Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Customs Is Making Good Progress

T-AIMD-99-225: Published: Jun 29, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Customs Service's progress in addressing the year 2000 computing problem.

GAO noted that: (1) addressing the year 2000 problem in time is critical for the Customs Service because it relies extensively on information technology (IT) to help enforce trade laws and collect and account for duties, taxes, and fees on imports; (2) Customs has five mission-critical systems: (a) the Automated Commercial System; (b) Customs' Treasury Enforcement Communications System; (c) the Seized Asset and Case Tracking System; (d) Customs' Automated Export System; and (e) ADMIN, which is Customs' primary administrative system supporting financial and human resource functions; (3) Customs must assess and remediate a wide range of telecommunications equipment and non-information technology assets installed in over 900 facilities; (4) Customs reported that it had met milestones recommended by the Office of Management and Budget for renovating and validating most of its mission-critical systems; (5) it reported that it had completed renovation, validation, and systems acceptance testing of all five of its mission-critical systems; (6) Customs has also reported that it has renovated most of its telecommunications equipment; (7) Customs reported that it has assessed all of its mission-critical non-IT products and that about 73 percent are compliant, about 15 percent require renovation or replacement, and about 11 percent are to be retired; (8) to help ensure that the information it reports on year 2000 progress is reliable, Customs has implemented sound reporting controls; (9) Customs' program management structures and processes are entirely consistent with GAO guidance, and Customs' good progress to date is largely attributable to this program management capability; (10) to ensure that plans, policies, and guidelines are being implemented, the Year 2000 Program manager is: (a) holding weekly status meetings with the Year 2000 Program Office staff and the project teams; (b) tracking, prioritizing, and managing the risks associated with the IT and non-IT system conversion efforts; (c) overseeing and managing budget-related issues; and (d) conducting internal audit reviews to monitor and assess the implementation of established year 2000 procedures; (11) structured and disciplined processes have also been implemented for the testing phase of Customs' year 2000 effort; and (12) Customs has implemented sound management processes for developing business continuity and contingency plans that help Customs to mitigate the risks associated with unexpected internal and uncontrollable external failures.

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