GAO: US-VISIT program has problems

The Homeland Security Department’s plan to require airlines to verify foreign visitors’ fingerprints for exit tracking has major problems, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office published today.

DHS published a notice of proposed rulemaking for biometric exit tracking of foreign visitors under the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program in April. The department said airlines would collect the fingerprints as the travelers were checking in at airports to leave the United States.

GAO said of the program, “The reliability of the cost estimates used to justify the proposed solution is not clear, the proposed solution would provide less security and privacy than other alternatives, and public comments on the proposed solution raise additional concerns, including the impact the solution would have on the industry’s efforts to improve passenger processing and travel. Moreover, the program’s risk management database shows that key risks are not being managed.”

The report also said DHS’ current-year expenditure plan for U.S. Visit partially satisfies eight of 11 conditions set by Congress, and none of the 11 conditions required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 are fully satisfied by the plan.

As an example, DHS submitted a list of GAO recommendations for improving US-VISIT, as required, but did not supply the requested timeline of when those recommendations would be addressed.

Also, although the US-VISIT spending plan offers data on program management, operations and maintenance, it does not identify contractor costs as required, GAO said.

DHS officials agreed with the findings and made modifications to the expenditure plan in response, the report said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.