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    Subject Term: "Border control"

    22 publications with a total of 71 open recommendations including 7 priority recommendations
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should enforce the ISF rule requirement that carriers provide CSMs to CBP when targeters identify CSM noncompliance.

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

    Comments: CBP's Office of Field Operations is developing an enforcement strategy for container status messages (CSM) that it plans to complete by August 31, 2017. Once the strategy is completed, OFO plans to provide CSM enforcement guidance to the Advance Targeting Units. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should evaluate the ISF enforcement strategies used by ATUs to assess whether particular enforcement methods could be applied to ports with relatively low submission rates.

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

    Comments: CBP plans to discuss enforcement strategies during monthly conference calls held by the National Targeting Center-Cargo with all Advance Targeting Units (ATU) in order to identify the factors that are impacting ports with lower Importer Security Filing (ISF) compliance rates. In addition, CBP plans to leverage the strategies employed by ATUs overseeing ports with higher ISF compliance rates in order to increase the ISF submission rates at the ports with lower compliance rates. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should identify and collect additional performance information on the impact of the ISF rule data, such as the identification of shipments containing contraband, to better evaluate the effectiveness of the ISF program.

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

    Comments: CBP is developing a plan (by August 31, 2017) to assess additional performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the Importer Security Filing Program. After the plan has been developed, CBP will extract the performance data for analysis and, if needed, take actions to implement changes to the Program. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to assess and document how the alternative technological solutions being considered will fully meet operational needs related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to assess and document requirements related to ultralight aircraft threats and how technological solutions will address these requirements as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations air domain awareness efforts. DHS plans to complete these efforts by July 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to jointly establish and monitor performance measures and targets related to cross-border tunnels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review available information and develop performance measures and targets as deemed appropriate by February 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to establish and monitor performance targets related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred and stated that within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations and the U.S. Border Patrol are developing a joint performance measure and targets for interdicting ultralight aircraft. DHS plans to complete these efforts by October 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tunnel committee to convene and establish standard operating procedures for addressing cross-border tunnels, including procedures for sharing information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. However, CBP and ICE agreed that strengthening operational procedures may be beneficial and stated that they will jointly review procedures and discuss revising and/or consolidating the procedures. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Commissioner of CBP, and the Director of ICE to establish and monitor Regional Coordinating Mechanisms performance measures and targets related to panga boat and recreational vessel smuggling.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. DHS stated that that it believes that by establishing common terminology to address our first recommendation, the RECOMs will have more reliable, usable analyses to inform their maritime interdiction efforts. However, DHS did not believe that performance measures and targets related to smuggling by panga boats would provide the most useful strategic assessment of operations to prevent all illicit trafficking, regardless of area of operations or mode of transportation. DHS also cited the recent creation of the DHS Office of Policy, Strategy, and Plans that is to work with U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other components and offices to better evaluate the effectiveness of all operations that work to prevent the illegal entry of goods and people into the country, as appropriate. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of airport wait time data that CBP currently reports on its public website, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to report airport wait time data for different categories of travelers.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should develop and document procedures for Predator B coordination among supported agencies in all operating locations.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should update and maintain guidance for recording Predator B mission information in its data collection system.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should provide training to users of CBP's data collection system for Predator B missions.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should record air support forms for Predator B mission requests from non-CBP law enforcement agencies in its data collection system for Predator B missions.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should update Border Patrol's data collection practices to include a mechanism to distinguish and track asset assists associated with TARS from tactical aerostats.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure Border Patrol has the best available information to inform future investments in TI and resource allocation decisions among TI and other assets Border Patrol deploys in the furtherance of border security operations, and to ensure that key parties within Border Patrol's Requirements Management Process are aware of their roles and responsibilities within the process, the Chief of the Border Patrol should develop metrics to assess the contributions of pedestrian and vehicle fencing to border security along the southwest border using the data Border Patrol already collects and apply this information, as appropriate, when making investment and resource allocation decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DHS concurred agreed with the this recommendation and stated that it planned to develop and incorporate metrics into Border Patrol's Requirements Management Process.
    Recommendation: To ensure Border Patrol has the best available information to inform future investments in TI and resource allocation decisions among TI and other assets Border Patrol deploys in the furtherance of border security operations, and to ensure that key parties within Border Patrol's Requirements Management Process are aware of their roles and responsibilities within the process, the Chief of the Border Patrol should develop and implement written guidance to include roles and responsibilities for the steps within its requirements process for identifying, funding, and deploying tactical infrastructure assets for border security operations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DHS concurred with the recommendation and stated that it plans to update the Requirements Management Process and, as part of that update, plans to add communication and training methods and tools to better implement the Process. DHS plans to complete these efforts by September 2019.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that C-TPAT program managers are provided consistent data from the C-TPAT field offices on security validations, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should develop standardized guidance for the C-TPAT field offices to use in tracking and reporting information on the number of required and completed security validations.

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

    Comments: On April 28, 2017, CBP officials provided documentation--a common worksheet, instructions, and related standard operating procedures for C-TPAT field offices to use in tracking and reporting information to headquarters staff on security validations required and completed. We reviewed the information and interviewed C-TPAT officials in two field offices and C-TPAT's Plans and Operations Branch, which is responsible for overseeing these efforts, about the new procedures. In early August 2017, we asked for additional evidence that C-TPAT is ensuring one standard approach across its field offices for capturing and reporting security validations required and completed. The BBP liaison informed us that C-TPAT officials are to provide the additional evidence by the end of September 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the availability of complete and accurate data for managing the C-TPAT program and establishing and maintaining reliable indicators on the extent to which C-TPAT members receive benefits, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should determine the specific problems that have led to questionable data contained in the Dashboard and develop an action plan, with milestones and completion dates, for correcting the data so that the C-TPAT program can produce accurate and reliable data for measuring C-TPAT member benefits.

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

    Comments: On July 28, 2017, CBP provided us with documentation, to include: a schedule of completed and planned activities related to refining data reporting system requirements, testing of preliminary results from new data runs, developing a reporting system for tracking security examination rates, and a copy of the results of a preliminary data run identifying shipment examination rates by mode of transportation and C-TPAT member Tier level. CBP staff informed us that the steps being taken to address this recommendation are to continue through the end of the 2017. In the interim, we are reviewing the documents CBP provided to determine what, if any, additional information we may need to assess progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the effectiveness of CBP's predeparture programs, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should develop and implement a system of performance measures and baselines to evaluate the effectiveness of CBP's predeparture programs and assess whether the programs are achieving their stated goals.

