U.S. Coast Guard appeals for solutions to ‘patchwork’ legacy IT
Mon 18 Apr 2016
The Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology (C4IT) of the United States Coast Guard is ‘overwhelmed’ by the logistics of running critical operations on ‘patchwork’ IT infrastructure, and is appealing to vendors for workable solutions.
C4IT has issued a new request for information (.docx) which briefly outlines the development and management issues which led to the situation, and invites vendors to attend an information session on April 26th to provide additional background information.
‘C4ITSC is overwhelmed by the challenges associated with operating and maintaining an IT infrastructure that evolved over time in a patchwork fashion while attempting to design, engineer, and deploy future infrastructure and systems that support the rapidly growing demand for secure information availability anytime, anywhere, and anyplace.’
The department is resolved towards an ‘ambitious transformation effort’, which will treat the network as a strategic asset in itself. The request admits that declining budgets and manpower are a challenge in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber-incursions.
The request does not reflect the optimism expressed by USCG Admiral Paul F. Zukunft in a statement on the Coast Guard budget in February of this year, which ended on a more upbeat note: ‘A fully equipped, flexible and forward looking Coast Guard can meet any operational demand. Today and into the future we will keep the Nation’s waterways secure and its maritime gateways connected to the world. We will remain Semper Paratus – Always Ready.’
In the recent Omnibus budget the Coast Guard was awarded an additional $928 million than it had requested in its 2016 budget request for the president’s fiscal year, an unexpected fillip for a department which has maintained a general mien of being perpetually under-funded.
A senior defence advisor for D.C.-based advocacy group the Shipbuilders’ Council of America expressed approbation at the increased funding, describing the increased funding as ‘dramatic’. However the allocated budget is dedicated to hardware – a ninth national security cutter. The campaign for a fleet increase prior to the funding round was quite intense in 2015.