Border Security: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Has Taken Steps to Address GAO’s Recommendations Aimed at Ensuring Officers Are Fully Trained

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for securing U.S. borders and facilitating legal travel and trade. Nearly 22,000 CBP officers are responsible for securing the border at U.S. ports of entry, locations at which individuals and merchandise may seek legal entry into the United States. In December 2011, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) found that CBP had revised its training program for new CBP officers in accordance with training standards, but concluded that CBP could do more to identify and address incumbent officer training needs, such as evaluating the effectiveness of training and conducting a comprehensive assessment of the results of covert tests of CBP’s inspection processes. For example, CBP developed and mandated training for all CBP officers in response to covert test results (e.g., a refresher course called “Back to Basics” and subsequent follow-on training), but it had not fully evaluated the effectiveness of the training. GAO made four recommendations to the CBP Commissioner to help address these and other issues, and CBP concurred with these recommendations. This report addresses the actions that CBP has taken to implement the recommendations from GAO's December 2011 report and the status of the recommendations. In summary, CBP has taken actions to address the recommendations from GAO's December 2011 report; three of the four recommendations are closed, and CBP has actions underway to address the remaining open recommendation. Recommendation 1: Conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the "Back to Basics" and subsequent follow-on training. CBP has completed an evaluation of the "Back to Basics" course, but has not yet conducted an evaluation of the follow-on training. According to CBP officials, CBP's Office of Training and Development plans to complete an evaluation of the follow-on training by November 2013. This recommendation will remain open until the evaluation is complete. Recommendation 2: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of its covert test results to identify the causes of and systemic issues underlying the results. CBP conducted a comprehensive assessment of the document fraud covert test results, reported on key factors contributing to the results, and implemented actions to address these factors. The report completed by CBP's Office of Internal Affairs addressed GAO's recommendation and should help CBP identify patterns or trends that indicate the extent to which CBP officer training, performance, or other systemic issues may contribute to the covert test results. Therefore, this recommendation is closed as implemented. Recommendation 3: Establish a policy that specifies roles and responsibilities for training and related oversight, including oversight of training records. CBP developed a National Policy and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document that specified roles and responsibilities for training and related oversight, including the oversight of training records. The policy and SOP addressed GAO's recommendation and should help strengthen the reliability of CBP's training records. Therefore, this recommendation is closed as implemented. Recommendation 4: Develop a plan for conducting a training needs assessment to address any skill gaps for incumbent CBP officers and then implement that plan. CBP conducted a three-phase analysis of incumbent officer training needs consisting of a (1) training gap analysis, (2) skills gap analysis, and (3) training needs assessment. CBP completed a report that includes the outcomes of this analysis and recommended action steps for addressing training gaps for incumbent officers. Therefore, this recommendation is closed as implemented.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Tables;
  • Pagination: 26p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01493469
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-13-768R
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 3 2013 10:01AM