The March 6th addition of the Wall Street Journal featured a story on the Coast Guard's modernization program known as Deepwater. The program is rife with time delays, cost overruns, and faulty product.
There are two very interesting points to the story. The first is that this initiative was set up so that the defense contractors were given major over site authority on the project; probably under the auspices that who better and more efficiently manage the project that the experts.
When everything went South a majority of the blame fell on the contractors. It is not fair to blame only the contractors for their task was huge. Nor is it fair to be surprised that the project manager arraignment didn't work out. It is to be expected that when problems become critical organizations, and people, act in their own self interest. The message is that organizations need to position themselves to control (and knowledge is power) the projects they care about)
The better part of the story is how Adm. Thad Allen is fixing the problem.
According to Adm. Allen, "I'm better off if I can achieve the effect anyway possible other than open confrontation."
The Coast Guard is not interested in a witch hunt, they are interested in fixing the problem and they know that they need partnerships to do it. Does this mean that things are easy on the contractors?
Not according to Lockheed CEO Bob Stevens, "He [the Admiral] doesn't blame me, but he sure as hell holds me accountable."
If Adm. Thad Allen is given the time and has the inclination the Coastguard will be able to right the ship.