Deepwater in trouble, watchdog says — Washington Technology

The Coast Guard made a final acceptance of its first National Security Cutter this month without completing tests for key communications equipment on the boat, according to an investigation by a watchdog group .

The Coast Guard welcomed the $700 million cutter, named Bertholf, into its fleet on May 8 after many months of testing and operation. It is the largest asset produced thus far by the agency’s $24 billion Deepwater acquisition program.

However, key equipment needed for communications, referred to as Tempest capabilities, has not yet been installed on the Bertholf. The final testing will not be complete until those tests are performed in March 2010, Mandy Smithberger, national security investigator for the Project on Government Oversight watchdog group, wrote on her blog on May 21.