GAO Issues Report on CBP Progress in Implementing the 10+2 Importer Security Filing Rule

On September 10, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the progress Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made in implementing Importer Security Filing (ISF) and Additional Carrier Requirements, collectively known as the "10+2 rule." 

Specifically, GAO assessed: (1) the extent to which CBP conducted the 10+2 regulatory assessment in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, (2) how CBP used information it collected and assessed to inform its efforts to implement the 10+2 rule since January 2009, and (3) the extent to which CBP has used the additional 10+2 data to identify high-risk cargo.

GAO found that CBP's 10+2 regulatory assessment generally adheres to OMB guidance however, CBP's assessment could be improved by greater transparency regarding the selection of alternatives analyzed and a more complete analysis. GAO found that the assessment lacked transparency in that it did not explain how the four alternatives considered for the rule-variations in what and how many data elements are to be collected-were selected or how the preferred alternative was chosen. Accordingly, if, as CBP officials stated, an update to the regulatory assessment might be published in the future, greater transparency could help justify the scope of alternatives analyzed in the regulatory assessment and provide insight into CBP's decision making. 

Regarding ISF collection, report states: 

CBP data indicate that in July 2010, approximately 80% of shipments were ISF compliant, and CBP officials said that most carriers had submitted stow plans. CBP publishes answers to frequently asked questions on its Web site and has conducted outreach sessions with the trade industry to discuss errors in ISF submissions and help improve compliance. 

GAO noted that, while 10+2 rule data elements are available for identifying high-risk cargo, CBP has not yet finalized its national security targeting criteria to include these additional data elements to support high-risk targeting. 

CBP has assessed the submitted 10+2 data elements for risk factors, and according to CBP officials, access to information on stow plans has enabled CBP to identify more than 1,000 unmanifested containers-containers that are inherently high risk because their contents are not listed on a ship's manifest. In addition, while GAO found that CBP has conducted a preliminary analysis indicating that the collection of the additional 10+2 data elements could help determine risk earlier in the supply chain, CBP has not yet finalized its national security targeting criteria for identifying high-risk cargo containers or established project time frames and milestones-best practices in project management-for doing so. According to the report, such efforts could help provide CBP with goals for finishing this project, thus better positioning it to improve its targeting of high-risk cargo.