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CBP Could Improve Its Estimation of Funding Needed for New Border Patrol Agents
Richard M. Stana (au)
The U.S. Border Patrol, a component within the Dept. of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is responsible for patrolling 8,000 miles of the land and coastal borders of the U.S. to detect and prevent the illegal entry of aliens and contraband, including terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. To strengthen control of the U.S. borders, CBP increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 12,300 in Sept. 2006 to 18,875 in April 2009, an unprecedented 53% increase in about 2.5 years. The Border Patrol plans to add additional agents during the remaining months of FY 2009, increasing its onboard strength to about 19,700 agents by the end of Sept. 2009. The accuracy of estimates for the individual cost items that constitute the Position Cost Model (PCM) -- the incremental dollar amount needed to recruit, hire, train, equip, and deploy one additional Border Patrol agent -- is crucial to CBP developing a reliable budget request for new agents. To help its budget review, Congress asked GAO to assess the reliability of the estimates generated by the PCM. To determine the extent to which CBP used cost estimating best practices and standards for internal control to develop its FY 2009 PCM, GAO analyzed available documentation, such as contracts, invoices, purchase orders, and price lists, as well as the formulas CBP used to compute the cost estimates for 28 of the 93 cost items in the FY 2009 PCM. Illus.
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