Key US-VISIT Components at Varying Stages of Completion, but Integrated and Reliable Schedule Needed
GAO-10-13, Nov 19, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program stores and processes biometric and biographic information to, among other things, control and monitor the entry and exit of foreign visitors. Currently, an entry capability is operating at almost 300 U.S. ports of entry, but an exit capability is not. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has previously reported on limitations in DHS's efforts to plan and execute its efforts to deliver US-VISIT exit, and made recommendations to improve these areas. GAO was asked to determine (1) the status of DHS's efforts to deliver a comprehensive exit solution and (2) to what extent DHS is applying an integrated approach to managing its comprehensive exit solution. To accomplish this, GAO assessed US-VISIT exit project plans, schedules, and other management documentation against relevant criteria, and it observed exit pilots.
DHS has established a Comprehensive Exit project within its US-VISIT program that consists of six components that are at varying stages of completion. To DHS's credit, the US-VISIT program office has established integrated project management plans for, and has adopted an integrated approach to, interacting with and involving stakeholders in its Comprehensive Exit project. However, it has not adopted an integrated approach to scheduling, executing, and tracking the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a comprehensive exit solution. Rather, it is relying on several separate and distinct schedules to manage individual components and the US-VISIT prime contractor's work that supports these components. Moreover, neither of the two component schedules that GAO reviewed are reliable because they have not been derived in accordance with relevant guidance. Specifically, both the Air Exit Pilots schedule and the Temporary Worker Visa Exit Pilot schedule only fully meet one of nine key schedule estimating practices, and either partially, minimally, or do not meet the remaining eight. In contrast, the prime contractor's schedule is largely reliable, as it fully or substantially meets all nine practices. Without a master schedule for the Comprehensive Exit project that is integrated and derived in accordance with relevant guidance, DHS cannot reliably commit to when and how the work will be accomplished to deliver a comprehensive exit solution to its almost 300 ports of entry, and it cannot adequately monitor and manage its progress toward this end.
- Review Pending
- Closed - implemented
- Closed - not implemented
Recommendation for Executive Action
Recommendation: To better ensure the successful delivery of a comprehensive US-VISIT exit solution, GAO augments its prior recommendations aimed at strengthening Comprehensive Exit project planning. The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for National Protection and Programs to have the US-VISIT Program Director develop and maintain an integrated master schedule for the Comprehensive Exit project in accordance with the nine practices discussed in this report.
Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security
Comments: In March 2012, the US-VISIT Deputy Director confirmed that that the US-VISIT Schedule Management Integrated Process Team is adopting procedures to comply with the nine practices recommended by GAO in the report and has conducted training on GAO's scheduling methodology. Further, once DHS decides on its exit solution, the department plans to implement these procedures when updating its schedule for Comprehensive Exit. However, as of February 2012, DHS has not yet developed or announced a schedule for Comprehensive Exit.