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

    Comments: U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) reported that it established a working group comprised of designated program officials from CBP's Admissibility and Passenger Programs; National Targeting Center; Planning, Program Analysis, and Evaluation; and, Preclearance offices to develop and implement a system of performance measures and baselines to evaluate the effectiveness of CBP's predeparture programs. As of July 2017, CBP reported that the working group had developed three performance measures for its predeparture programs. According to OFO officials, fiscal year 2018 will be the first complete year that each of these measures is calculated using a standardized and repeatable methodology and will thus be used as a baseline year. The baselines developed during fiscal year 2018 will then be used in future assessments of program effectiveness. To fully address this recommendation to develop and implement performance measures and baselines for evaluating its predeparture programs, GAO will review documentation from CBP, when available, on the fiscal year 2018 baselines and CBP's planned evaluation of fiscal year 2019 data against those baselines.
    Director: Shea, Rebecca
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to examine the feasibility of including LMR technology in the category management initiative.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to, if warranted, include LMR technology within the appropriate spend category.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to document the processes and analyses for assessing and, as appropriate, for managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS's Fee Governance Council, led by the Deputy CFO plans to draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to documenting the processes and analyses for assessing and managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions. The Council is currently working to establish interim milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to establish processes for managing unobligated carryover balances, to include targets for minimum and maximum balances for programs that lack such processes and targets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fee Governance Council will draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to managing unobligated carryover balances. The Council is currently working to develop specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to conduct reviews to identify any management and operational deficiencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council plans to publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how components conduct studies of fee programs to identify any management or operational deficiencies. The Council is currently working to establish specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to take action to track and report on management and operational deficiencies--including reasons supporting any decisions to not pursue recommended actions--identified in fee reviews or through other means.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council will publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how regular biennial reviews are conducted at DHS and how any findings and recommendations on management and operational deficiencies identified in these fee studies are tracked and reported.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the monitoring of holding facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct Border Patrol and ICE to develop and implement a process to assess their time in custody data for all individuals in holding facilities, including: (1) identifying and addressing potential data quality issues; and (2) identifying cases where time in custody exceeded guidelines and assessing the factors impacting time in custody.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the transparency of the complaints process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and issue guidance on how and which complaint mechanisms should be communicated to individuals in custody at holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the tracking of holding facility complaints, the Secretary of Homeland Security should include a classification code in all complaint tracking systems related to DHS holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide useful information for compliance monitoring, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and implement a process for analyzing trends related to holding facility complaints across their respective component.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the annual official U.S. estimate of remittances, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the BEA Director to conduct additional analyses of BEA's estimates using estimation techniques appropriate for dealing with the shortcomings of the data. Analyses should also be conducted to understand the effect of various assumptions behind and limitations of the data on the estimates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency and quality of BEA's international remittances estimate, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the BEA Director to follow established BEA best practices, OMB policies, and NRC guidance for documenting BEA's methods and analyses used to revise its model for estimating remittances and for producing its annual estimates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should establish and document performance targets for the bureau's key counter-firearms trafficking activities in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Status: Open

