Report Card on DHS – Fails Leadership Test After 16 Years As An Agency

Major Management and Performance Challenges Facing the DHS

OIG – DHS
Annual Report
11/03/17
(excerpts)

Underlying causes of DHS persistent management and performance, which hamper efforts to accomplish the homeland security mission efficiently and effectively. The challenges are two-fold.

First, Department leadership must commit itself to ensuring DHS operates more as a single entity rather than a collection of components. The lack of progress in reinforcing a unity of effort translates to a missed opportunity for greater effectiveness.

Second, Department leadership must establish and enforce a strong internal control environment typical of a more mature organization. The current environment of relatively weak internal controls affects all aspects of the Department’s mission, from border protection to immigration enforcement and from protection against terrorist attacks and natural disasters to cybersecurity.

The Department’s investment of billions of dollars in programs and operations without implementing strong internal controls runs counter to ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.

Challenges in Committing to Intra-component Cooperation

In the last 3 years, the Department has formally attempted to establish a centralized authority structure through its “One DHS” and “Unity of Effort” initiatives.

We have seen little evidence of proactive effort by leadership to view the organization holistically, to forcefully communicate the need for cooperation among components, and to establish programs or policies that ensure unity, even though such effort is a necessary precondition to unified action. Even if DHS leadership articulated the concept of unified action to the components more clearly and forcefully, weak or nonexistent central authority hinders oversight, monitoring, and compliance.

Workforce Challenges – A strong internal control environment requires commitment to competence in the workplace

1 – The Department, CBP, and ICE face significant challenges in identifying, recruiting, hiring, and fielding the number of law enforcement officers mandated in the January 2017 Executive Orders.

2 – Proper workforce staffing processes include identifying mission-critical occupations and competencies to achieve strategic goals.

3 – The Department does not always determine how to properly support employees once hired to ensure they are well-equipped to carry out their responsibilities while maintaining a high level of morale. DHS often fails to update and clarify guidance and policies, ensure full and open communication between employees and management, offer sufficient
training, and reduce administrative burdens.

4 – Disparate data streams, legacy systems, and unsuccessful attempts to transform IT systems can prevent gathering of reliable data to assess risk, make decisions, and establish performance measures. The Department is not addressing IT systems holistically.

a – The Department does not always fully assess risk to determine priorities or catch problems early in the acquisition process before they evolve into larger problems.

b – CBP’s IT systems and infrastructure did not fully support its objective of preventing the entry of inadmissible aliens to the country.

c – ICE personnel investigating in-country visa overstays had to piece together information from dozens of systems and databases, some of which were not integrated and did not electronically share information.

The Way Forward

According to GAO, five elements are key to making progress in high-risk areas: leadership commitment, capacity, an action plan, monitoring, and demonstrated progress.

DHS leadership has not always exhibited sustained commitment to fully integrating its components.

The Department also lacks a clear structure of internal controls to define priorities for the future, assess overall risk, examine and monitor the performance of current programs and operations, communicate quality information, and ensure accountability. Each of these elements of internal control is especially critical with the ever-increasing attention on national security issues, such as border control and immigration enforcement, which will exert sustained pressure on DHS to achieve its mission.

Read the complete report letter HERE.

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With the passage of the Homeland Security Act by Congress in November 2002, the Department of Homeland Security formally came into being as a stand-alone, Cabinet-level department to further coordinate and unify national homeland security efforts, opening its doors on March 1, 2003.

PUBLIC LAW 107–296—NOV. 25, 2002 –

(1) IN GENERAL.—The primary mission of the Department is to—
(A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;
(B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism;
(C) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery,from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States;
(D) carry out all functions of entities transferred to the Department, including by acting as a focal point regarding natural and manmade crises and emergency planning;
(E) ensure that the functions of the agencies and subdivisions within the Department that are not related directly to securing the homeland are not diminished or neglected except by a specific explicit Act of Congress;
(F) ensure that the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by efforts, activities, and
programs aimed at securing the homeland; and
(G) monitor connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism, coordinate efforts to sever such
connections, and otherwise contribute to efforts to interdict illegal drug trafficking.

