BORDER SECURITY TECHNOLOGY ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2017
(House of Representatives - January 31, 2017)

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[Pages H784-H785]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]





         BORDER SECURITY TECHNOLOGY ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2017

  Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 505) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to 
strengthen accountability for deployment of border security technology 
at the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes, as 
amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 505

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Border Security Technology 
     Accountability Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. BORDER SECURITY TECHNOLOGY ACCOUNTABILITY.

       (a) In General.--Subtitle C of title IV of the Homeland 
     Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 231 et seq.) is amended by 
     adding at the end the following new section:

     ``SEC. 434. BORDER SECURITY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM MANAGEMENT.

       ``(a) Planning Documentation.--For each border security 
     technology acquisition program of the Department that is 
     determined to be a major acquisition program, the Secretary 
     shall--
       ``(1) ensure that each such program has a written 
     acquisition program baseline approved by the relevant 
     acquisition decision authority;
       ``(2) document that each such program is meeting cost, 
     schedule, and performance thresholds as specified in such 
     baseline, in compliance with relevant departmental 
     acquisition policies and the Federal Acquisition Regulation; 
     and
       ``(3) have a plan for meeting program implementation 
     objectives by managing contractor performance.
       ``(b) Adherence to Standards.--The Secretary, acting 
     through the Under Secretary for Management and the 
     Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall 
     ensure border security technology acquisition program 
     managers who are responsible for carrying out this section 
     adhere to relevant internal control standards identified by 
     the Comptroller General of the United States. The 
     Commissioner shall provide information, as needed, to assist 
     the Under Secretary in monitoring proper program management 
     of border security technology acquisition programs under this 
     section.
       ``(c) Plan.--The Secretary, acting through the Under 
     Secretary for Management, in coordination with the Under 
     Secretary for Science and Technology and the Commissioner of 
     U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall submit to the 
     appropriate congressional committees a plan for testing and 
     evaluation, as well as the use of independent verification 
     and validation resources, for border security technology so 
     that new border security technologies are evaluated through a 
     series of assessments, processes, and audits to ensure 
     compliance with relevant departmental acquisition policies 
     and the Federal Acquisition Regulation, as well as the 
     effectiveness of taxpayer dollars.
       ``(d) Major Acquisition Program Defined.--In this section, 
     the term `major acquisition program' means a Department 
     acquisition program that is estimated by the Secretary to 
     require an eventual total expenditure of at least 
     $300,000,000 (based on fiscal year 2017 constant dollars) 
     over its life cycle cost.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents of the 
     Homeland Security Act of 2002 is amended by inserting after 
     the item relating to section 433 the following new item:

``Sec. 434. Border security technology program management.''.

     SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZATION OF 
                   APPROPRIATIONS.

       No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to 
     carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act. This 
     Act and such amendments shall be carried out using amounts 
     otherwise authorized for such purposes.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Arizona (Ms. McSally) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Keating) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Arizona.


                             General Leave

  Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include any extraneous material in the Record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Arizona?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 505, the Border Security 
Technology Accountability Act.
  This bill seeks to improve the management of border security 
technology projects, safeguard taxpayer dollars, and increase 
accountability for some of the Department of Homeland Security's 
largest acquisition programs.
  As a subcommittee chair with responsibility for the entire 2,000-mile 
Southern border, and as a Member whose district in southern Arizona 
represents 80 miles of the border, I have spent countless hours meeting 
with border residents, local law enforcement, ranchers, and men and 
women who tirelessly patrol the border every day.
  I know firsthand that when our border technology projects lack the 
proper oversight and accountability, it is bad for taxpayers, those who 
defend our border, and those who live along our border.
  That is why this bill is so important.
  The Government Accountability Office has repeatedly included DHS 
acquisition management activities on its high-risk list, demonstrating 
that these programs are highly susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse, or 
mismanagement.

                              {time}  1515

  The Secure Border Initiative, also known as SBInet, is a prime 
example of acquisition mismanagement. Initial plans developed in 2005 
and 2006 call for SBInet to extend across the entire U.S.-Mexico land 
border; however, SBInet deployment in Arizona was fraught with 
mismanagement, including a failure to adequately set requirements so 
the system would meet the needs of its users: our border patrol agents.
  After spending nearly $1 billion of taxpayers' money with minimal 
results, DHS canceled SBInet in 2011, showing the high cost of failing 
to properly oversee new border acquisitions. With a renewed focus from 
the administration and this Congress on improving border security, this 
bill helps ensure Americans' dollars are used as efficiently and 
effectively as possible. It requires that border security technology 
programs at the Department have an acquisition program baseline: a 
critical document that lays out what a program will do, what it will 
cost, and when it will be completed.
  The bill also requires programs to adhere to internal control 
standards and have a plan for testing and evaluation, as well as the 
use of independent verification and validation resources. Being proper 
stewards of our limited resources requires that programs are on time, 
on budget, and follow sound management procedures. We cannot afford to 
waste another minute or another dollar. We must put into place strong, 
effective technology programs to secure our border.
  I urge all Members to join me in supporting these basic commonsense 
cost-control mechanisms so that we can responsibly secure our border.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. KEATING. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I rise in support of H.R. 505.
  I would like to thank the gentlewoman from Arizona (Ms. McSally) for 
her work on this bill.
  Over the past several years, the Government Accountability Office has 
examined various Department of Homeland Security programs and concluded 
that the Department has not followed standard best practices for 
acquisitions management. Though DHS has taken steps to improve its 
performance, there remains specific deficiencies in how it carries out 
major acquisitions.
  When a DHS acquisition program falls short in terms of effectiveness 
or efficiency, this not only risks undermining that program, but also 
risks wasting the limited homeland security dollars that are available 
to us. We owe it to the American public not to repeat our mistakes.
  This bill is intended to strengthen accountability for the 
acquisition and use of border security technology by the Department of 
Homeland Security. This bill would require all major acquisitions for 
border security technology to have written documentation of costs, 
schedule, and performance thresholds and demonstrate that the program 
is meeting these thresholds.
  The bill also requires coordination and submission to Congress of a 
plan for testing and evaluation, as well as the use of independent 
verification and validation of resources for border security 
technology.
  Addressing border security technology acquisitions is an important 
step toward bettering acquisitions and

[[Page H785]]

management overall. We owe it to the American taxpayer to make sure we 
are managing these investments wisely and preventing wasteful spending.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 505 aims to focus and improve the way we invest and 
manage border security technology by providing a specific framework for 
accountability and oversight on behalf of the American taxpayer. I urge 
my colleagues to support this bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I once again urge my colleagues to support H.R. 505 to 
have transparency, accountability, and efficiency of vital border 
security technology projects.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Arizona (Ms. McSally) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 505, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________