    Comments: ATF concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to implement it. According to ATF officials, ATF has engaged in an overview of performance measures in Mexico and, when applicable, in Guatemala and Belize, and planned to implement a more structured annual system of performance targeting and evaluation for operations in these jurisdictions in fiscal year 2017. As of October 2017, we are continuing to follow up with ATF on its efforts to implement the new performance evaluation system.
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Secretary of State should work with other U.S. agencies and implementers to help ensure that quarterly progress reports identify key challenges and plans to address them.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with this recommendation and stated that it planned to work with other agencies to implement it. State officials noted that the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau's quarterly reporting template for interagency partners currently contains a segment entitled "Problems or Challenges and Corrective Action Plan/Risk Identification Mitigation" in which the interagency partner is expected to detail any problems or challenges in implementing any of the program components and activities. State officials stated they will continue to remind interagency partners of this requirement and assist with correct completion of the reporting templates.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to develop and implement TVPRA training for OFO officers at airports who have substantive contact with UAC.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Field Operations (OFO) within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, conducted a "Train-the-Trainer" conference in August 2015 that focused on juvenile and unaccompanied alien children (UAC). The conference, among other things, addressed screening requirements for UAC consistent with Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). CBP officers who received this additional training were then responsible for training other officers who process UAC at the ports of entry. According to CBP, while the conference was comprehensive, it did not fully encompass CBP's needs. In June 2016, CBP reported that OFO, Office of Chief Counsel, and a headquarters-level working group on UAC issues are finalizing a revised Form CBP-93 and with that are developing a detailed, relevant Train-the-Trainer course for officers responsible for TVPRA at all CBP ports of entry. In December 2016, CBP notified GAO that OFO, in coordination with CBP's Office of Training and Development, was concluding the design and embarking on the development phase of a distance learning course, tentatively entitled "Processing, Holding, and Transfer of Unaccompanied Alien Children by CBP." This course will be an annual requirement for all OFO officers. In April 2017, CBP reported that OFO was no longer pursuing a separate Train-the-Trainer course for CBP officers at air ports of entry. However, CBP continues to develop a new UAC training course. The new course is a collaborative effort between OFO and USBP, in consultation with CBP's Office of Chief Counsel, and in partnership with CBP's Office of Training and Development (OTD) to develop, deconflict, and revise training consistent with requirements under TVPRA, specifically outlining rules to identify and screen UAC, among other things. As of September 2017, CBP estimates that they will finalize the training module by June 2018. To fully address this recommendation, CBP needs to ensure that OFO officers at airports who have substantive contact with UAC complete this training.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to revise the Form 93 to include indicators or questions that agents and officers should ask UAC to better assess (1) a child's ability to make an independent decision to withdraw his or her application for admission to the United States and (2) credible evidence of the child's risk of being trafficked if returned to his or her country of nationality or last habitual residence.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, CBP officials stated that CBP formed a working group in headquarters with representatives from the department's Office of Policy and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to examine the screening process for UAC. In addition, CBP officials noted that CBP is in the process of convening a similar group in the field. According to CBP officials, the working group meets weekly and is coordinating with nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, among others. As of June 30, 2016, CBP reported that CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) and U.S. Border Patrol (BP) have finalized and routed the Form CBP-93 to the OFO Executive Assistant Commissioner and United States Border Patrol Chief for final approval. As of June 2017, the revised CBP Form 93 is still under review and CBP officials estimate that the review process will be completed by December 31, 2017. To fully address this recommendation, CBP should revise the Form 93 to include indicators or questions that CBP officers and Border Patrol agents should ask UAC relative to their ability to make an independent decision and regarding the potential risk of the UAC being trafficked if returned to their country of nationality or last habitual residence.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide guidance to Border Patrol agents and OFO officers that clarifies how they are to implement the TVPRA requirement to transfer to HHS all Mexican UAC who have fear of returning to Mexico owing to a credible fear of persecution.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of our report, DHS indicated that CBP's U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) would issue further guidance to agents and officers emphasizing TVPRA transfer procedures for UAC who are nationals or habitual residents of Canada or Mexico and who are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons. In September 2015, CBP reported that USBP and OFO estimated implementing this additional guidance by the end of calendar year 2015. In January 2016, CBP reported to GAO that, since June 2015, a headquarters level working group had been reviewing CBP's screening process for UAC. According to CBP officials, the activities of this working group will influence the guidance that will be deployed to Border Patrol agents and OFO officers and that USBP and OFO will be working together to develop additional guidance to the field by September 2016. In December 2016, CBP notified GAO that Border Patrol and OFO have partnered with CBP's Office of Training and Development, as well as the Office of Chief Counsel, to develop a distance learning course, tentatively entitled "Processing, Holding, and Transfer of Unaccompanied Alien Children by CBP." According to CBP, this course will be an annual requirement for all CBP agents and officers. As of September 2017, CBP estimates that they will finalize the training module by June 2018. To fully address this recommendation, CBP should ensure that this distance learning training module on how to implement the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) criteria is developed and implemented, as required by CBP policy, to all Border Patrol agents and OFO officers.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to develop and implement guidance on how Border Patrol agents and OFO officers are to implement the TVPRA requirement to transfer to HHS all Canadian and Mexican UAC who are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of our report, DHS indicated that CBP's U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) would issue further guidance to agents and officers emphasizing TVPRA transfer procedures for UAC who are nationals or habitual residents of Canada or Mexico and who are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons. In September 2015, CBP reported that USBP and OFO estimated implementing this additional guidance by the end of calendar year 2015. In January 2016, CBP reported to GAO that, since June 2015, a headquarters level working group has been reviewing CBP's screening process for UAC. According to CBP officials, the activities of this working group will influence the guidance that will be deployed to Border Patrol agents and OFO officers and that USBP and OFO will be working together to develop additional guidance to the field by September 2016. In December 2016, CBP notified GAO that Border Patrol and OFO have partnered with CBP's Office of Training and Development as well as the Office of Chief Counsel to develop a distance learning course, tentatively entitled "Processing, Holding, and Transfer of Unaccompanied Alien Children by CBP." According to CBP, this course will be an annual requirement for all CBP agents and officers. As of September 2017, CBP estimates that they will finalize the training module by June 2018. To fully address this recommendation, CBP should ensure that this distance learning training module on how to implement the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) criteria is developed and implemented, as required by CBP policy, to all Border Patrol agents and OFO officers.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that Border Patrol agents document the basis for their decisions when assessing screening criteria related to (1) an unaccompanied alien child's ability to make an independent decision to withdraw his or her application for admission to the United States, and (2) whether UAC are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2015, CBP officials reported that an internal working group charged with assessing UAC screening procedures was considering issues related to independent decision-making and appropriate documentation as it develops a revised screening tool. As of June 30, 2016, CBP reported that CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) and U.S. Border Patrol (BP) had finalized and routed a revised CBP Form 93 to the OFO Executive Assistant Commissioner and United States Border Patrol Chief for final approval. As of August 31, 2016, the revised CBP Form 93 was still under review and CBP officials estimated that the review process would be completed by December 31, 2016. In January 2017, CBP notified GAO that the expected completion date for the revised form is April 2017, and that direction to Border Patrol agents on the new form would be delivered by June 2017. In June 2017, CBP told GAO that Border Patrol and other CBP partners were continuing to determine which changes are necessary to the CBP Form 93 and estimated that these efforts would not be completed until December 31, 2017. As of September 2017, CBP reported that these efforts would not be completed until June 2018. To fully address this recommendation, CBP should ensure that Border Patrol agents document the basis for their decisions when assessing screening criteria related to (1) an unaccompanied alien child's ability to make an independent decision to withdraw his or her application for admission to the United States, and (2) whether UAC are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DHS complies with TVPRA requirements for training, screening, and transferring UAC to HHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine which agents and officers who have substantive contact with UAC, complete the annual UAC training, and ensure that they do so, as required.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 1, 2015, the Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations (OFO) disseminated a memorandum to all OFO Field Office Directors regarding the mandatory annual UAC training requirement. The Assistant Commissioner directed all Field Offices to ensure that officers completed the required training by December 31, 2015 (the memo also specified which officers are required to complete the training). On July 31, 2015, the Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol disseminated a memorandum to all Chief Patrol Agents and Directorate Chiefs for dissemination to all uniformed personnel, including supervisors, regarding the mandatory annual UAC training requirement. CBP documentation indicates that CBP implemented a new learning management system mandated by DHS on July 13, 2015, through which online training courses are offered to all CBP employees. Further, in 2016 DHS added a feature to this system that provided the capability to produce reports on courses completed by CBP employees. In April 2017, CBP provided 2016 data on the OFO officers and Border Patrol agents that had completed the required UAC training course. According to the data, 23 percent of OFO officers and 7 percent of Border Patrol agents required to complete the training had not done so. CBP officials stated that they plan to take steps to increase the percent of agents and officers who complete the required training in 2017 and will provide new data to GAO in early 2018. To fully address this recommendation, Border Patrol and OFO should ensure that all required personnel have completed the annual training, as required.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DHS has complete and reliable data needed to ensure compliance with the UAC time-in-custody requirement under TVPRA and for required reports on UAC time in custody under the Flores Agreement, the Secretary of Homeland Security should require ICE officers to record accurate and reliable data in their automated system when UAC leave ICE custody in order to track the length of time UAC are in ICE custody.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 23, 2015 memo, ICE's Assistant Director for Custody Management, with concurrence from the Acting Assistant Director for Field Operations, provided instructions to all ICE Field Office Directors, Deputy Field Office Directors, and Field Office Juvenile Coordinators (FOJCs) with instructions for processing juveniles, including unaccompanied alien children (UAC). The memo stated that FOJCs or assigned officers must immediately book UAC into ICE's automated system upon the UAC's transfer into ICE's custody (including ICE transportation contractors). The instructions state that no more than 4 hours may elapse without recording the UAC's time in ICE custody. Further, the instructions stated that when ICE transfers UAC to a new location, that FOJCs, or other assigned officers, must also ensure that ICE's automated system is updated to reflect the exact location of the transfer. According to ICE, these instructions are to be included in a juvenile processing handbook that will provide detailed instructions for officers in processing and managing juvenile cases. ICE expects to complete this handbook by June 30, 2016. As of October 2016, the handbook was still being cleared within ICE. To fully implement our recommendation, ICE should require that officers record accurate and reliable data (date and time) in their automated system when UAC leave ICE custody.
