Nextgov: Customs and Border Protection Behind on Deploying Border Surveillance Tech, DHS OIG Finds

“Customs and Border Protection has deployed just 28% of its planned border technologies—despite receiving more than $743 million to do so since 2017, according to a recent audit.

The Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General report concludes that in addition to issues like a lack of available technology solutions and security vulnerabilities in servers and workstations, CBP is ‘not well-equipped to assess its technology effectiveness to respond to these deficiencies.’ The audit was released Feb. 23, shortly after President Joe Biden’s immigration bill—which calls for deployment of ‘smart technologies’ at the border—was introduced into Congress.

Since 2017, CBP has worked on implementing border technologies such as integrated fixed towers for surveillance of remote areas, remote and mobile video surveillance systems, and small drones for aerial surveillance. The agency and U.S. Border Patrol also initiated modernization efforts to improve border security IT systems, infrastructure and equipment.

But ‘planned deployments of surveillance systems, infrastructure upgrades, and subterranean technology solutions were incomplete or behind schedule due to border wall construction delays, challenges identifying subterranean technology solutions, funding constraints, and shifting operational priorities,’ the audit reads…”

“Auditors also found security vulnerabilities in CBP’s technology systems. DHS is establishing departmentwide guidelines for information systems control, but while those are being developed, DHS components are meant to use existing standards such as the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Security Technical Implementation Guides. But standards were not properly implemented, and OIG found ‘237 instances of 47 unique critical and high severity patch-related vulnerabilities.’

Moreover, CBP has no way of knowing how effective its border technologies are. The agency doesn’t have a standard process for evaluating technology effectiveness. Most critically for the Biden administration’s border technology plans, auditors concluded CBP can’t plan effectively for future investments…” Read the full article here.

Source: Customs and Border Protection Behind on Deploying Border Surveillance Tech, DHS OIG Finds – By Mila Jasper, February 26, 2021. Nextgov.


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