On October 17, 2008, the Coast Guard completed a revision to its Major Systems Acquisition Manual (MSAM) to enhance mission execution through effective and efficient acquisition activities. The revised MSAM provides clearer guidance to Project Managers, incorporates lessons learned and best practices for major systems acquisition and continues the Coast Guard’s progress in strengthening its acquisition framework. It also aligns acquisition policy and procedure with organizational changes that have taken place within the Coast Guard, such as the renewed reliance on Coast Guard Technical Authorities.
Through this revision, the MSAM better compliments ongoing Coast Guard reform efforts aimed at proper acquisition management and oversight. It includes best practices as laid out in the Coast Guard’s Blueprint for Acquisition Reform and ensures that assets and systems are acquired using disciplined project management structure and methodology. New MSAM guidance will improve the abilities of Project Managers and their staffs to plan, coordinate, and execute major systems acquisition projects.
The revised MSAM also addresses a legislative requirement included in P.L. 110-329, the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2009. That appropriations act mandated that “no funding may be obligated for low rate initial production or initial production of any Integrated Deepwater Systems program asset until the Coast Guard revises its Major Systems Acquisition Manual procedures to require a formal design review prior to the authorization of low rate initial production or initial production.” To meet that provision, the MSAM now incorporates systems engineering best practices, including the requirement for project managers to document completion of the preliminary design review, critical design review, and test readiness review showing concurrence from the technical authorities – which is also an action item from the Blueprint for Acquisition Reform.
This MSAM revision includes the following additions/changes:
Future revisions to the MSAM will occur as necessary to incorporate best practices and lessons learned and to ensure alignment with Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security acquisitions struct