This question does not ask about the monetary cost of constructing a wall, fence or other physical barrier.

According a to U.S. Government Accountability Office report published in February 2017 SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY Additional Actions Needed to Better Assess Fencing's Contributions to Operations and Provide Guidance for Identifying Capability Gaps (GAO-17-331)

CBP cannot measure the contribution of fencing to border security operations along the southwest border because it has not developed metrics for this assessment

In July 2018 the GAO published SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY CBP Is Evaluating Designs and Locations for Border Barriers but Is Proceeding Without Key Information (GAO-18-614)

Specifically, we found that CBP had not accounted for the impact of its investment in border fencing and infrastructure on border security. We recommended that CBP conduct an evaluation of the impact of tactical infrastructure on effective control of the border.6 In February 2017, we found that CBP had not developed metrics that systematically used the data it collected to assess the contributions of border fencing to its mission.7

which again reiterated the need for the development of metrics which would allow assessment and measurement of

the contributions of pedestrian and vehicle fencing to border security along the southwest border

which the CBP concurred with

The agency concurred with our recommendation, and officials reported that CBP plans to finalize metrics in January 2019.

Given that it is still currently early in January 2019, has the U.S. Government yet published any metrics whereby the contribution of a wall or physical barrier can be independently assessed and measured?

  • Comments discussing an earlier version of the question archived.If you wish to further discuss the suitability of the question, please do it on Meta, not here. – yannis Jan 11 at 14:31

I e-mailed Rebecca Gambler, the contact person for the audit you mentioned. She provided this explanation, which also describes how to check the status of audit recommendations on the GAO website:

Thank you for your interest in our 2017 report. The first recommendation from that report remains open. On the report’s Webpage (https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-331), there is a tab near the top titled “Recommendations,” which provides information on the status of the recommendations from the report.

So although CBP initially said that they would have these metrics created by March 2018, they have not done so. The current status says:

As of October 2018, DHS planned to test the metrics and implement them in the concept of operations by September 2019.


No, not yet as per 10 Januari 2019.

A search yields the document itself pretty easily, and "GOA-17-331" is specific enough to quickly yield any other document that refers to it.

If you want more information, https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-331 lists an email and a phone number to contact GOA directly.

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