Homeland Security:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology Fiscal Year 2011 Expenditure Plan

GAO-12-106R: Published: Nov 17, 2011. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2011.

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This letter is the formal response to a mandate in the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011. This mandate required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to (1) update its Fiscal Year 2010 expenditure plan on border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology (BSFIT) for fiscal year 2011 budget authority and (2) submit the updated plan to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The plan is to address 10 legislative conditions in the fiscal year 2010 DHS appropriations act and be reviewed by GAO. DHS submitted an updated plan to Congress on September 8, 2011. As required by the act, we reviewed the plan.

The expenditure plan satisfied some but not all of the legislative conditions. Specifically, of the 10 legislative conditions, the expenditure plan satisfied 3, partially satisfied 5, and did not satisfy 2. Based on our reviews of BSFIT expenditure plans over 5 consecutive years, DHS has consistently not included all required elements in the plans leading to partially satisfied or not satisfied legislative conditions each year. Providing an explanation of which elements of the legislative conditions were not included in the expenditure plan and why the elements were not included would help DHS to provide Congress with a more complete picture of the status of the BSFIT-funded programs. Similarly, including an explanation in the certification memorandum of why all legislatively-required elements of the condition were or were not certified, along with references to supporting documentation, would provide Congress with more clarity on how and why the BSFIT programs were or were not certified. Based on the results of our review, we are recommending that the Secretary of Homeland Security enhance the expenditure plan by ensuring that explanations are included for all required legislative conditions that are not fully addressed. Further, we are recommending that the Secretary enhance the plan by ensuring that the required certification memoranda include descriptions of the review processes used for the certifications along with references to the documentation used to make certifications for each relevant BSFIT-funded program.

Status Legend:

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  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the best information possible on the status and proposed expenditures of the programs described in any future BSFIT expenditure plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security should enhance the expenditure plan by ensuring that explanations are included for all required legislative conditions that are not fully addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided the Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology (BSFIT) Fiscal Year 2012 Expenditure Plan to GAO on June 25, 2012. The Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (Public Law 112-74) required DHS to submit a detailed plan for expenditures to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by March 22, 2012, before it could obligate $60 million of the $400 million appropriated for BSFIT. As there were no further legislative conditions pertaining to the content of the expenditure plan, we are closing this recommendation as implemented.

    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the best information possible on the status and proposed expenditures of the programs described in any future BSFIT expenditure plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security should enhance the expenditure plan by ensuring that required certification memoranda include descriptions of the review processes used for the certifications along with references to supporting documentation for each relevant BSFIT-funded program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (Public Law 112-74) does not require the Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology (BSFIT) Fiscal Year 2012 Expenditure Plan to include certification memoranda. As such, we are closing this recommendation as implemented.

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