ACE in the hole with GAO

The Homeland Security Department has spent $1 billion on the Automated Commercial Environment, but delays and defects have muddled its deployment, a new Government Accountability Office report said.

ACE, an import and export processing system, ultimately is expected to cost $3.3 billion. "Release 3 testing and pilot activities were delayed and have produced system defect trends," GAO said, and Release 4 also has been plagued by defects.

The program's expenditure plan "largely satisfies the legislative conditions imposed by the Congress," a transaction-processing goal has been 99.9 percent successful, and DHS has addressed some of GAO's previous recommendations, the watchdog agency said.

But, the report added, "much remains to be done before these recommendations are fully implemented." The contract was awarded in April 2001 to IBM Corp. and a team that includes Lockheed Martin Corp.

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