The US Customs and Border Protection is taking out a Technology Modernization Fund loan to speed up a program that has struggled in recent years.
TMF’s board of directors has announced that it will loan CBP $ 15 million to modernize its Automated Business Environment (ACE) collection platform.
The ACE program, according to the Homeland Security Department, is “the backbone of US Customs and Border Protection’s business information handling and risk management activities and is key to the implementation of many transformation initiatives. commercial agency. ACE enables efficient import and export facilitation and serves as the primary system used by US government agencies to process cargo.
CBP has been working on ACE’s capabilities since 1994 and the program has seen its fair share of upheavals. In 2006, Congress mandated CBP to create a “one stop shop” to regulate trade flows and more effectively enforce laws and regulations relating to international trade. The Government Accountability Office said in a 2018 report on ACE that performance issues halted the implementation of ACE from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama set a deadline of December 31, 2016 to complete the system.
GAO found in its report that CBP was making real progress with ACE in recent years. Users told GAO that the portal reduced costs by making trade processing more efficient and strengthened enforcement of trade laws and regulations.
But auditors say CBP has delayed the deployment of the collection platform – a capacity to collect import duties, taxes and fees – as it considers alternative approaches to make that capacity operational.
This is where the TMF loan comes in now.
CBP said it would use the additional funding to accelerate the collections modernization effort, which in 2018 GAO said it faced several demanding challenges forcing the agency to pause and reconsider its approach.
Two years later, CBP says TMF will help move the platform for collecting 30-year-old COBOL code to the cloud.
“CBP will also achieve operational efficiencies that will reduce its current software expense and reduce other existing development and maintenance expenses. CBP anticipates that it will have a greater capacity to fulfill its mission by modernizing the core functionality of its collection system. This modernization will make CBP’s operations more efficient, resilient and secure, while preserving the country’s global economic competitiveness through legitimate trade for the benefit of US businesses and partner government agencies, ”the agency said in the statement announcing the price.
Phil Landfried, CBP Chief Information Officer recently retired after 16 years of federal service. Landfried was instrumental in fixing ACE, implementing agile software development to deploy software that improved cargo handling and the agency’s relationships with its business partners and other government agencies.
It’s the 10e TMF Board of Directors loan to organizations under the Government-Wide IT Modernization Account. It’s the first prize since October when the council loaned the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Department of Agriculture a total of $ 12 million to move away from paper systems.
Some members of Congress have been pushing for more funding for the TMF as part of the coronavirus stimulus bills. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and 11 other Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the leadership of the House and to the chairman and senior member of the appropriations committee requesting include $ 1 billion for the TMF in the latest stimulus bill.
The original version of the Senate bill did not provide any additional funding for the TMF.