Chapter 4. Projects

All at sea

Fourteen years after legislation required the Coast Guard to develop a vessel identification system, no such system exists, and future plans for developing the system are uncertain. The Coast Guard's early efforts to acquire VIS were unsuccessful. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, the Coast Guard undertook numerous activities to define requirements for such a system. In 1995, the agency contracted to develop the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) system, of which VIS was a subcomponent. The Coast Guard accepted the contractor developed VIS in 1998 despite system performance problems, intending to resolve these problems as the system evolved. However, the Coast Guard later found that there was no viable way to correct these and other problems, and that the cost to populate the system with states' data would be high. In retrospect, Coast Guard officials noted two factors that complicated VIS implementation: (1) not all vessels had unique identification numbers and (2) the system depended on the voluntary participation of the states, and many states were unwilling or unable to commit the funds needed to participate. Consequently, even though the Coast Guard spent about $9 million in identified costs to plan and develop VIS, it was never implemented. (GAO, 2002)

Down the drain

Sydney Water's customer information and billing system (CIBS) project was intended to improve service to customers, to fill gaps in existing information systems ...

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