GAO says CBP took steps to address training recommendations

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report last week that found U.S. Customs and Border Protection took steps to address GAO recommendations related to officer training.

In December 2011, the GAO reported that CBP revised its training program for new officers to meet training standards, but the GAO concluded CBP could do more to address training needs. The new report found CBP fulfilled three of GAO's four recommendations with actions underway to address the remaining recommendation.

The three closed recommendations to CBP included conducting a comprehensive assessment of covert test results to identify the causes of and systemic issues underlying the results, establishing a policy specifying roles and responsibilities for training and related oversight and developing a plan for conducting a training needs assessment to address skill gaps for incumbent CBP officers followed by the implementation of the plan. The GAO report determined CBP implemented the three recommendations.

The other recommendation was for CBP to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Back to Basics refresher course for new officers and subsequent follow-on training. The GAO determined CBP completed an evaluation of the Back to Basics course, but it has yet to conduct an evaluation of the follow-on training. CBP officials said CBP's Office of Training and Development plans to complete the evaluation of follow-on training by November. The GAO said the recommendation will stay open until the completion of the evaluation.

The CBP, which exists within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and its 22,000 officers are responsible for securing U.S. borders and facilitating legal trade and travel.