U.S. Customs and Border Protection (ACE)
 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (ACE)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in engaged in a multi-year modernization effort to update its information systems.  This modernization effort began in 2001 with the development of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), a replacement for CBP’s current Automated Commercial System (ACS).  The purpose of ACE is to streamline business processes, to facilitate growth in trade, to ensure cargo security, to provide means to combat terrorism through monitoring what materials and which persons enter and leave the country, and to foster participation in global commerce, while ensuring compliance with US laws and regulations.
Main Sail has been supporting the program since the beginning and still supporting the program, with skilled consultants performing in various roles on the program.  Our consultants are providing leadership skills in SAP Development and Maintenance, UI Design, Systems Engineering, Websphere Java Software Development and Software Integrated Testing (SWIT).  We have software engineers who have helped develop best practices such as the re-engineered Business Rule document used to describe artifacts, user roles, portal validation rules, system validation rules, system response, and store rules.  This template is now being used across the program and has been recognized by management as providing best practices for gathering business requirements.  This is a key document used by developers for writing Java applications.  SWIT, SIT, and SAT use the business requirements for writing test cases in the Mercury Quality Center.
Our consultants have facilitated and managed system design projects with a specific focus on the ensuring transparency of the clearance of imported merchandise, collection of appropriate revenues through available paper and electronic methods.  Coordination of systems design with appropriate statutes specific to CBP and skilled in negotiating with other Federal agencies whose policies are dependent upon CBP import systems.  Prepare, present and defend CBP policy and systems design within CBP and to external stakeholders including international and national trade organizations, Congress and international Customs organizations.
This also includes an excellent understanding on the business processes within CBP for Import Cargo. This covers the Manifest declaration process for Truck, Ocean & Rail, Entry processing and Cargo Release. Also have a reasonable exposure to the Targeting processes for Import Cargo.  An overview of skill sets include:
  • Software Documentation, Testing, Critical Design Review, Requirements Gathering, and Business Analysis.
  • Project Management (PMP Certified), Requirements Gathering and management (Rational RUP certified),  Enterprise Architecture (TOGAF 8 Certified)
  • SAP Basis Administration; Integration & Test lead; Control Account Management capable
  • SAP, Oracle Federal Financials, Software Integration
  • Provide IT solutions for both public and private sector clients.
  • Enterprise and System Architecture, Data Architecture, Requirements Management
Main Sail is designing, coding and implementing the electronic Truck Manifest. This task is one of many that involve applying the Customs Enterprise Life Cycle Methodology (ELCM) to integrate multiple projects and other ongoing CBP operations into a single comprehensive and integrated system. Specifically, the electronic Truck Manifest solution will display to the Border Patrol information to facilitate the decision to: let the truck and its contents enter the United States and if the truck driver(s) and conveyance should also enter.
Main Sail has both functional and technical consultants supporting ACE in different ways.  We have Java developers experienced in building applications using IBM’s Websphere product.  We have System Engineer’s responsible for writing RSSs, Use Cases, Business Rules, and Quality Center Test Cases.  Our consultants have participated in releases A1, A2.2, A2.3.1.a, A2.3.2 of ACE.  Main Sail consultants are very familiar with ACE’s mythology and strict guidelines for work products (key deliverables).
Objectives Achieved
The Main Sail team effectively meets the technical requirements of the contract and the customer. The Main Sail team has an excellent understanding of CBP Cargo / Trade mission in the Import Cargo areas, and a clear conceptual understanding of the current process as well as CBP mission to integrate the revenue process with SAP in the CBP Office of Finance.
The team is also familiar with CBP’s Cargo Control and Release (CCR) and Entry Summary Accounting and Revenue (ESAR) Division’s cargo/trade mission in the following way:
The CCR division works from directives taken from the Safe Port Act following the September 11th Terrorist Incident.  It was determined greater electronic reporting efficiencies could improve securing U.S. ports and trade movement into the country.  Entities supporting all modes of transportation (Air, Rail, Truck and Sea) which bring goods into the country are being held to a higher level of reporting.  The Trade (carriers, shippers, importers, consolidators, port authorities, etc) are being asked to transmit a greater granularity of data.  The Importer Security Filing (ISF) data collected in conjunction with manifest reporting (sometimes referred to as “10 + 2”) is one legislative vehicle used to collect this information.  The Trade communicates electronically with CBP using 4 primary standards CAMIR, CATAIR, X.12 and UN/EDIFACT.  In recent years these standards have been updated to embrace the new levels of reporting expected by the Trade. CBP’s mission in part, is to effectively communicate (through the production of implementation guides), how the Trade is to format this new collection of data utilizing transaction sets.  CBP computer system under the ACE Project is being updated to enhance its robustness and ability to receive and process data more efficiently.
We possess subject matter experts in the field of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and X.12 Standards.  Our resources on the ACE Project are intimately involved in assisting CBP with the task of developing and producing implementations guides and standards for the Trade regarding all 4 primary standards (CAMIR, X12, CATAIR and UN/EDIFACT).  Mail Sail resources also assist in defining system requirements, new business rules and use cases to support the functionality identified in the implementation guides.
CBP’s CCR Mission for Trade under the ESAR Division is to diligently replace paper based processes with automated procedures.  This will improve interaction with Trade which facilitates better collection and accounting of duties, taxes and fees so that cargo is released more efficiently. Automating the interaction between other government agencies and CBP helps to secure the safety of cargo.  Main Sail has deployed resources intimately involved in the re-design, designating ACE as the system of record for Entry Summary Processing.  We possess resources working hand in hand with CBP to automate key processing procedures such as the automation of Type 03 Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties Case Reporting with Department of Commerce, Liquidation Worksheet, Post Summary Corrections/
The Main Team has developed an excellent understanding of how Trucks, Rail, and Ocean shipments are processed at the CBP Ports, and have been involved in working closely with CBP Subject Matter Experts for almost seven years.  We are able to submit Truck, Ocean, Rail manifests/shipments and process them at ports. Good understanding of Enforcement processing. Able to generate and process EDI messages for master bills, house bills, event processing for enforcement, holds, remove holds, In-Bond processing, multi-transit processing, practical knowledge of equipment at truck ports (transponders, barcode scanners, etc.).
The Main Sail team has also worked extensively with over 45 PGAs to integrate agency requirements with CBP Processes. Conducted workshops for PGA and developed PGA Concept of Operations to align PGA needs with CBP processes
Many of our consultants have played key roles in one of more ACE releases such as Accounts Management A2.1, Entry Summary A2.2, Antidumping and Countervailing Duties A2.3.1.a, Post Summary Correction (A2.3.2), and Reconciliation (A2.3.2).  Our consultants have given senior management presentations for SDR (System Design Review).