Bertholf’s final acceptance is part of the Coast Guard’s deliberative acquisition process and represents the moment when the Coast Guard acknowledges that the cutter is ready to transition from an acquisition project to the operations and sustainment phases of the cutter’s service life. The transition also means that funding for maintenance of Bertholf now comes through the Coast Guard’s Engineering and Logistics Directorate rather than through the Acquisition Directorate.
“Final acceptance of Bertholf marks a new chapter for the National Security Cutter project and a new era for the Coast Guard,” said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, assistant commandant for Acquisition. “Today, the first NSC transitioned to operations and sustainment, a major milestone on its path to becoming a fully capable, multi-mission surface asset in the Coast Guard’s inventory.”
Since preliminary acceptance of the Bertholf May 8, 2008, the Coast Guard has continued to work closely with the two, first-tier contractors, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and Lockheed Martin, other contractors and the U.S. Navy to ensure Bertholf will meet all requirements, including certification to federal government information security standards and TEMPEST electronic emissions standards, Combat System Ship Qualification Testing, flight deck certification and aircraft dynamic interface trials.
Bertholf will continue following the scheduled post-delivery plan as it enters full Coast Guard operation, including mission systems and weapons testing; follow-on manpower and training analysis; and installation of increased communications and sensor capabilities new to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard’s decision to accept Bertholf complies with the Department of Homeland Security’s acquisition authority and is reinforced by the recommendations of a Coast Guard executive board that includes senior leaders of the acquisition directorate, the capability directorate and the technical authorities, which includes the directorates of engineering and logistics, command and control and human resources.
Bertholf represents a significant advancement for the Coast Guard’s surface fleet. With state-of-the-market technologies and capabilities demanded by operational forces to meet the full spectrum of 21st century maritime homeland security, maritime safety, law enforcement and maritime national defense mission requirements. The Coast Guard is extremely grateful for the partnership and support provided by the U.S. Navy and third-party entities, specifically the Naval Sea Systems Command , to help ensure Bertholf met technical and operational requirements.
The 418-foot Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf leads the eight-ship Legend class. Designed to be the flagships of the U.S. Coast Guard’s modern fleet, the National Security Cutters are capable of executing the most challenging Coast Guard missions. Bertholf was christened on Veterans Day, 2006, and is named after Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the first commandant of today’s Coast Guard. Bertholf’s sister ships, the Waesche and the Stratton, are under construction in Pascagoula, Miss. Long lead time materials for the fourth National Security Cutter, the Hamilton, have been ordered.