U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Management of the Purchase and Storage of Steel in Support of the Secure Border Initiative [open pdf - 0B]
"The Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection uses infrastructure to impede illegal entry into the United States and provide officers access to their areas of operations. Since 2008, Customs and Border Protection has spent approximately $1.2 billion to construct physical barriers along the southwest border as part of the Department's Secure Border Initiative. About $310 million of the cost was to purchase and store steel in support of fence construction. We performed this audit to determine the effectiveness of Customs and Border Protection's management of the purchase and storage of steel in support of the Secure Border Initiative. Customs and Border Protection completed 299 miles of fence; however, it did not effectively manage the purchase and storage of steel in support of the Secure Border Initiative. It purchased steel based on an estimate before legally acquiring land or meeting international treaty obligations. In addition, it did not provide effective contract oversight during the project: it paid invoices late, did not reconcile invoices to receiving documents, and did not perform a thorough review of the contractor's selection of a higher-priced subcontractor or document the reasons for its approval of the subcontractor. As a result, Customs and Border Protection purchased more steel than needed, incurred additional storage costs, paid interest on late payments, and approved a higher-priced subcontractor, resulting in additional expenditures of about $69 million that could have been put to better use. We made five recommendations to improve Customs and Border Protection's management of future fence construction and contract oversight. Customs and Border Protection concurred with four recommendations, and the Department of Homeland Security proposed an alternative to the fifth recommendation that met the intent of that recommendation. Customs and Border Protection is taking action to implement the recommendations."
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Report No. OIG-12-05
United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General: http://www.oig.dhs.gov/