The Capability Development Support (CDS) Group's Office of Test and Evaluation (OTE) oversees test and evaluation for DHS major acquisitions, ensuring homeland security technologies are reliable, interoperable and effective. CDS provides test and evaluation (T&E) oversight for 135 major acquisition programs housed by the DHS components (a $150 billion acquisition enterprise).
OTE develops DHS-wide T&E policies and procedures, acts as the principal advisor on OTE to the Office of the Secretary and the component heads, and manages a T&E Center of Excellence to support DHS. As an independent T&E organization within DHS, the objective is to help every program plan and execute robust T&E throughout the acquisition lifecycle, bringing credible assessments to all acquisition decisions.
One of the most recent test and evaluation projects completed was with the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) on the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter. The Fast Response Cutter is a new USCG patrol boat capable of deploying independently to conduct missions including port, waterways and coastal security, fishery patrols, search and rescue, and national defense. Named after USCG enlisted heroes, the Fast Response Cutters are replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats.
The USCG Fast Response Cutter successfully completed a four-year T&E effort to ensure it met USCG operational needs and performed as desired under operational conditions. Working in concert with the USCG and the U.S. Navy Test and Evaluation Command, OTE developed an innovative test strategy that used robust modeling and simulation and at sea testing to facilitate corrections to the ship design that enhanced the service life of the vessel and reduced long term life cycle costs. The Fast Response Cutter acquisition was a model T&E effort for DHS. The information gained from T&E aids DHS acquisition authorities in making informed acquisition decisions in the future.
Named After Heroes: USCG Fast Response Cutters
The eighth Fast Response Cutter was commissioned March 8, 2014. Charles Sexton, the eighth vessel in the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter recapitalization project, is named after Machinery Technician First Class Charles Sexton, who gave his life during a rescue operation conducted off the coast of Washington near the Columbia River bar, an area of large standing waves and often treacherous conditions. On January 11, 1991, Sexton was a crew member aboard a motor lifeboat dispatched to assist the 75-foot fishing vessel Sea King, which was quickly taking on water. Sexton boarded the Sea King and began assisting its four crew members, stabilizing an injured crew member and working for six hours to remove water from the vessel. First, he helped stabilize a crew member who was injured after falling on the deck. Next, using several de-watering pumps, he began removing water from the vessel. While being towed to safety, the vessel capsized without warning. Sexton and two of the fisherman were trapped in the interior spaces of the vessel and could not be rescued. Sexton was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal for extraordinary heroism.
On March 28, 2014, the USCG accepted delivery of the ninth Fast Response Cutter, Kathleen Moore, which was commissioned into service May 10, 2014, in honor of the keeper of Black Rock Harbor Light, Kathleen “Kate” Moore. Moore first stood the watch at the age of 12 alongside her father. As she grew older and her father’s health worsened, she took on keeper duties, although she was not officially appointed as head keeper until 1871. During her tenure as keeper, Moore was once asked by a reporter about the perils she encountered at Black Rock Harbor.
“You see, I had done all this for so many years, and I knew no other life, so I was sort of fitted for it,” Moore replied. Moore retired from service in 1878 at the age of 84 and is officially credited with saving 21 lives. As keeper, Moore devoted her life to those on the sea.