GAO: DHS Blowing Upgrade of Obsolete Border Control Computers

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J.D. Tuccille
February 7, 2014

Among people who think the federal government should be entrusted to do something, controlling and defending the borders features pretty high on the list. The interpretation of what that entails and how tight such control should be varies, but even for limited-government folks, making sure the U.S. border is more than a line on a map is seen as something of a core function for that big bureaucracy occupying the swampland that either Maryland nor Virginia wanted.But we’re talking about government, here. And according to the Government Accountability Office, not only has the Department of Homeland Security been relying on increasingly archaic (read: freaking ancient) and ineffective (read: can’t do what?) computer technology to monitor comings and goings across the border, it’s making an expensive balls-up of finally replacing that system.

Yesterday, David A. Powner, GAO’s Director of Information Technology Management Issues, described the existing system to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency:

TECS is an information technology (IT) and data management system that supports DHS’s core border enforcement mission. According to CBP, it is one of the largest, most important law enforcement systems currently in use, and is the primary system available to CBP officers and agents from other departments for use in determining the admissibility of persons wishing to enter the country. …

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