The U.S. Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) acquisition project is preparing to enter operational test and evaluation in July, a necessary step in preparation for the system’s scheduled approval in December to enter full rate production of the new transceiver system.
“NAIS increment 2, the permanent transceive capability we are fielding now, is just about to go into operational test and evaluation,” said Capt. Robert Bevins, NAIS project manager. “And then we will be on the verge of crossing a milestone, Acquisition Decision Event 3, in December, which will give us permission to go to full rate production of the permanent transceive capability.”
Since September 2007, increment 1 of the NAIS project – receive capability only – has been deployed to 58 ports nationwide. This first increment of the system allows the Coast Guard to receive signals out to 24 miles from shore. The next step, which will continue through 2014, is to deploy permanent transceivers at these 58 sites, extending the receive range to 50 miles, and adding the ability to transmit information out to 24 miles from shore.
In Fiscal Year 2013, the Coast Guard received $5.7 million for NAIS, which funded the acquisition of hardware in preparation for deployment for ports located within eight Coast Guard Sectors – Baltimore, Long Island Sound, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Miami, Key West, and Puget Sound. Deployment of the permanent transcieve capability is expected to continue through the end of this calendar year to these sectors.
NAIS data helps the Coast Guard and homeland security partners track vessels moving into and out of the vital U.S. ports. The data includes information regarding the ship’s cargo, navigation history and nation of registry and assists government agencies in identifying vessels of interest for further inspection or tracking.
The NAIS project was initiated in 2004; however, the project is being conducted with enterprise-wide acquisition procedures and processes codified under the Coast Guard’s Major Systems Acquisition Manual (MSAM) and most recently updated earlier this year.
The NAIS project has effectively managed the challenges of executing a complex major systems acquisition – with a decade-long timeline – amid continued acceleration in the evolution of computing and communication technologies.
Bevins said his project has taken the long view and is already helping the Coast Guard prepare for the ownership and sustainment of the new system. “When we make an acquisition of any sort, we are building for the future, for the long-term,” Bevins said. “Even for an IT system – something that doesn’t have the life-span of a cutter, for example – we still have a particular asset that is going to be around for a long time and that is going to go through a lot of changes within that time. We have to make sure that we have plans and resources in place to keep the equipment and software current.”For more information on NAIS, please visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nais/default.asp.