    Recommendation: To increase the efficiency and improve the accuracy of the interagency UAC referral and placement process, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should jointly develop and implement a documented interagency process with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as procedures to disseminate placement decisions, for all agencies involved in the referral and placement of UAC in HHS shelters.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, DHS stated that the department was collaborating with HHS on finalizing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding UAC procedures. According to DHS, the MOA is meant to provide a framework for interagency coordination on the responsibilities of the parties in coordinating and establishing procedures, shared goals, and interagency cooperation with respect to UAC. In February 2016, DHS and HHS finalized the MOA. The MOA states that DHS and HHS agree to establish a Joint Concept of Operations (JCO) that should be completed no later than one year following the signing of the MOA. According to the MOA, the JCO should include, among other things, standard protocols for consistent interagency cooperation on the care, processing, and transport of UAC during both steady state operations, as well as in the event the number of UAC exceeds the standard capabilities of the departments to process, transport, and/or shelter with existing resources. As of February 2017, HHS told GAO that HHS and DHS are still in the process of drafting the JCO. To fully address the recommendation, DHS and HHS will need to ensure that the JCO, once finalized and implemented, includes a documented interagency process with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as procedures to disseminate placement decisions, for all agencies involved in the referral and placement of UAC in HHS shelters.
    Recommendation: To increase the efficiency and improve the accuracy of the interagency UAC referral and placement process, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should jointly develop and implement a documented interagency process with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as procedures to disseminate placement decisions, for all agencies involved in the referral and placement of UAC in HHS shelters.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, DHS stated that the department was collaborating with HHS on finalizing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding UAC procedures. According to DHS, the MOA is meant to provide a framework for interagency coordination on the responsibilities of the parties in coordinating and establishing procedures, shared goals, and interagency cooperation with respect to UAC. In February 2016, DHS and HHS finalized the MOA. The MOA states that DHS and HHS agree to establish a Joint Concept of Operations (JCO) that should be completed no later than one year following the signing of the MOA. According to the MOA, the JCO should include, among other things, standard protocols for consistent interagency cooperation on the care, processing, and transport of UAC during both steady state operations, as well as in the event the number of UAC exceeds the standard capabilities of the departments to process, transport, and/or shelter with existing resources. As of August 2017, HHS told GAO that HHS and DHS are still in the process of drafting the JCO. To fully address the recommendation, DHS and HHS will need to ensure that the JCO, once finalized and implemented, includes a documented interagency process with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as procedures to disseminate placement decisions, for all agencies involved in the referral and placement of UAC in HHS shelters.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that CBP's land mobile radio systems are functioning as intended in each location and are meeting user needs, the CBP Commissioner should develop a plan to monitor the performance of its deployed radio systems.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure the ICE TACCOM program is effectively managed, the Assistant Secretary of ICE should develop a program plan to ensure that the agency establishes the appropriate documentation of resource needs, program goals, and measures to monitor the performance of its deployed radio systems.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve CBP training efforts, CBP Commissioner should develop and implement a plan to address any skills gaps for CBP agents and officers related to understanding the new digital radio systems and interagency radio use protocols.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve CBP training efforts, CBP Commissioner should develop a mechanism to verify that all Border Patrol and OFO radio users receive radio training.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve ICE training efforts, the Assistant Secretary of ICE should develop and implement a plan to address any skills gaps for ICE agents related to understanding the new digital radio systems and interagency radio use protocols.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve ICE training efforts, the Assistant Secretary of ICE should develop a mechanism to verify that all ICE radio users receive radio training.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, to improve Forest Service's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures, (3) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (4) develop a feedback mechanism to collect comments agency-wide, which should include guidance or criteria to elevate customer feedback from local and regional offices to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, Forest Service provided an update for completing the tasks necessary to respond to our recommendations. In accordance with our recommendations, for each of its customer service standards, the Forest Service has developed goals, targets and measures and we consider this part of the recommendation closed. Forest Service stated the remaining part of the recommendation will be implemented by December 2018. Specifically, the Forest Service stated by December 2018 it will begin to make standards easily publicly available on its public-facing websites. The Forest Service provided the criteria for elevating customer comments and by December 2018 stated it will begin to deploy and collect feedback forms. We will close this recommendation as implemented when standards are publicly available and customer feedback forms are deployed.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer, to improve Federal Student Aid's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (2) develop a feedback mechanism that includes guidance or criteria for service providers to elevate customer feedback to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: We emailed Department of Education in June 2017 for an update on the status of this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should, to improve CBP's customer service standards: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, CBP sent an email stating that the agency has done all it can to fully implement the recommendation at this time. Because CBP does not have performance goals or targets for customer service standards this recommendation remains open. In April 2016, CBP provided us with customer service survey questions they use to collect data. Based on our review of that information, we were unable to confirm CBP had established performance targets and goals for the data being collected. As we stated in the report, performance goals should be in a quantifiable and measurable form to define the level of performance to be achieved for program activities each year. Although CBP is collecting new customer service data based on survey responses, without predetermined performance targets that align with a customer service standard it is not clear what or if internal targets or customer needs are being met. In June 2017, we emailed CBP for an update on the status of this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, to improve the National Park Service's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures, (3) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (4) develop a feedback mechanism that includes guidance or criteria to review and elevate customer feedback from local and regional offices to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to NPS officials, NPS plans on defining a strategy that describes the intended customer experience for highest customer interactions such as Volunteer in Parks program and Teacher engagement program. NPS will align the strategy with overall organizational strategy, share the strategy with all employees (e.g., documentation, training), and update strategy plans to include performance targets and goals for customer service. NPS also plans on soliciting feedback from customers about their experiences with the VIP and Teacher Outreach Programs, collecting unsolicited feedback from customers about their experiences with the organization (e.g., by mining calls, emails, or social media posts), and gathering input from employees about their experiences with customers and their role in delivering the customer experience. NPS plans to share customer experience metrics and models with all employees (e.g., distribute reports and dashboards, conduct training sessions), publish customer service standards on website so that customers know what to expect, and publish customer service data to ensure actual service levels are transparent. Finally NPS plans on piloting the "Federal Feedback" Button and evaluate for expanded use in fiscal year 2018. In June 2017, we emailed NPS for an update on this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct DHS components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to evaluate training and development programs. We found that all five DHS components in GAO's review--U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center--have a documented process to evaluate their training programs. Their documented processes fully included three of six attributes of effective training evaluation processes identifying goals, programs to evaluate, and how results are to be used. However, the documented processes did not consistently include the other three attributes: methodology, timeframes, and roles and responsibilities. We concluded that by updating documentation to address these attributes, DHS components would have more complete information to guide its efforts in conducting effective evaluations. We therefore recommended that DHS direct its components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised. In September 2016, DHS officials reported that a DHS-wide self-audit of training evaluation processes was completed on March 31, 2016 and found that DHS has current documentation addressing effective learning evaluation programs and that there are commonalities in evaluation procedures across the components. As a part of the self-audit, components provided policy and procedures documents related to their training evaluation processes and found that they adhere to sound instructional systems design models. However, the self-audit focused on identifying the specific training evaluation practices for a sample of courses at each component and not whether the component-level guidance included the attributes for effective training evaluation processes we identified in our report. Further, although DHS updated its department-wide guidance on training evaluation in April 2016 to incorporate the attributes for effective training evaluation processes and some components have followed suit, other components have not. For example, we found that some components, such as Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, had updated their training evaluation guidance to include the attributes we identified in our report. Others, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were in the process of updating their guidance. However, as of April 2017, the guidance from the Transportation Security Administration remained in draft and the guidance from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center had not been updated since our review. Therefore, this recommendation remains open pending action on the above noted items.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges..

