CBP rejects integration with Coast Guard air asset management system
Customs and Border Protection should scrap plans to buy a $7 million aviation and logistics maintenance system in favor of simply adopting the Coast Guard's system, says the Homeland Security Department office of inspector general--a recommendation CBP officials reject.
In a July report (.pdf) released Aug. 8, auditors say that unification of the support systems underpinning CBP and Coast Guard aviation assets is a long-standing departmental efficiency goal. CBP's Office of Air and Marine currently relies on a logistics and maintenance system built in 1979 that's difficult to use and written in an outdated programming language. Unsurprisingly, CBP officials told auditors they want to replace it as soon as possible.
That replacement, auditors say, should be the Coast Guard's Asset Logistics Management Information System--especially since ALMIS is undergoing an incremental refresh known as the Coast Guard Logistics Information Management System.
"CBP should promptly terminate" its planned acquisition of a standalone IT system for aircraft, auditors say--something which James Tomsheck, CBP assistant commissioner for the office of internal affairs, said in the component's official response to auditors that it won't do.
"OAM simply cannot wait indefinitely on the aviation information system unification effort when sufficient resources are neither now available nor likely to be available soon for its implementation," Tomsheck wrote. Maintaining the legacy system will cost $21 million over the next 5 years, whereas a new system could be had and maintained for $7 million over that same period, CBP officials told auditors.
But that response misses the point of a functioning air asset management system ready for adoption, auditors say. "When existing systems are available to meet CBP's needs, quickly purchasing a new IT system outside of DHS is not the proper response," they say.
Auditors acknowledge that CBP adoption of ALMIS will require changing CBP business processes to align with those of the Coast Guard--but revising business processes would be in the cards anyway, they add, once CBP moves away from its legacy system.
The incremental upgrades Coast Guard has undertaken since 2006 on ALMIS will not interfere with its ongoing operation, and were CBP to cooperate with the Coast Guard on its development, the final version could potentially hew closer to CBP desires, auditors also say. For their part, Coast Guard officials told auditors that the sooner CBP commits to using ALMIS, the more input it'll have into the upgrading project.
Auditors also aren't impressed with a possibility floated by CBP officials to use a NASA system known as the NASA Aviation Maintenance Information System, since CBP would have no ownership nor control over the system, and would use it to manage 270 fixed wing aircraft whereas NAMIS only currently supports 104 aircraft.
Another CBP possibly, that of acquiring IBM Maximo asset management software, gets equal thumbs down from auditors, since that would go against stated goals of aligning CBP and Coast Guard asset management.
CBP has a history of resisting integration of it systems with other DHS components, auditors note in the report.
- download the report, OIG-12-104 (.pdf)