McCaskill, Portman Raise Oversight Concerns Over $90 Million in Equipment Contracts at U.S. Ports of Entry


APRIL 30, 2015


Sarah Feldman (McCaskill): 202-228-6263

Caitlin Conant (Portman): 202-224-5190

In letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Senators highlight troubling lack of oversight identified in recent Inspector General’s report 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Rob Portman of Ohio, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, today sent a letter raising concerns that U.S. Customs and Border Protection failed to adequately oversee more than $90 million in equipment maintenance contracts for screening cargo and vehicles entering the United States—a lack of oversight that may have compromised the operation of the equipment. 

In a letter to the agency, the Senators raised concerns detailed in a recent Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s report which found that the agency relies solely on contractors self-reporting their own performance and does not verify whether equipment maintenance occurs according to manufacturers’ specifications. Some equipment is being used far beyond its usefulness while other equipment has been taken out of operation well before it has reached its estimated useful life. 

“[U.S. Customs and Border Protection] relies solely on contractor self-reporting on their own performance,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “CBP does not verify whether the maintenance is done according to manufacturers’ specifications or whether it is done at all. As a result, the [Non-Intrusive Inspection] program could be operating with equipment that is not fully functional and CBP cannot ensure that contract requirements have been met. The Inspector General also found that CBP’s failure to ensure that its equipment was adequately maintained had resulted in some machines being used beyond their estimated useful life while other machines were taken out of operation before reaching that estimated useful life.” 

The Senators requested the agency provide answers to how it plans to better review and monitor contractor performance. The full text of the letter can be found here