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to reliably capture costs. We found that DHS identified efficiencies and cost savings for delivering a number of training programs. However, different methods are used for capturing training costs across the department, which poses challenges for reliably capturing these costs across DHS. Components capture training costs differently, contributing to inconsistencies in training costs captured across DHS. Variation in methods used to collect data can affect the reliability and quality of DHS-wide training program costs. However, DHS has not identified all challenges that contribute to these inconsistencies. We concluded that DHS could improve its awareness about the costs of training programs DHS-wide and thereby enhance its resource stewardship by identifying existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs and implementing corrective measures. We therefore recommended that DHS identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges. As of September 2016, DHS reported that its Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer and Office of the Chief Financial Officer worked together to research the issue and determine the best course of action to standardize training cost reporting. However, this did not require a formal root cause analysis. In order to identify a way for the components to capture training costs in a standardized manner, DHS formed a Tiger Team that included officials from each component which identified 12 common functional areas for training to capture training costs. Components were directed to prepare implementation plans outlining how they will begin capturing cost data within the identified functional training areas and, according to DHS, began capturing the data on September 29, 2016. In January 2017, the DHS Chief Financial Officer provided guidance to the components as to how they are to report their training costs to DHS on a quarterly basis. Components provided their first quarterly submission to DHS in January 2017. These steps are in line with the intent of our recommendation. This recommendation will remain open as we monitor its continued implementation over the next two quarters.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should establish an updated performance target for completing application vetting and a process to modify that target, as needed, based on factors such as changes in the number of trusted traveler program applications and available resources.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to CBP, the agency is transitioning to a new vetting platform, which will allow them to more fully assess application data. The estimated completion date is December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should assess the feasibility of practices to expedite the interview process, which could include assessing the potential trade-offs, costs, and benefits associated with any proposed practices, such as those currently proposed or implemented at specific enrollment centers, and implement those practices CBP determines to be feasible.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to CBP, the Office of Field Operations, Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) Division intends to complete the recommendation and provide a summary of findings and recommended best practices by December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should develop a mechanism to track enrollment interview appointment availability data over time.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to CBP, the agency has initiated a redesign of the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), to include GOES scheduling. A report on this effort, expected to further establish the project deliverables, level of effort, milestones and estimated completion timeline, is scheduled to be completed by December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the trusted traveler eligibility criteria and applicant adjudication processes are consistently implemented in accordance with CBP policy at all enrollment centers and by partner countries, the Commissioner of CBP should establish a mechanism or mechanisms in GES to allow CBP officers to efficiently document the types of interview questions asked and the nature of applicant responses, when appropriate, and then use this information to monitor the implementation of the interview process.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information. Status last updated October 16, 2015.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, when updating the schedules for the IFT, Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS), and Mobile Surveillance Capability programs, the Commissioner of CBP should ensure that scheduling best practices, as outlined in our schedule assessment guide, are applied to the three programs' schedules.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2014, CBP concurred with our recommendation and in response, stated it planned to ensure that scheduling best practices are applied as far as practical when updating the three program schedules. In May 2016 CBP provided us with complete schedules for the IFT and RVSS programs. In December 2016, we provided CBP our assessment of the updated schedules for the IFT and RVSS programs. In January 2017 CBP provided us with a complete schedule for the MSC program and in March 2017, we provided CBP with our assessment of the MSC schedule. In April 2017, CBP provided additional clarifying information in regards to the MSC schedule. As of May 2017, based on our assessment of the updated schedules for the IFT, RVSS, and MSC programs, CBP has made improvements in the quality of the schedules since our last report, but the program schedules have not met all characteristics of a reliable schedule.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should develop and maintain an Integrated Master Schedule for the Plan that is consistent with scheduling best practices.

