(Donna Burton/Customs and Border Protection)

OIG Report: Border Patrol Paid Accenture $13.6M to Help Boost Hiring, Only 2 New Hires Processed

Global federal contractor Accenture was paid $13.6 million last year to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection hire an additional 7,500 Border Patrol officers, but a new report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General reveals that the work led to only two new hires.

The DHS OIG report said that the contractor did not fulfill the requirements of the contract and should refund the funds to the government.

“As of October 1, 2018 — 10 months into the contract — CBP has paid Accenture approximately $13.6 million for startup costs, security requirements, recruiting, and applicant support. In return, Accenture has processed two accepted job offers,” the report notes. “CBP risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations.”

CBP awarded the $297 million contract to help meet the demands of recruiting and hiring agents and officers in response to President Trump’s Jan. 25, 2017 executive order, which called for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents.    

The OIG investigation also found that Accenture’s use of “EyeDetect” software to prescreen applicants raises legal concerns. The software, which catches deception based on eye and facial movements, was piloted at a hiring expo last August without the approval of the DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate.

Last month: DEA and ICE Put Out Contracts for Street Light Camera Surveillance Equipment

“CBP must not allow EyeDetect to be deployed until it is properly assessed and approved as required,” the OIG reported. “If Accenture revises how it uses EyeDetect, any subsequent revisions also must be properly vetted.”

CBP agreed with the recommendations in the report, which are to assess the contractor’s performance, analyze the the cost effectiveness of the contract payment structure to Accenture, get prior approval before the utilization of EyeDetect and develop and implement performance metrics for the contract.

CBP responded to the recommendations that it plans to develop a course of action, which will include a decision to change or keep the contract, which it estimates will be successfully completed by March 31.

Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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