Magazine article National Defense

Disorganization within Border Patrol Cited for Faulty Budget

Magazine article National Defense

Disorganization within Border Patrol Cited for Faulty Budget

Article excerpt

* Customs and Berder Protection has been using unreliable numbers to estimate the cost of recruiting, training and equipping thousands of newly deployed Border Patrol agents, the Government Accountability Office has found.

Since September 2006, the Border Patrol has experienced unprece dented growth, increasing its ranks by 53 percent. By April 2009, that amounted to an additional 6,575 agents for a total of 18,875. To keep pace, the agency's funding swelled from $1.8 billion in 2006 to $3.5 billion today. CBP also submitted a request for an additional $362.5 million to employ 2,200 more agents by the end of 2009.

The GA0 reviewed the increased budget proposal, evaluating its comprehensiveness, accuracy and documentation. The watchdog found the budget lacked sufficient documentation, used faulty figures or could not be replicated using data provided by the Border Patrol.

To come up with the estimates, CBP listed 93 "items" needed for each new agent. They included everything from handcuffs and belts, to major expenditures such as salary, benefits and vehicles. That came to $159,642 for each agent hired in fiscal year 2009, the report said. But this number was questionable, GA0 found.

Faulty data and a lack of communication between departments within the CBP led to a series of errors in the budget, the office said. GA0 sampled 28 items from the list and found that 12 of them did not have reliable cost estimates. …

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