Since December 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has participated with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in several tests and evaluations of two National Security Cutters, USCGC Hamilton and USCGC James, to independently confirm that operational capability is delivered to the Coast Guard fleet.
“In a collaborative effort, S&T partnered with testers from the Coast Guard and the Navy to evaluate the cutters’ varied mission capabilities,” said Greg Simmons, S&T Office of Test and Evaluation Deputy Director for National Preparedness Programs. S&T is charged with providing test and evaluation information to support acquisition decisions of the DHS Chief Acquisition Officer.
Partnerships are always important to these test and evaluation activities. In this case, S&T worked with the U.S. Navy, Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Forces, which supplied subject matter experts and operational research analysts aboard each cutter to collect and record data required to assess the mission impacts of any discovered deficiencies. This deliberate process is key to determining if the cutter is operationally mission effective, suitable, and resilient in a cyber contested environment.
Events consisted of more than two weeks of at-sea testing with the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy fleets off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. The team evaluated a host of cutter systems to include the newly integrated command and control systems, two cutter boats (Over the Horizon IV and Long Range Interceptor II), 57-mm deck gun, and the Close-In Weapons System. S&T and Navy testers, with augmentation from Department of Energy Sandia National Laboratories, also conducted an in-depth cybersecurity assessment of the Cutter Hamilton.
NSC capabilities were on display over the past year as Cutters Hamilton and James supported critical relief efforts in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria in 2017, providing port security, search and rescue, and damage assessments.
S&T provided critical, unbiased assessment of mission capabilities, in collaboration with the USCG and the Department of Defense, in a great example of S&T’s commitment to ensure homeland security end users receive the equipment needed to carry out their missions. S&T’s efforts will have a positive, long-term impact on the future execution of USCG operations.