomeland security- 
missions are delineated in section 888 of the Homeland Security Act of 
2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, 2249 (2002)). Starting with 
the fiscal year 2007 budget, however, the Office of Management and 
Budget designated the Coast Guard's drug interdiction and other law 
enforcement mission programs--which were originally homeland-security- 
missions--as nonhomeland-security-missions for budgetary purposes. 

[7] GAO, Coast Guard: Observations on the Genesis and Progress of the 
Service's Modernization Program, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-530R] (Washington, D.C.: June 24, 
2009). This report provides additional information about the status of 
the Coast Guard's modernization effort. 

[8] GAO, Coast Guard: Strategy Needed for Setting and Monitoring 
Levels of Effort for All Missions, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-155] (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 12, 
2002) and Coast Guard: Comprehensive Blueprint Needed to Balance and 
Monitor Resource Use and Measure Performance for All Missions, GAO-03-
544T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 12, 2003). 

[9] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-155] and 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-544T]. 

[10] GAO, Coast Guard: Relationship between Resource Used and Results 
Achieved Needs to be Clearer, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-432] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 22, 
2004). 

[11] GAO, Maritime Security: Coast Guard Inspections Identify and 
Correct Facility Deficiencies, but More Analysis Needed of Program's 
Staffing, Practices, and Data, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-12] (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 14, 
2008). 

[12] GAO, Maritime Security: Coast Guard International Port Security 
Program Has Made Progress, but Additional Workforce Planning Is 
Needed, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-335SU] 
(Washington, D.C.: Apr. 4, 2008). 

[13] U.S. Coast Guard, Report to Congress on Civilians in Personnel 
Management Structure (Washington, D.C., June 26, 1997). 

[14] GAO, Coast Guard Workforce Mix: Phased-In Conversion of Some 
Support Officer Positions Would Produce Savings, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/RCED-00-60] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 
2000). 

[15] National Transportation Safety Board, Marine Accident Report: 
Sinking of the Recreational Sailing Vessel Morning Dew at the Entrance 
to the Harbor of Charlestown, South Carolina, December 29, 1997 
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1999). 

[16] U.S. Department of Transportation, Audit of the Small Boat 
Station Search and Rescue Program, United States Coast Guard 
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 2001); U.S. Department of Transportation, 
U.S. Coast Guard Budget and Management Issues: Statement of the 
Honorable Kenneth M. Mead, Inspector General, U.S. Department of 
Transportation (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 2002); and U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Audit of the Use of Fiscal Year 2002 Funds to Improve 
the Operational Readiness of Small Boat Stations and Command Centers, 
United States Coast Guard (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 2003). 

[17] GAO, Coast Guard: Station Readiness Improving, but Resource 
Challenges and Management Concerns Remain, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-161] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 31, 
2005). 

[18] U.S. Coast Guard, Final Action on Administrative Investigation of 
the Coast Guard Response to the Sinking of the F/V Patriot that 
Occurred on 3 January 2009 (Washington, D.C.: June 11, 2009). 

[19] U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Posture Statement with 2009 
Budget in Brief (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 2008). 

[20] U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Marine Safety Analysis: An 
Independent Assessment and Suggestions for Improvement, (Washington, 
D.C.: Nov. 16, 2007). 

[21] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector 
General, United States Coast Guard's Management of the Marine Casualty 
Investigations Program (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2008). 

[22] GAO has a robust body of work related to the acquisition 
challenges of the Coast Guard spanning several years. For example, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-682] and [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-745]. 

[23] In this review, we focused on the marine safety mission and the 
Coast Guard's November 2008 Marine Safety Performance Plan because of 
the number of complaints lodged by maritime stakeholders nationwide, 
and the Coast Guard's recognition of the extent and serious nature of 
the problems within this mission area. In addition, enhancing aspects 
of the marine safety mission was identified as a "strategic priority" 
in both the 2008 and 2009 Coast Guard Posture Statements. 

[24] In response to the congressional direction provided in Senate 
Report 110-396, the Coast Guard produced a document, entitled U.S. 
Coast Guard Workforce Action Plan: Fiscal Year 2009 Report to Congress. 

