Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- wanting to reach the United States in hope of a better life, are stopped by federal police officers before arriving at El Chaparral port of entry in the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico on November 25, 2018. (Photo by Pedro Pardo / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images
Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- wanting to reach the United States in hope of a better life, are stopped by federal police officers before arriving at El Chaparral port of entry in the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico on November 25, 2018. (Photo by Pedro Pardo / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:58
Video shows hectic scene at border crossing
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:55
Watch FBI director debunk conspiracy theories pushed by Trump supporters
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee on February 10, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee on February 10, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:33
Neera Tanden releases statement on pulling her nomination
PHOTO: KCAL/KCBS
Now playing
01:41
Multiple people killed in crash after SUV and semitruck collide
nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls released Busari pkg intl ldn vpx_00000423.png
nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls released Busari pkg intl ldn vpx_00000423.png
Now playing
02:09
Tears of joy and relief as 279 Nigerian schoolgirls return home
New satellite images taken by Maxar show that North Korea sometime in the past year built a structure that may be intended to obscure entrances to an underground facility where nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components are stored.
PHOTO: Courtesy Maxar
New satellite images taken by Maxar show that North Korea sometime in the past year built a structure that may be intended to obscure entrances to an underground facility where nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components are stored.
Now playing
01:47
See images US intelligence claims is a secret weapons site
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:29
NYT: Third woman comes forward against Gov. Andrew Cuomo
PHOTO: Courtesy Penguin Random House
Now playing
01:00
These 6 Dr. Seuss books won't be published anymore
John King Magic Wall 0301
PHOTO: CNN
John King Magic Wall 0301
Now playing
03:00
US coronavirus numbers coming down, but not enough
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Saud Al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Al-Mojeb told a press conference in Riyadh Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018,  that Khashoggi's killers had been planning the operation since September 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
PHOTO: Virginia Mayo/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Saud Al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Al-Mojeb told a press conference in Riyadh Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, that Khashoggi's killers had been planning the operation since September 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
Now playing
02:52
3 names mysteriously removed from Khashoggi Intel report
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as tear gas is fired during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: STR/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as tear gas is fired during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:16
Footage shows tear gas, flash bangs used on protesters in Myanmar
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
PHOTO: Seth Wenig/Pool/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Now playing
01:12
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to allegations of sexual harassment
 Psaki biden White House Khashoggi Saudi Arabia sotu bash vpx _00011629.png
PHOTO: CNN
Psaki biden White House Khashoggi Saudi Arabia sotu bash vpx _00011629.png
Now playing
03:42
Bash to Psaki: Why hasn't Saudi Arabia been held accountable for murder of Khashoggi?
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:04
NYT: Second former aide accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment
PHOTO: CNN Weather
Now playing
02:23
Over 25 million people under threat for severe storms and flash flooding
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
PHOTO: House TV
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Now playing
02:52
House passes Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package
Jeremy Lin
PHOTO: Getty Images
Jeremy Lin
Now playing
03:40
Ex-NBA star Jeremy Lin says he's been called 'coronavirus' on the court
(CNN) —  

A US Customs and Border Protection hiring contract with a consulting firm was riddled with performance issues over the past year, including an inability of the firm to process quality candidates and provide promised technology, according to internal watchdog findings released Monday.

Ten months into the contract, the consulting firm, Accenture, had only “processed two accepted job offers,” but was paid $13.6 million in start-up costs and other expenses, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General found.

In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture a $297 million contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The President’s directive called on CBP to “take all appropriate action to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.”

For years CBP has struggled to maintain its staffing numbers, let alone raise them by thousands.

“In its first year, CBP’s contract with Accenture has already taken longer to deploy and delivered less capability than promised,” wrote acting Inspector General John V. Kelly.

Stacey Jones, a spokeswoman for Accenture, said the company remains “focused on fulfilling our client’s expectations under our contract.” Jones directed CNN to reach out to CBP for further information regarding their work on the contract.

Issues with the contract come amid the backdrop of Trump’s mass deployment of more than 5,000 active duty troops to the US-Mexico border to supplement CBP’s staffing and resources.

“For us, in this country, we keep America safe by proper application of the law,” a DHS official said in response to the IG report. “It’s a law enforcement mission. It’s not a military mission. It’s a law enforcement mission.”

