More Department of Homeland Security major acquisition programs are meeting their cost and schedule goals than a year ago based on a sample of programs reviewed, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued last Thursday.

The annual report of DHS acquisition programs shows 25 of 27 programs with approved acquisition program baselines (APBs) are on track to meet current cost and schedule goals versus 20 that were meeting theses goals a year ago, GAO says in its report, Homeland Security Acquisitions: Outcomes Have Improved but Actions Needed to Enhance Oversight of Schedule Goals (GAO-20-170SP).

However, the report cautions that “some programs, although currently on track to meet their goals, are nonetheless facing risks of breaching schedule or cost goals, or have plans to revise their baseline in the future.” GAO also says that the partial government shutdown that occurred at the end of 2018 and lasted into early 2019, led some programs having to adjust their schedules and others having challenges spending their funding before the end of the fiscal year.

The two programs that declared breaches are the Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT) program, managed by Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration’s checked baggage screening program.

The IFT program is in breach of schedule due to longer than expected negotiations with the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona to install towers on the Native American Nation’s tribal lands. Full operating capability for the program is expected to slip until March 2021 versus the previous date of September 2020. Elbit Systems of America [ESLT] is the IFT prime contractor.

TSA in August updated the life-cycle cost estimates of its Electronic Baggage Screening Program to reflect a higher baseline for operations and maintenance costs. GAO says the breach is due to TSA sustaining the technology for longer than planned. TSA buys checked baggage explosives detection systems from Smiths Detection, L3Harris Technologies [LHX] and Leidos [LDOS].

GAO says 11 of the 25 programs meeting their APBs revised cost and schedule goals between January 2018 and August 2019. One of these programs, the new biometric identity management platform called Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART), suffered delays in awarding contracts as well as a bid protest, with full operating capability delayed 33 months. On the good news front, the re-baselined cost is $2 billion, or 33 percent, lower due to a better solution for biometric data storage.

Northrop Grumman [NOC] is currently the prime contractor for HART.