The Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection is carrying out the ambitious acquisition
of a massive import and export system intended to increase
processing efficiency and border security alike, and needs
to address pattern and cost concerns because they have
effected the current release of its automated commercial
environment (ACE) and will continue to carry over into later
releases, the General Accounting Office has said.
It said that with the first two ACE releases, DHS established
a pattern of borrowing resources from future releases that
has adversely affected the cost, schedule, and capability
commitments of ongoing releases. The delay in completing the
second release introduced a pattern of increased reliance on
concurrent activities to stay on schedule and cost overruns.
It’s a domino effect that is continuing into the third
release and beyond, something that requires DHS to address
the reasons for release quality problems that led to the
concurrent activity, GAO said.
DHS agreed. Its fiscal year 2004 ACE expenditure plan includes
system implementation, infrastructure and support, operations
and maintenance, and the definition and design of two future
releases and it address GAO recommendations. But that will
take a lot of work, especially because progress overcoming
human capital challenges has been glacial, said GAO.