The inspector general released its report as a “management alert” – reserved for issues that require immediate attention – after the watchdog received multiple hotline complaints related to the performance and management of the contract.

The CBP’s struggles with retention began around five years ago, when the demographics of illegal border crossings began to shift from single men to families and unaccompanied minors, creating new recruiting challenges for the department, according to a DHS official.

The official said that the negative press coverage surrounding the unaccompanied minor crisis in 2014 added to the agency’s staffing challenges.

The US Border Patrol, the CBP’s law enforcement arm at the US borders, has a statutorily established minimum staffing level of just over 21,370 agents, not including the additional request from the president.

Border Patrol staffing levels peaked in 2010 with 21,444 agents nationwide, down to 19,555 in 2018.

However, there was a net gain of 120 agents in 2018 – the first year that had had a net gain since 2013, according to CBP data.

“Hiring is not just anyone that can fill a uniform. It is extremely difficult to be a Border Patrol agent, and so we work really hard to get the right person for the job,” said the official. “You want to hire a lot of people, but you cannot reduce the standards.”

In order to keep up with retention and hire thousands of new agents and officers, CBP decided it would “have to start thinking outside the box, get some more innovative ideas,” said another DHS official.

When planning its hiring surge of thousands of additional personnel, CBP was grappling with two issues – how to build the right kind of hiring capacity and wanting a set of “fresh set of eyes” from outside of the government, the DHS official said.

“When we set this up, we knew that we were trying to be innovative. We were trying to open the aperture and try something new, so, ‘how can we in government really attack this problem differently?’” a DHS official said.

The inspector general, which initiated its review of the contract in July, found that Accenture was “nowhere near” satisfying its goal to hire 7,500 people over the next five years. And the internal watchdog concluded that CBP has “used significant staffing and resources” to help Accenture do its job.

“As such, we are concerned that CBP may have paid Accenture for services and tools not provided,” the inspector general wrote.

Additionally, the company claimed it would have the capability and capacity to perform all steps in the CBP hiring process with 90 days of the contract, but the company “has yet to demonstrate” an efficient or effective process, the inspector general found.

About a week ago, the CBP told Accenture to stop processing applications and think about the activities “where the return on investment really is positive,” a DHS official said.

Some steps in the hiring process are required to be done by a government official, such as the final decision on an offer, so it was necessary for Accenture to hand candidates back to the government for parts of the process, according to a DHS official. Officials found that the handoffs between the government and the private contractor became tedious and time consuming. And in the meantime, the government hiring center got to the point where it could handle the current applicant capacity, a DHS official said.

However, CBP was satisfied with Accenture’s digital marketing and advertising assistance as well as with the applicant care and support it provided, such as making phone calls to applicants during the process.

“We have more work to do here. We have more work to do in terms of figuring out exactly how we are going to do this with Accenture going forward,” said the official.

Accenture also came under internal fire last month, when an employee petition circulated urging the company to cancel its contract with the Trump administration, Bloomberg reported.

“The technology we provide is sold in the name of efficiency, but all we see is technology supercharging inhumane and cruel policies,” the petition stated, according to Bloomberg.

Accenture’s Jones said, “we welcome the feedback from our people and are aware of the posting on our internal blog site. An important part of our culture is that we encourage all our people to have a dialogue about issues that arise in the workplace and beyond.”

Other technology companies have faced similar internal backlash, often over the administration’s immigration and border policies.

The CBP concurred with all of the recommendations made by the inspector general, although it disagreed with some of the watchdog’s conclusions.

“They raised issues and concerns that we ourselves had, that we’re managing, and that’s why we concurred with all their recommendations,” said a DHS official.

Despite the ups and downs with the contract, CBP has lowered the average time it takes to get an applicant hired from more than a year to nine months, according to a DHS official.

CBP is also starting to see evidence that the way it is targeting applicants is “getting a higher percentage of applicants who are qualified to get through the system,” the official said.

There were times when CBP had to have 200 applicants to produce one Border Patrol agent, but the number of applicants is down to about 75 for each hire, according to the official.

Additionally, in last couple months, the number of applicants per month has gone up even though it’s a time of year when the number typically goes down, the official said.

This story has been updated to include comment from Accenture.

CNN’s Aaron Kessler contributed to this report.