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

    Comments: In March 2014, CBP did not concur with this recommendation and maintained that an integrated master schedule for the Plan in one file undermines the DHS-approved implementation strategy for the individual programs making up the Plan, and that the implementation of this recommendation would essentially create a large, aggregated program, and effectively create an aggregated "system of systems". DHS further stated that a key element of the Plan has been the disaggregation of technology procurements. As of December 2016, CBP continues to non-concur with this recommendation and plans no further action. However, as we noted in the report, collectively these programs are intended to provide CBP with a combination of surveillance capabilities to be used along the Arizona border with Mexico. Moreover, while the programs themselves may be independent of one another, the Plan's resources are being shared among the programs. As such, we continue to believe that developing an integrated master schedule for the Plan is needed. Developing and maintaining an integrated master schedule for the Plan could allow CBP insight into current or programmed allocation of resources for all programs as opposed to attempting to resolve any resource constraints for each program individually.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, when updating Life-cycle Cost Estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs, the Commissioner of CBP should verify the Life-cycle Cost Estimates with independent cost estimates and reconcile any differences.

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

    Comments: In March 2014, DHS concurred with this recommendation. In May 2016 CBP provided us with updated life-cycle cost estimates for two of its highest-cost programs under the Plan--the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) and the Remote Video Surveillance (RVSS). Further, CBP officials stated that in fiscal year 2016, DHS's Cost Analysis Division started piloting DHS's independent cost estimate capability on the RVSS program. According to CBP officials, the pilot is an opportunity to assist DHS in developing its independent cost estimate capability and that CBP selected the RVSS program for the pilot because the program is at a point in its planning and execution process where it can benefit most from having an independent cost estimate performed as these technologies are being deployed along the southwest border, beyond Arizona. In August 2016, CBP officials provided an update stating that details for an estimated independent cost estimate schedule and analysis plan for the RVSS program had not yet been finalized. As of November 2016, CBP officials stated that the results of the independent cost estimate for the RVSS program are expected to be completed by January 31, 2017. Further, CBP officials have not detailed similar plans for the IFT. We continue to believe that independently verifying the life-cycle cost estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs and reconciling any differences, consistent with best practices, could help CBP better ensure the reliability of the estimates.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should revise the IFT Test and Evaluation Master Plan to more fully test the IFT program, before beginning full production, in the various environmental conditions in which IFTs will be used to determine operational effectiveness and suitability, in accordance with DHS acquisition guidance.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2014, DHS did not concur with this recommendation and stated that the Test and Evaluation Master Plan includes tailored testing and user assessments that will provide much, if not all, of the insight contemplated by the intent of the recommendation. According to CBP officials, acceptance testing was performed on the system in July 2015 and a limited user testing for the IFT system was conducted during October and November 2015. In May 2016, CBP reported that it had conditionally accepted seven out of 53 IFT systems in one area of responsibility. CBP also reported that it is working to deploy and test the remaining IFT unit systems to other areas of responsibility. In November 2016, CBP stated that they continue to non-concur with this recommendation and planned no further action. However, as we reported in March 2014, we continue to believe that revising the Test and Evaluation Master Plan to include more robust testing to determine operational effectiveness and suitability could better position CBP to (1) evaluate IFT capabilities before moving forward to full production for the system, (2) provide CBP with information on the extent to which the towers satisfy Border Patrol's user requirements, and (3) reduce potential program risks. Without conducting operational testing in accordance with DHS guidance, the IFT program may be at increased risk of not meeting Border Patrol operational needs.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, once data on asset assists are required to be recorded and tracked, the Commissioner of CBP should analyze available data on apprehensions and seizures and technological assists, in combination with other relevant performance metrics or indicators, as appropriate, to determine the contribution of surveillance technologies to CBP's border security efforts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In February 2015, Border Patrol officials provided documentation stating that the agency has yet to analyze data on asset assists, in combination with other relevant performance metrics and indicators to determine the contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. However, the Border Patrol plans to address this recommendation using the Capability Gap Analysis Process (CGAP) developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab specifically for the Border Patrol. According to Border Patrol officials, the CGAP will enable the agency to examine the effects of technology and other Border Patrol assets such as agents, infrastructure, in the context of everyday border patrol operations. The data generated by the CGAP along with e3 apprehension and seizure data will better inform the nature of the contributions and impacts of surveillance technology on enforcement efforts. Border Patrol officials explained that capturing data on asset assists within the in e3 Processing database was the first step to determine the contribution of technology to detect, identify, and classify activity along the border. Further, the Border Patrol identified individual types of technology such as Integrated Fixed Towers, Mobile Video Surveillance System, Underground Sensors, etc. and grouped them into classes such as Fixed, Mobile and Relocatable to better distinguish the contribution of each class of technology. As the Border Patrol gains a better understanding through analysis, the agency plans to continue to refine the measures and the collection of the metrics. In November 2014, the Border Patrol proposed a timeline highlighting the agency's future efforts to capture and document the contributions of the different classes of technology to the Border Patrol's mission. In our March 2016 update on the progress made by agencies to address our findings on duplication and cost savings across the federal government, we reported that CBP had modified its time frame for developing baselines for each performance measure and that additional time would be needed to implement and apply key attributes for metrics. In March 2016, according to CBP officials, the actual completion was being adjusted pending test and evaluation results for recently deployed technologies on the southwest border. In addition, Border Patrol officials told us that they planned to have various qualitative and quantitative performance measures of technology completed by the end of fiscal year 2016. These measures would help profile different levels of situational awareness in different areas of the border. In September 2016, Border Patrol provided a case study that assessed CGAP data with technology assist data and other measures to determine contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. While this is a start to developing performance measures, the case study is limited to one location along the border and the analysis limited to select technologies. As of April 2017, CBP had not conducted assessments of the deployments to determine the contribution of surveillance technologies to the border security mission. Until CBP completes its efforts to fully develop and apply key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan, it will not be well positioned to fully assess its progress in implementing and determining the Plan and determine when mission benefits have been fully realized.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should identify and carry out steps that can be taken to help CBP port officials overcome challenges to consistent implementation of existing wait time estimation methodologies. Steps for ensuring consistent implementation of these methodologies could include, for example, implementing the fiscal year 2008 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative report recommendations to use closed-circuit television cameras to measure wait time in real time and provide a standardized measurement and validation tool.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP officials report that in order to avoid further investment in a manual wait time methodology, the agency plans to focus resources on developing an enterprise-wide solution for automating the measurement of border delays. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should, in consultation with Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs, assess the feasibility of replacing current methods of manually calculating wait times with automated methods, which could include assessing all of the associated costs and benefits, options for how the agency will use and publicly report the results of automated data collection, the potential trade-offs associated with moving to this new system, and other factors such as those influencing the possible expansion of existing automation efforts to the 34 other locations that currently report wait times but have no automation projects under way.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports working to identify a feasible and cost effective wait time solution to measure commercial vehicle delays along the southern border. Specifically, CBP officials report that they have been partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas A&M's Transportation Institute on the deployment of an automated radio-frequency identification measurement solution to measure commercial delays at eight crossings. To verify the accuracy of the automated wait time data, CBP officials report that in June 2016 they conducted a ground-truth analysis with mixed results. CBP officials report DHS Science and Technology directorate delivered their final report in February 2017 and by the end of September 2017, pending review and acceptance of the report's findings, CBP will coordinate efforts to develop the required communication protocols and data schematics for near real-time commercial vehicle wait time updates to the CBP Border Wait Time website and Border Wait Time app. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that CBP's Office of Field Operations' (OFO) staffing processes are transparent and to help ensure CBP can demonstrate that these resource decisions have effectively addressed CBP's mission needs, the Commissioner of CBP should document the methodology and process OFO uses to allocate staff to land ports of entry on the southwest border, including the rationales and factors considered in making these decisions.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports that they have adopted a workload staffing model to identify CBP staffing requirements at land ports of entry. CBP officials report that the workload staffing model provides senior leadership with a decision-support tool to identify the number of required resources for each location and accounts for distinct operating environments, unique variables, and major functions and activities. CBP officials report that they use the workload staffing model results in its budget requests and when allocating staff to the ports of entry. However, CBP has not provided GAO with documentation showing how staff are allocated among land ports of entry including how workload staffing model results are used in this process. CBP officials report that in May 2017 OFO began working with contracted experts to synthesize the quantitative and qualitative data available and develop a comprehensive CBP position allocation methodology. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in March 2018.
    Director: Larence, Eileen
    Phone: (202)512-6510

