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Auditors warn of delays, overruns in Customs system

The Homeland Security Department’s massive new system for processing import-export data faces continuing cost and scheduling problems, the General Accounting Office said today. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS agency, last year inherited the Automated Commercial Environment project from the Customs Service. IBM Corp. in 2001 had won a competition for the $1.3 billion, 15-year ACE program. Since then, cost and scheduling problems have multiplied, GAO reported. ACE releases 1 and 2 cost $109.4 million instead of the planned $86.1 million, while releases 3 and 4 ballooned from $146.4 million to $192.4 million, GAO said. Meanwhile, Release 1 was delayed by a month, Release 2 by five months, Release 3 by five months and Release 4 by seven months, the auditors found. Release 3 was scheduled for completion in March but has been pushed to August. Release 4, scheduled for July, has been pushed to February 2005. Full Story

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