[25] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Workforce Planning Guide 
(July 31, 2007). 

[26] GAO, Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government 
Performance and Results Act, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118] (Washington, D.C.: June 
1996). It is important to note that while GPRA focuses on the agency 
level, performance goals and measures are important management tools 
for all levels of an agency, such as the bureau, program, project, or 
activity level, and these criteria are applicable at those levels as 
well. 

[27] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118]. 

[28] Unlike officer specialties, the Coast Guard's enlisted ratings 
already provide specific requirements for each rating. 

[29] "Competency" in the Coast Guard generally refers to attributes 
such as knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes that a 
person exercises while performing the business of any given position. 

[30] A Coast Guard cutter is a vessel 65 feet in length or greater, 
having adequate accommodations for crew to live onboard. The Juniper 
Class cutter is 225 feet in length and the first vessel of this class 
was commissioned in 1996 as the lead ship in the Coast Guard's Buoy 
Tender Replacement Project. 

[31] Sectors are operational units that carry out the full range of 
Coast Guard missions. There are currently 35 geographically-based 
Coast Guard sectors in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, 
Puerto Rico, and Guam. 

[32] The MRD office anticipates filling these three positions by the 
summer of 2010. There are an additional three analysts that conduct 
manpower requirement determinations for acquisition-related reviews. 

[33] In January of 2010, the new maritime enforcement specialist 
rating will take effect; in the future the personnel in this position 
will execute the duties of port security specialists. The maritime 
enforcement "A" school will be located in the Coast Guard Maritime Law 
Enforcement Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in 
Charleston, South Carolina, and the first class will graduate in 
spring 2010. 

[34] GAO, Coast Guard: Observations on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget and 
Related Performance and Management Challenges, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-810T] (Washington, D.C.: July 7, 
2009). 

[35] Direct Access is a computer-based human resource system. It 
provides Coast Guard assignment processing; posts official positions; 
schedules training; and processes retirements, promotions, and 
disciplinary actions. Direct Access also maintains all personnel 
attributes and military payroll. MISLE began operating in December 
2001 as the Coast Guard's primary data system for documenting marine 
safety and environmental protection activities. Storage of data on 
facility oversight and other Coast Guard activities, such as vessel 
boardings and incident response, have since been added. The purpose of 
MISLE is to provide the capability to collect, maintain, and retrieve 
information necessary for the administration, management, and 
documentation of Coast Guard activities. 

[36] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-12]. 

[37] GAO, Coast Guard: Update on Marine Safety Information for Safety 
and Law Enforcement System, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-02-11] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 17, 
2001) and [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-12]. 

[38] GAO, Results-Oriented Cultures: Implementation Steps to Assist 
Mergers and Organizational Transformations, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-669] (Washington, D.C.: July 2, 
2003). 

[39] NAPA, U.S. Coast Guard Modernization Study (Washington, D.C.: 
Apr. 2009). NAPA is an independent, nonprofit organization chartered 
by Congress to assist federal, state, and local governments in 
improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. 

[40] The Coast Guard is in the process of transitioning from a 
bicoastal operational command structure, consisting of the Atlantic 
Area Command and Pacific Area Command, to one where all operations are
centralized under one command (Operations Command). According to the 
Coast Guard, when modernization is complete, both Atlantic and Pacific 
Commands will cease to exist. 

[41] Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures are codified, specific, and 
measurable actions and methods that implement doctrine or policy. TTP 
captures the content of the information, including the “what,” “when,”
“how,” “where,” “who,” and “why.” 

[42] GAO, Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government 
Performance and Results [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118] (Washington, D.C.: June 
1996). It is important to note that while GP agency level, performance 
goals and measures are important management tools for all levels of an 
agency, such as the bureau, program, project, or activity levels, and 
these criteria are applicable at those levels as well. 

[43] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/GGD-96-118]. 

[44] C4IT refers to Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and 
Information Technology. 

[45] Commandant Intent Action Order #8, Human Resource Strategies to 
Support Coast Guard Maritime Strategy. 

[End of section] 

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