An Irish management, consulting, and outsourcing firm that provides technical and planning support to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Accenture PLC, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a multinational management, consulting, and professional services firm that provides strategy, consulting, digital and technology services, and outsourced operations to government agencies and large corporations. The company’s revenue in 2019 was $43.2 billion, it employs approximately 492,000 people, and operates in more than 200 cities in 53 countries. Accenture’s contracts with the U.S. federal government are delivered through its subsidiary Accenture Federal Services.
Accenture has multiple contracts with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). From 2005 to 2020, Accenture held 28 contracts with CBP, totaling more than $256 million. Accenture was highlighted as one of the fourteen main border security companies in a 2019 report published by the Transnational Institute and No Mas Muertes. As of August 2020, Accenture has two contracts with CBP, supporting the agency’s IT data centers and providing biometrics services, as detailed below.
The company has supported CBP’s surveillance of immigrant populations in the U.S. by migrating its Information Technology (IT) systems to the "cloud." CBP awarded Accenture this $307 million contract in 2017, to support the agency’s National Data Center in Springfield, Virginia. The project’s objective was to consolidate all of CBP’s IT systems under one contract and to migrate them from the agency's three data centers to cloud-storage. These systems “play a critical role in enabling CBP to accomplish its border security, trade, and travel missions,” according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBP’s parent agency. For example, they include CBP’s Automated Targeting System which, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “stores a tremendous amount of information about anyone who travels across a U.S. border,” as well as CBP's biometric collection system, which feeds into DHS’s central Northrop Grumman-designed HART biometrics database, which stores comprehensive biometric profiles of more than 200 million people. Accenture's contract is part of a process DHS started in 2008 to consolidate its 43 data centers and move its IT systems to cloud storage services, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The target date for Accenture to complete the migration of CBP’s systems was September 2019, however its contract with CBP could be extended until October 2022.
Accenture also provides biometric vetting software support services to CBP. In September 2019, CBP awarded the company a $1.9 million contract to provide application and development support for the web-based vetting system called Electronic Secured Adjudication Forms Environment (e-SAFE). The system uses an online application that includes fingerprints and photographs to vet certain people who wish to enter the U.S. as non-immigrants. This system allows CBP to collect more information than is necessary for its purpose, and to collect information about unrelated individuals, including from social media accounts. CBP then enters this information into DHS’s central biometrics database HART, formerly IDENT.
In the past, Accenture was conducting hiring for CBP. In 2017, CBP contracted the company to recruit 7,500 new border patrol agents over five years. However, a government audit revealed that ten months into the contract, Accenture processed only two accepted job offers after CBP had already paid the company approximately $13.6 million. As a result, CBP canceled this in April 2019.
Additionally, from 2015 to 2019, Accenture held a $60 million contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for data center planning and technical support.