Magazine article National Defense

DHS Inspector General Slams Secure Border Initiative Oversight

Magazine article National Defense

DHS Inspector General Slams Secure Border Initiative Oversight

Article excerpt

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has faulted Customs and Border Protection for failing to properly oversee work on the Secure Border Initiative.

From the "start of the program, neither CBP, nor the Department of Homeland Security as a whole had enough program managers and acquisition specialists to plan and manage such a large-scale, complex program," said Richard Skinner, DHS inspector general in a June report, "Better Oversight Needed of Support Services Contractors in Secure Border Initiative Programs."

The SBI program in 2005 set out to gain operational control by 2010 of the Southwest border by boosting manpower, building infrastructure such as fences and roads and deploying technology where needed. Boeing Co. has been the recipient of the more than $1.1 billion spent on the initiative through Feb. 2008.

Federal acquisition regulations prohibit contractors from performing "inherently governmental functions." Because the program was ramped up so quickly in 2005,CBP failed to clearly distinguish the roles and responsibilities of contractors and government workers, the report said. One purpose of the regulation is to ensure that key decisions are made by government employees, not members of the private sector. …

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