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that USNCB and ICE are providing more comprehensive information to their respective foreign counterparts regarding registered sex offenders traveling internationally, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security should take steps to help ensure that USNCB and ICE have information on the same number of registered sex offenders as well as the same level of detail on registered sex offenders traveling internationally. Such steps could include USNCB and ICE copying each other on their notifications to their foreign counterparts or USNCB receiving information directly from the CBP National Targeting Center (NTC).

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We reported that U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not have information on the same registered sex offenders or the same level of detail on registered sex offenders traveling internationally, which affected their ability to notify their respective foreign counterparts. In part, this is because the two agencies rely on different information sources and do not share information with one another. We recommended that DOJ and DHS develop mechanisms that would enable these two agencies to have access to the same information on traveling sex offenders. In August 2013, ICE provided documentation showing that it copied several U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) officials on notifications that ICE sent to other countries regarding registered sex offenders traveling internationally. However, ICE did not copy USNCB on these notifications. ICE explained that it thought sharing information on traveling sex offenders with USMS and relying on USMS to pass that information along to USNCB was the most efficient way to share information with USNCB. However, we analyzed notifications from ICE, USNCB, and USMS regarding sex offenders who initiated international travel in February 2014 and found that USMS only passed along about 30 percent of the notifications it received from ICE to USNCB. We provided the results of this analysis to all three agencies in July 2014. We met with relevant U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), ICE, USMS, and USNCB officials in September 2014 to discuss options for ensuring that USNCB receives more comprehensive information regarding traveling sex offenders. ICE officials stated that since CBP is the source of the information ICE receives on traveling sex offenders, as well as one of the information sources for USMS, that it may be best for CBP to provide information directly to USNCB. USNCB officials also stated that their preference was to receive information directly from CBP, and it was their understanding that CBP and USNCB were in the process of developing an MOU that would allow for this. In October 2015, CBP confirmed that the MOU would enable CBP to share information with USNCB regarding traveling sex offenders. CBP also stated that the MOU had been approved by CBP and sent to USNCB for review. In an April 2016 update, CBP reported that the MOU had been tentatively approved by USNCB and is expected to be finalized and signed in July 2016. In August 2016, CBP stated that the completion date for the MOU was pushed back to September 30, 2016, to allow time for CBP and USNCB to negotiate additional edits. We followed up with CBP about the status of the MOU in February 2017. We are awaiting a response.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood of successful implementation of the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan and maximize the effectiveness of technology already deployed, the Commissioner of CBP should take the following step in planning the agency's new technology approach: determine the mission benefits to be derived from implementation of the plan and develop and apply key attributes for metrics to assess program implementation.

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

    Comments: As GAO recommended in November 2011, CBP has identified mission benefits to be derived from implementing the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan). In April 2013, CBP issued its Multi-Year Investment and Management Plan for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017, which identifies mission benefits to be achieved by all surveillance technologies (e.g., cameras or sensors) to be deployed under the Plan. According to CBP, the majority of these technologies will provide the mission benefits of improved situational awareness and agent safety. Furthermore, according to CBP's Multi-Year Investment and Management Plan for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology for Fiscal Years 2014 - 2017, the technologies deployed or planned for deployment as part of the Plan are intended to help enhance the ability of Border Patrol agents to detect, identify, deter, and respond to threats along the border. CBP's identification of mission benefits will help position CBP to assess its progress in implementing the Plan and the effectiveness of the Plan's technologies in achieving their intended goals. CBP has made some progress in identifying key attributes for metrics to assess implementation of the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan), as GAO recommended in November 2011, but it has not yet fully identified and applied attributes for metrics for all technologies under the Plan. Since August 2010, CBP has operated multiple technology systems under the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet), which preceded the Plan and is a combination of surveillance technologies aimed at creating a "virtual fence" along the southwest border. Specifically, CBP has operated two surveillance systems under SBInet's initial deployment in high-priority regions of the Arizona border. In October 2012, CBP officials stated that these operations identified examples of key attributes for metrics that can be useful in assessing the implementation for technologies. For example, according to CBP, to help measure whether illegal activity has decreased, examples of key attributes include decreases in arrests, complaints by citizens and ranchers, and destruction of public and private lands and property. In November 2014, CBP identified a set of potential key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan. While CBP has yet to apply these measures, it established a timeline for developing performance measures for each technology. CBP initially expected baselines for each performance measure to be developed by the end of fiscal year 2015. However, in October 2015, CBP officials stated that CBP had modified its time frame for developing baselines and that additional time would be needed to implement and apply key attributes for metrics. In March 2016, CBP officials stated that CBP had planned to use the baseline data to establish a tool by the end of fiscal year 2016. In addition, CBP officials stated these performance measures would profile levels of situational awareness in various areas of the border. In September 2016, CBP provided GAO a case study that assessed technology assist data along with other measures such as field-based assessments of capability gaps, to determine the contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. While this is a start to developing and applying performance metrics, the case study was limited to one border location and the analysis was limited to select technologies. Until CBP completes its efforts to fully develop and apply key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan, it will likely not be able to fully assess its progress in implementing the Plan and determine when mission benefits have been fully realized.
    Recommendation: To increase the reliability of CBP's Cost Estimate for the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan, the Commissioner of CBP should update its cost estimate for the Plan using best practices, so that the estimate is comprehensive, accurate, well-documented, and credible. Specifically, the CBP's Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition (OTIA) program office should (1) fully document data used in the cost model; (2) conduct a sensitivity analysis and risk and uncertainty analysis to determine a level of confidence in the estimate so that contingency funding can be established relative to quantified risk; and (3) independently verify the new life-cycle cost estimate with an independent cost estimate and reconcile any differences.

