U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Acquisition Management of Aviation Fleet Needs Improvement to Meet Operational Needs
CBP did not effectively manage its aviation fleet acquisitions to meet operational mission needs. Specifically, AMO acquired and deployed 16 multi-role enforcement aircraft (MEA) that did not contain the necessary air and land interdiction capabilities to perform its mission. In addition, CBP AMO initiated the MEA and medium lift helicopter program without well-defined operational requirements and key performance parameters — critical items in the acquisition planning process. This occurred because CBP did not provide oversight and guidance to ensure acquisition personnel followed key steps required by the DHS Acquisition Lifecycle Framework. As a result, AMO expended approximately $330 million procuring multi-role enforcement aircraft that, at the time of acceptance, did not effectively respond to emergent air threats along the northern or southern borders, and experienced schedule delays deploying the medium lift helicopter. Without effective oversight and guidance, AMO risks aviation acquisitions taking longer to deliver, at a greater cost, and without the needed capabilities. We made four recommendations aimed at improving CBP’s acquisition management of aviation fleet to meet operational needs. CBP concurred with three of the four recommendations.