Container Security: Expansion of Key Customs Programs Will Require Greater Attention to Critical Success Factors, Report to Congressional Requresters   [open pdf - 2MB]

In response to the concern that terrorists could smuggle weapons of mass destruction in ocean containers that arrive at U.S. seaports, the U.S. Customs Service (Customs) implemented the Container Security Initiative (CSI) to screen for high-risk containers at overseas ports and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) to improve global supply chain security in the private sector. In this report, GAO (1) describes the purpose and elements of these new programs, (2) examines Customs' implementation of CSI and C-TPAT during the first year, and (3) assesses the extent to which Customs has focused on factors critical to the programs' long-term success and accountability. GAO found that Customs' implementation of the CSI and C-TPAT programs evolved in response to challenges it encountered. Although Customs is preparing to devote significantly more resources to CSI and C-TPAT as it expands the programs, it has not taken adequate steps to incorporate factors necessary for the programs' long-term success and accountability. These factors include human capital planning, development of performance measures, and strategic planning. GAO found the following: (1) although CSI seeks to staff Customs officials at more than 30 overseas ports and C-TPAT expects to hire more than 150 additional staff, Customs has not devised systematic human capital plans to meet long-term staffing needs for both programs; (2) while Customs has created some performance measures to quantify operational activities and efforts, it has not developed measures to establish accountability and measure program achievement; and (3) in its efforts to rapidly implement the programs and enroll participants, Customs focused on short-term planning.

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Public Domain
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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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