H.R. 1634, Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015, as amended

H.R. 1634

Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015, as amended

Date
July 27, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 1634, the Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015, as amended, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 1634 was introduced on March 25, 2015, by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on June 25, 2015.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1634 requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that each border security technology acquisition program with an expected lifecycle cost of at least $300 million have an acquisition program baseline approved by the relevant acquisition decision authority.

The bill also requires the Secretary to document that each such program is meeting cost, schedule, and performance thresholds as specified in its baseline and complies with departmental acquisition policies and the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and have a plan for meeting program implementation objectives by managing contractor performance.

The bill also requires the DHS Under Secretary for Management to work with the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to implement internal control standards and best practices for such programs as identified by the Comptroller General.

H.R. 1634 further requires the Under Secretary for Management and the CBP Commissioner to develop and submit to Congress a plan for the testing and evaluation of border security technologies, as well as for the use of independent verification and validation resources.

The bill requires authorized activities to be carried out using existing funds.

Background

Since 2005, DHS Acquisition Management Activities have been on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) “High-Risk List” because of their high susceptibility to waste and mismanagement.[1]  In 2012, GAO found that less than one-third of major DHS acquisition programs have Acquisition Program Baselines in place, important measurements for performance and cost-control.[2]  According to the bill’s sponsor, the legislation “will provide improved management of border security technology projects, safeguarding taxpayer dollars and increasing accountability for some of the Department’s largest acquisition purchases.”[3]

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[1] See GAO report—“High Risk Series:  An Update,” February 2015.
[2] See GAO report—“DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs,” September 2012.
[3] See Press Release—“U.S. Rep. McSally introduces legislation to improve accountability of border technology projects,” March 27, 2015.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.