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Highlights

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) fiscal year 2005 appropriations act provided $39.6 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) program to modernize its information technology (IT) infrastructure. The goals of the program--which consists of seven projects and is referred to as Atlas--include improving information sharing and strengthening security. As mandated by the appropriations act, the department is to develop and submit for approval an expenditure plan for Atlas that satisfies certain legislative conditions, including a review by GAO. In performing its review of the Atlas plan, GAO was asked to (1) determine whether the plan satisfies certain legislative conditions, (2) determine the status of our prior recommendations, and (3) provide any other observations about the plan and management of the program.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement To minimize risks to the Atlas program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to report periodically to Senate and House appropriations subcommittees regarding the program's progress in implementing our recommendations.
Closed - Implemented
In its response to our report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to implement this recommendation and has, for example, briefed Senate and House appropriations subcommittees in August and November 2006 on, among other things, the program's status, including its progress in implementing our recommendations. In addition, in ICE's fiscal year 2007 spending plan prepared for congressional appropriators, the agency included a section summarizing actions taken to correct program weaknesses and implement GAO's recommendations. Further, ICE program officials stated that they intend to include a summary of actions to implement our recommendations in any future briefings to congressional committees.
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement To minimize risks to the Atlas program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to develop and implement Atlas project plans consistent with elements of effective project planning.
Closed - Implemented
Consistent with our recommendation, the Atlas program in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006, revised its seven project plans to better address project milestones, risks, constraints, resources, skills and requirements, detailed work breakdown structure, budget and schedule, and stakeholder identification. In addition, Atlas program officials, including the program manager, stated in mid-2007 that they had recently revised each plan to reflect cost, schedule, and other changes made in the program's updated Acquisition Plan Baseline. According to these officials, the plans are currently being used to manage the seven Atlas projects, and for this reason, they are continuously reviewed by the Program Management Office to monitor any change in project status.

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