GAO report recommends more TWIC planning
Jan 3, 2005 12:03 PM
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has told the Senate Transportation Committee that better planning is needed by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to develop and operate the maritime transportation worker identification card (TWIC) program.
GAO recommended that TSA institute an industry best practices planning program by developing a comprehensive project plan for managing the remaining life of the project, and to develop specific, detailed plans for risk mitigation and cost-benefit and alternatives analyses.
Three main factors, all of which resulted in delays for testing a prototype of the ID system, caused the TSA to miss its initial August 2004 target date for issuing the cards, GAO said.
Officials had difficulty obtaining timely approval to proceed with the prototype test from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), extra time was required to identify data to be collected for a cost-benefit analysis, and additional work to assess card technologies was required.
DHS also has not determined when it may begin issuing cards.
The GAO made the comments in a 27-page report December 10 to the Senate committee.
"In the future, TSA will face difficult challenges as it moves forward with developing and operating the card program," the report concluded. "For example, developing regulations that identify eligibility requirements for the card. An additional challenge, and one that holds potential to adversely affect the entire program, is that TSA does not yet have a comprehensive plan in place for managing the project. Failure to develop such a plan places the card program at higher risk of cost overruns, missed deadlines, and underperformance."
The report stems from part of a multilayered effort to strengthen port security through the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
The act calls for DHS to issue a worker identification card that uses biological metrics, such as fingerprints, to control access to secure areas of ports or ships.
Charged with the responsibility for developing the card, TSA initially planned to issue the ID credential to about six million maritime workers, including drivers that seek access to port facilities.
To see the report, click here for the GAO Web site.
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