By Chief Petty Officer Sarah Foster-Snell
Assuming duties as the Deputy Program Executive Officer for Integrated Deepwater System last fall, Mike Tangora fit into his responsibilities like a well-worn glove. After all, he brings almost 26 years of naval shipbuilding experience, program management, software acquisition, aircraft/surface integration and combat systems to the table.
A Level III Acquisition and Program Management Professional, he came to the Coast Guard from the Navy where he served as the Deputy Program Manager for the Aircraft Carriers Program. Prior to that, Mr. Tangora served as the Deputy Assistant Program Manager for Aircraft Carrier Modernization and was responsible for the development and implementation of the Smart Carrier Program. Under his leadership, the Smart Carrier program was the recipient of a Defense Acquisition Executive Certificate of Achievement in January 2005.
With a focus on emphasizing excellent customer service, developing efficient processes and exceeding expectations, Tangora’s key mantra is to “underpromise and overdeliver.”
“Also, I’m big on the meat and potatoes of acquisition, which are, to find the requirements, match your resources to your requirements, map progress, hold the contractor accountable and then deliver your products,” Tangora explains.
Looking back, Tangora recalls events in his childhood that led him to where he is now: a fascination and awe for watching ships and cutters transiting the Great Lakes from Six Mile, Mich. Prior to attending Michigan Technological University where he graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he held various jobs in construction and automotive industry which helped fund his college education.
His career spans both coasts, starting off at the Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, Calif., as part of the design division in 1981. There, Tangora was instrumental in the structural design work for the reactivation of the battleship USS New Jersey. Other notable career highlights include managing the construction and in-service support of both the FFG37 and FFG7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigate program in San Pedro, Calif.
In 1989, Mr. Tangora served as the Assistant Program Manager for Mine Warfare Ship Programs overseeing construction, fleet introduction and management of Avenger-Class Mine Countermeasure Ships (MCM-1). Working in Washington, D.C., he was then assigned as the Assistant Program Manager and Technical Director for Surface Mine Warfare Systems Programs in 2000, responsible for the Navy’s total mine inventory as well as mine warfare sonar and autonomous vehicles.
Now, Tangora is excited about the challenge of working for Deepwater, the largest acquisition program in the history of the Coast Guard. Just like the Navy, he sees integration issues affecting the Deepwater Program as part of growing pains.
“But I find that part of the business new, exciting and challenging,” Tangora muses. “And I’m looking forward to it.”
In the end, Tangora’s earnest hope for Deepwater’s impact on the fleet is really simple — he wants Coast Guard operators to be able to take Deepwater’s performance for granted.
Tangora illustrates this line of reasoning by portraying Deepwater as “just the guy driving the rental car up to the window, swapping out with the customer and letting them drive away.”
“We ought to just assume that level of service,” says Tangora, “that ships, aircraft and C4ISR are going to be delivered per operators’ specifications, at the cost the Coast Guard agreed to, and on time.”