Customs Service:

Strong Leadership Needed To Address Management Problems

T-GGD-92-45: Published: May 21, 1992. Publicly Released: May 21, 1992.

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GAO discussed its general management review of the Customs Service and its financial and information management environment. GAO noted that: (1) mission planning, financial management, information management, human resource management, and organizational structure weaknesses have hampered Customs administration; (2) Customs is not detecting the vast majority of imported cargo violations and can not gauge the significance of the violations it does detect; (3) Customs is unable to assess the effectiveness of its document reviews, noncompliance detection efforts, and other investigations and penalties; (4) Customs lacks a strategic management process or a clear vision of its trade enforcement efforts; (5) narrow system focus, failure to adhere to federal systems development guidelines, and insufficient assessment of information management practices has limited the availability of the reliable information Customs needs for program execution and monitoring; (6) Customs' existing accounting and internal control systems do not provide management with complete and accurate financial information to effectively manage its resources; and (7) human resource management problems at Customs include an ineffective performance management process, inadequate quality and quantity of training, and frequent staff changes. GAO believes that changes in Customs' organizational structure must accompany efforts to improve its management processes.

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