Border Security: Additional Efforts Needed to Address Persistent Challenges in Achieving Radio Interoperability, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 2MB]
"The lack of communications interoperability--the capability of different electronic communications systems (e.g., radios) to readily connect with one another to enable timely communications--can affect mission operations and the overall effectiveness of agencies responsible for securing the border. DHS continues to face challenges in achieving interoperable radio communications within and among federal, state, and local agencies despite investment by these agencies to improve their radio systems. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to evaluate DHS border security and immigration tactical communications (TACCOM) programs and operational impacts resulting from interoperability challenges. This report addresses the extent to which (1) CBP [US Customs and Border Protection] and ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] have upgraded tactical communications equipment and infrastructure along the U.S. southwest border, (2) CBP and ICE have provided tactical communications training to radio users, and (3) DHS has taken actions to improve the interoperability of tactical communications along the U.S. southwest border and what challenges, if any, remain. GAO analyzed DHS documentation; visited four locations, selected for DHS prioritization of technology upgrade projects; and interviewed DHS officials. GAO recommends that CBP and ICE develop performance and program plans for their modernization programs, mechanisms to track training, and plans to address skills gaps in understanding radio systems. CBP and ICE concurred with the recommendations."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/