The U.S. Customs Service's Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence Center Program

Gao ID: T-GGD-87-8 March 18, 1987

In response to a congressional request, GAO discussed its review of the Customs Service's command, control, communication, and intelligence (C3I) center program, specifically its objectives, current status, and interagency coordination. Customs divided its drug control efforts into several areas, including: (1) air interdiction operations that detect illegal drug smuggling through the use of private airplanes; (2) marine interdiction operations that detect smuggling with marine vessels operating within the 12-mile coastal water boundary of the United States; and (3) inspection of persons and cargo entering the United States at airports, seaports, and land border crossings. In 1986, Congress appropriated $41 million for the establishment of three C3I centers and a national command and control center. Customs awarded contracts for centers in California, Florida, and a national facility in Oklahoma; however, it does not plan to include a facility in Texas for air interdiction activities at this time. Customs has kept other agencies informed about its plans and signed an interagency agreement to develop and implement its systems acquisition plan. Although center construction will begin soon, several matters need resolution: (1) the command role of agencies collocating at the centers; (2) the need for the national command center; and (3) the cost of the program. Without a formal study: (1) there is no justification for a national center or its location; and (2) it is not clear whether the $41 million Congress appropriated was too little or too much for the program.

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