The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as part of a deliberate and determined national effort to safeguard the United States against terrorism. DHS became the third-largest federal department, bringing together 22 different federal agencies, each with a role in this effort. DHS has taken significant steps to create a unified and integrated Department, focusing on accountability, transparency and leadership development to enhance mission performance. DHS is also currently in the process of assessing its international footprint of more than 1,500 personnel in 75 countries.
- As part of the Administration's efforts to measure and improve the results of federal regulatory requirements, DHS solicited public input on whether existing significant regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to better serve the American people and reduce regulatory burden. To engage the public as it implements Executive Order 13563, DHS launched the IdeaScale public dialogue tool—a simple, web-based forum that facilitates a two way conversation about how DHS regulations can best serve the public while meeting their regulatory objectives.
- Nearly ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, DHS launched the Faces of Homeland Security: Heroes on the Front Lines initiative to recognize outstanding DHS employees and key state, local and private sector partners who are on the front lines every day.
- The Department received a qualified opinion on its balance sheet for fiscal year 2011 which is a pivotal step in DHS’s financial management, highlighting efforts to increase transparency and accountability, and to accurately account for the Department’s resources.
- DHS met its veterans hiring goal of 50,000 employees, a year ahead of schedule, with Veterans comprising 25 percent of the Department’s civilian workforce in addition to 49,000 active and reserve members of the U.S. Coast Guard. In FY 2011, DHS spent more than $1.4 billion with veteran owned small businesses, and surpassed the Small Business Administration's target of spending 3 percent of all contracting dollars with service disabled veteran owned businesses.
- President Obama and Vice President Biden highlighted DHS's Efficiency Review as a model effort for agencies across the federal government. Since the beginning of the Administration, DHS made an unprecedented commitment to efficiency to support our frontline operations by building a culture of fiscal discipline and accountability. Through the Efficiency Review and component initiatives, DHS has identified more than $1 billion in cost avoidances and implemented 36 efficiency initiatives across the agency.
- DHS promoted a culture of transparency while protecting individual privacy by ensuring that privacy requirements were embedded in the Administration's Open Government Initiative, and responding to more than 145,000 requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act.
- The Science & Technology Directorate’s (S&T) 12 University Centers of Excellence have generated more than 70 tools, technologies and knowledge products since 2003 for use across the homeland security enterprise, ranging from food protection and defense to catastrophic event response. In 2011, the Military Operations Research Society selected a collaborative S&T/Federal Air Marshal Service project on randomizing Federal Air Marshals flight schedules for the prestigious Rist Award, the first non-Department of Defense winner in history. Also in 2011, academic research included the development of a hazmat truck tracking center to support surface transportation and critical infrastructure protection as well as maritime security technology such as environmental monitoring capabilities to aid first responders in the event of a disaster or emergency.
- DHS continues to transition 43 component data centers to two large-scale, geographically diverse, physically secure, and scalable data centers. In 2011, seven data center facilities were closed. Migration to enterprise data centers standardizes technology and improves security, while reducing space needs and energy consumption.
- In FY 2011, DHS awarded about 29 percent of total contracting dollars to small businesses, resulting in more than $4.2 billion in prime small business contracts.