Past Features

March 27, 2015

Another DHS Border Tech Failure
GAO Blows The Whistle - Again

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is
an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress.
Washimgton Examiner -- March 26, 2015  
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spent millions on field radios that don't work
    Despite the Department of Homeland Security's $945 million investment in radios for its border patrol agents, spotty coverage and inadequate training still hinders the agency's attempts to secure the southwestern border.
    Some agents even told congressional investigators that radio communications worsened after DHS updated the system, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
    Other border patrol agents reported experiencing "communications bleed" with the new radios, which happens when outsiders are able to listen in on conversations.
    After building additional towers and installing new radios in Yuma, Tucson, the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso, DHS realized that approach was too expensive and time-consuming and instead focused on converting its analog systems to digital in five remaining sectors of the southwestern border that stretches from Texas west to California.[...]
    Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., noted in a hearing Tuesday that Customs and Border Patrol has more than doubled in size since 2003.
    "We have constructed more than 600 miles of new fencing, and deployed sophisticated cameras, sensors, and radars across much of our border with Mexico," Carper said. "Today, we are deploying drones and aerostats high in the sky, as well as fixed and mobile observation towers, providing situational awareness for our agents on the ground."
    Border Patrol drones have drained $360 million from the Homeland Security budget while meeting few surveillance expectations, the Washington Examiner reported in January.

Avoiding Accountability - Ignoring the GAO
Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol
    In its report on the radios, the Government Accountability Office says:
“CBP has not established an ongoing performance monitoring plan to determine whether the systems are working as intended.”
    In 2006, I criticized the planned Boeing virtual fence - “Nowhere does SBI spell out a goal that can be measured.”
    The one common theme that runs throughout DHS technical failures is the lack of accountability. This is not by accident. The clever liberals who run the DHS know that if you can't measure it, you can't improve it --- so they avoid measurement - and accountability --- at every step.
    The GAO has issued many reports on how the DHS avoids accountability, but the Congress doesn’t seem to listen.