The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) three recommendations regarding the department’s efforts to improve workforce planning and monitoring.
The GAO analysis stemmed from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within DHS increasing its resources to enforce a prohibition on importing goods made with forced labor. Still, the GAO maintains the CBP has not determined its workforce needs.
Per the GAO, CBP managers lack complete and consistent data summarizing cases. The GAO cited a circumstance in which CBP detained shipments under 13 Withhold Release Orders (WRO) from 2016 through 2019, but the Forced Labor Division used incomplete and inconsistent summary data to monitor its investigations.
The GAO has recommended the Commissioner of CBP ensure that the Office of Trade performs and documents a needs assessment to identify potential gaps in the workforce of its Forced Labor Division; ensure the Forced Labor Division issues guidance or takes other steps to improve the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of its summary data on active, suspended and inactive forced labor investigations; and ensure the Office of Trade sets targets for key performance indicators related to the enforcement of the prohibition on forced labor imports.
The GAO indicated once there is confirmation regarding the actions taken in response to the recommendations, it would provide updated information.