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As of February 9, 2020, there are 4958 open recommendations, of which 422 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should analyze the costs associated with future barrier segments and include cost as a factor in the Impedance and Denial Prioritization Strategy. (Recommendation 1)
Agency: Department of Homeland Security Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In July 2018, we reported on U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) efforts to construct new physical barriers along the southwest border. We found that the Impedance and Denial Prioritization Strategy--CBP's decision support tool for prioritizing locations for barrier construction projects--did not include analysis of the costs of deploying barriers in each location, which can vary depending on topography, land ownership, and other factors. We recommended that CBP analyze the costs associated with future barrier segments and include cost as a factor in the Impedance and Denial Prioritization Strategy. CBP agreed with this recommendation. CBP officials stated that, after prioritizing locations, CBP conducts detailed cost estimates as part of the acquisitions process. As of January 2020, CBP officials stated that this cost information may affect how the construction projects are executed, but that it would not influence how CBP prioritizes barrier construction projects across various locations. As we have previously reported, organizations should use an integrated approach to the requirements, acquisitions, and budget processes to prioritize needs and allocate resources, so they can optimize return on investment, and maintain program affordability. To fully address our recommendation, Border Patrol needs to incorporate its analysis of the costs of barrier projects into its process for prioritizing locations for construction of barriers.
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 agreed with the recommendation and stated that it planned to develop metrics for southwest border security operations. To fully implement it, the Border Patrol should complete its efforts to develop metrics for assessing the contributions of pedestrian and vehicle fencing to border security operations and apply these metrics when making resource allocation decisions. As of October 2019, DHS stated that they have developed and are testing the initial metrics. DHS stated that they will continue to gather data over the next two fiscal years (FY20-FY21) which will help to identify if these metrics are accurately representing realities in the field. The estimated completion date is September 2021.
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, the Border Patrol was planning to address this recommendation using the Capability Gap Analysis Process (CGAP) developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, specifically for the Border Patrol, to examine the effects of technology and other assets, such as infrastructure. In September 2016, Border Patrol provided a case study that assessed CGAP data with technology assist data and other measures. While this was a start to developing performance measures, the case study was limited to one location along the border and the analysis limited to select technologies. In May 2017, Border Patrol officials demonstrated a new system that was intended to allow for more comprehensive analysis of the contributions of surveillance technologies to Border Patrol's mission. In June 2018, Border Patrol officials stated they planned to issue a report--to executive management on a quarterly basis--that would identify border security technologies that assisted with Border Patrol apprehensions. Border Patrol distributed such a report to its leadership in July 2018 that included, among other things, the proportion of apprehensions in which certain surveillance technologies were utilized during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2018. However, Border Patrol officials stated that some of the data in the report were not reliable due to data entry errors in one of Border Patrol's data systems. Officials told GAO they have plans for training, system integration, and additional steps intended to improve data entry and reporting consistency by the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. In December 2018, Border Patrol officials stated they had not prepared the report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, due to organizational changes and limited staff with the technical skills needed to prepare the report. The officials stated they planned to meet with Border Patrol managers in early 2019 to discuss additional actions to ensure they have access to and are using performance information about existing technologies as they make decisions about future resource investments in additional or new technologies. GAO continues to believe that developing and applying performance metrics for assessing implementation of border technologies would help Border Patrol better determine if or when mission benefits have been realized.