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

    Comments: As GAO recommended in 2011, CBP provided cost estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs, the two highest cost programs in the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan), in February and March 2012, respectively, and updated the cost estimate for the Plan in June 2013. However, these estimates do not fully meet cost-estimating best practices. In November 2011, GAO reported that the Plan's original cost estimate met some, but not all, cost-estimating best practices. Specifically, CBP had not conducted a sensitivity analysis and a risk and uncertainty analysis to determine a level of confidence in the original estimate, nor did CBP compare the original cost estimate with an independent estimate. For the cost estimate that CBP provided for the IFT in February 2012 and RVSS in March 2012, CBP partially documented the data used in the cost model for the IFT's LCCE (but needs to provide additional data and document management approval) and fully documented the cost model for the RVSS' LCCE. Developing a well-documented cost estimate is a best practice. CBP also conducted a sensitivity analysis and risk and uncertainty analysis to determine the level of confidence in both LCCEs so that contingency funding could be established relative to quantified risk. In addition, CBP's June 2013, CBP revised the cost estimate for the Plan does not fully address our concerns. For example, the IFT and RVSS compose over 90 percent of the Plan's cost in the June 2013 cost estimate; however, CBP has not independently verified its cost estimates for these two programs with independent cost estimates and reconciled any differences. Such action would help CBP better ensure the reliability of each system's cost estimate. Furthermore, the remainder of the June 2013 cost estimate is not fully documented for the Plan's other five programs, consistent with best practices. For example, the estimates for the other five programs are not fully documented because they are provided as summary program costs without detailed descriptions, such as including back-up documentation for labor hours. In November 2015, CBP had yet to update its LCCEs for two of its highest cost programs under the plan. In May 2016, CBP officials stated that the DHS's Cost Analysis Division had started piloting DHS's Independent Cost Estimate capability on the RVSS program in fiscal year 2016. According to CBP officials, this pilot test within CBP is an opportunity to assist DHS in developing its Independent Cost Estimate capability and that CBP selected the RVSS program for the pilot because the RVSS program is at a point in its planning and execution process where it can benefit most from having an independent cost estimate performed as these technologies are being deployed along the southwest border, beyond Arizona. As of October 2016, CBP officials stated that the RVSS schedule and analysis, as well as the results of the independent program cost estimate pilot is expected to be completed at the end of fiscal year 2017. CBP officials stated that they will provide information on the final reconciliation of the independent cost estimate and the RVSS program cost estimate once the pilot has been completed. Further, CBP officials have yet to detail similar plans for the IFT program. As updated life-cycle cost estimates have yet to be completed and independent cost estimates have not been conducted, GAO cannot determine the extent to which the agency is following best practices when updating the life-cycle cost estimates. Moreover, to fully address our recommendation, a LCCE for the Plan that fully addresses best practices is needed to ensure that the estimate is comprehensive, accurate, well-documented, and credible to help the agency and Congress fully understand the impacts of integrating the Plan's various programs.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca
    Phone: (202) 512-6912

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure DHS is maximizing the benefits of its coordination efforts with northern border partners through interagency forums, documented agreements, and its resource planning process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should provide DHS-level guidance and oversight for interagency forums established or sponsored by its components to ensure that the missions and locations are not duplicative and to consider the downstream burden on northern border partners.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In fiscal year 2011, we reviewed and reported the extent to which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had improved federal coordination of border security intelligence and enforcement operations with state, local, and Canadian law enforcement partners. We found, among other things, that DHS improved northern border security coordination through interagency forums and joint operations; however, partners raised concerns about the resources needed for the increasing number of interagency forums and that some efforts may be overlapping. In May 2011 and June 2012, DHS reported that it took action to coordinate law enforcement initiatives and advance communications interoperability and information sharing, while reducing duplicative activities. DHS also reported that the DHS Northern Border Strategy, released in June 2012, is intended to align internal DHS operations and provide a unified direction that will also help the department reduce duplicative activities. However, DHS's efforts to coordinate law enforcement initiatives and its Northern Border Strategy do not specifically address possible duplication of efforts and resource constraints that may be imposed by interagency forums. Further, DHS leadership has not yet determined how the strategy will be implemented. In October 2015, DHS officials stated that a statement of cooperation for a Cross-Border Law Enforcement Advisory Committee was signed by all five core members. The intent of the committee is to provide executive-level strategic guidance to cross-border law enforcement initiatives involving partnerships between U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies on the northern border. However, DHS officials stated that it will take at least a year to show how this committee will increase coordination and prevent duplication among interagency forums, including the IBET and BEST. Development of this committee is a positive step; however, it is too soon to assess the extent to which this committee helps prevent duplication of effort and strengthen coordination efforts along the northern border. As of August 31, 2017, DHS had not provided updated information to show how the committee increased coordination and prevented duplication among interagency forums. To fully address this recommendation, DHS needs to provide guidance specific to interagency forums established or sponsored by its components and conduct DHS-level oversight for those forums to ensure they are not duplicative and do not burden northern border partners.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DHS is maximizing the benefits of its coordination efforts with northern border partners through interagency forums, documented agreements, and its resource planning process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should provide regular DHS-level oversight of Border Patrol and ICE compliance with the provisions of the interagency memorandum of understanding (MOU), including evaluation of outstanding challenges and planned corrective actions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In fiscal year 2011, we reviewed and reported on the extent to which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had made progress in addressing past coordination challenges between U.S. Border Patrol, an office within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and across the Drug Enforcement Administration and Forest Service, according to northern border security partners. We found, among other things, that federal agency coordination to secure the northern border was improved, but partners cited ongoing challenges sharing information and resources for daily border security related to operations and investigations despite the efforts made to establish and update interagency agreements. In June 2012, DHS reported that the DHS Northern Border Strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination and discusses the benefits that can be garnered through collaboration and information sharing. DHS also reported that a National Special Agent in Charge/Chief Patrol Agent Advisory Council was established to enhance collaboration between Border Patrol and ICE, which includes addressing historical points of contention between the two components. While the strategy emphasizes and encourages coordination between Border Patrol and ICE, it does not specifically address compliance with the interagency memoranda of agreement, evaluation of longstanding challenges, or any planned corrective actions. In addition, the advisory council established does not provide DHS-level oversight as it is composed of ICE and Border Patrol officials. In October 2015, DHS officials stated that the Cross-Border Law Enforcement Advisory Committee may provide DHS-level oversight because both CBP and ICE officials are members of the committee. However, as of August 31, 2017, DHS has not yet indicated how the committee may provide guidance and oversight to ensure Border Patrol and ICE compliance with the provisions of the interagency memorandum of understanding, and DHS could not provide timeframes for addressing this recommendation. To fully address this recommendation, DHS needs to take action to specifically address long-standing coordination challenges and enforce DHS-level oversight of Border Patrol and ICE compliance with the interagency memoranda of agreement.