GAO Issues Report Critical of CBP's Container Security Initiative (CSI)

On January 25, 2008, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report entitled, "Supply Chain Security: Examinations of High-Risk Cargo at Foreign Seaports Have Increased, but Improved Data Collection and Performance Measures Are Needed." A summary of the report can be found here and a GAO's highlights document can be found here.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has implemented the Container Security Initiative (CSI) to examine cargo it deems to be high risk U.S.-bound cargo at foreign seaports. GAO issued reports on CSI  in 2003 and 2005 finding that CSI helped enhance homeland security and recommended actions to strengthen the program. This report updates the information and assesses how CBP has (1) contributed to strategic planning for supply chain security, (2) strengthened CSI operations, and (3) evaluated CSI operations.

GAO recommends that CBP enhance data collected on CSI team performance, host government examinations, and related performance measures. CBP concurred with the recommendation to enhance data team performance and partially concurred with the need to enhance data on host examinations, stating that it already conducts actions to improve 
such data. However, GAO states that these actions do not systematically collect data on people, processes, or technology used by host-governments to examine U.S.-bound containers. CBP partially concurred with the need to enhance performance measures, but stated it already captures core program functions. GAO still sees room for improvement.