(2) RESPONSIBILITY FOR INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING TERRORISM.
Except as specifically provided by law with respect to entities transferred to the Department under this Act, primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting acts of terrorism shall be vested not in the Department, but rather in Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over the acts in question.

A six-point agenda for the Department of Homeland Security was developed and announced in July 2005, by Secretary Chertoff to ensure that the Department’s policies, operations, and structures are aligned in the best way to address the potential threats – both present and future – that face our nation.

……………………Budgeted…………………………………………………………………..Expenditures

2003……………..$10.6 billion……………………………………………………………..$42.4 billion(1)
2004……………..$36.2 billion…………………………………………………………….$40.8 billion(1)
2005……………..$40.2 billion……plus supplemental $67.3 billion ………$54.4 billion(1)
2006……………..$40.3 billion……………………………………………………………..$57.1 billion(1)
2007……………..$42.7 billion……plus supplemental $7.3 billion…………$60.8 billion(1)
2008……………..$46.4 billion……plus supplemental $15.1 billion………..$65.1 billion(1)
2009……………..$52.7 billion……plus supplemental $3.4 billion…………$74.0 billion(1)
2010……………..$56.0 billion……plus supplemental $5.9 billion…………$70.7 billion(1)
2011……………..$54.8 billion………………………………………………………………$69.1 billion(1)
2012……………..$60.0 billion……………………………………………………………..$50.0 billion(2)
2013……………..$38.1 billion……plus supplemental $11.5 billion……….$60.5 billion(2)
2014……………..$39.9 billion……………………………………………………………..$58.2 biillion(2)
2015……………..$39.8 billion……………………………………………………………..$53.3 billion(2)
2016……………..$41.0 billion……………………………………………………………..$55.1 billion(2)
2017……………..$40.6 billion.

Let’s not forget that during these years, seizures and forfeited possessions have been made against those found guilty that are also buried somewhere in all this information and either dispersed or held in trust.

(1) Watson, Brown – Audit group did not go through those before or audit earlier years apparently, unsure how Watson, Brown arrived at their figures.
(2) DHS Annual Financial Report (AFR)

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Can someone explain to me just how an approved budget amount is overrun by so much without the agency being reprimanded? Where did the funds come from to cover all those expenditures? From what I have heard, the agencies under the control of DHS have suffered from lack of equipment and up-to-date IT coordination. Some of those “dollars” were supposed to fix those errors. So where did the money go if these things were not handled? Where is the ultimate plan and coordination of an organization. It has been 14 or so years since this group was formed. Supposedly every head of DHS was “hard at work” making these needed improvements.

Well the above report sure shows that none of those dollars were well spent.

Was DHS ever really meant to control all other enforcement agencies? Was this a knee-jerk reaction to September 2001 that was not well-thought out and constructed? Was it simply a way to bring big government more control over all phases of law enforcement? Is the core agency really hampering those who have been moved under its authority rather than acting as a disemminator or conduit for coordinating efforts? I think they are piss poor as an agency and should be completely investigated for corruption and anything else that needs to be addressed.

Instead of being an “observer”, “DHS” agents have become active on scenes and in different functions. They seem to be the “last word” on all manner of things. I have worked in a couple of companies where  they were considered “big brothers” who monitored conversations. And it seems every event or whatever doesn’t just have an attending agency employee but has several DHS badges involved at every turn, so how is that possible? Usurping the agency’s role isn’t what I understood was the chief role of the main agency.

Personally, I think DHS should be reduced to a minimum staff or better yet discontinued. While all agencies under its control should be returned to their prior agency oversight or stand alone to be held accountable. This is frigging ridiculous. ICE, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, FEMA– surely they had far less trouble under their past agencies.

–Uriel–

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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3 Responses to Report Card on DHS – Fails Leadership Test After 16 Years As An Agency

  1. Whitetop says:

    Just another overblown bureaucracy that continues to become more bloated and really serves no function. Thank you Bush 43.

    • Uriel says:

      I agree Whitetop. He could have assigned just a few in an office to coordinate for three years but no they wanted fatter government

      • Uriel says:

        I’m pretty sure I’m right but DHS got outed on spending millions to set up a office that was top of the line decor.