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Unity of Effort: One Year Later

Chief of Staff

One year ago the Department of Homeland Security embarked on Secretary Jeh Johnson’s “Unity of Effort” initiative, to begin to set the conditions for the Department to act in a more unified fashion.

Today, on behalf of the Secretary, I am pleased to report that the Unity of Effort is exceeding expectations in its goal to build and sustain a culture that recognizes the strong need to unify our efforts to address the diverse and numerous challenges we face in securing this nation and the American people. 

Good leadership starts with good people. The senior leadership of the Department have been personally involved in wrestling with the difficult issues of the Department—issues of strategy, resource allocation, capability requirements, operational planning, joint operations, and headquarters organizational design—an a more inclusive, transparent way. 

The Department has also made great strides in mission execution over the past year. The new DHS Southern Border and Approaches Campaign has become operational with the standup of our three new DHS joint task forces. These task forces will be instrumental in changing the way we operate as a Department in those mission areas that touch upon multiple DHS Components. 

Our new joint requirements council is taking a hard look at what tools and resources the Department needs in order to operate in the future across a wide variety of mission areas: our aviation fleet, information-based screening and vetting equipment, information sharing systems; chemical biological radiological, and nuclear detection, and cybersecurity.

We are continuing to review and refine the Department’s acquisition processes, to enhance the way DHS does business. Today, we are announcing the launch of the Acquisition Innovations in Motion (AIiM) program, that will create learning opportunities for DHS by listening to those who participate in our acquisition processes internally – like our own acquisition professionals – and externally – including enhanced engagement with the private sector.

As we move into its second year, the Unity of Effort initiative will continue to serve as a driving force for much of our day-to-day work to improve the Department. We will continue to make investments in our greatest resource – our workforce -  through a number of human capital initiatives designed to weave unity of effort principles and practice into the fabric of the Department.

Our Department is diverse. Our duties are wide ranging. But our mission is clear: a safer, more secure nation for the American people. As the Department of Homeland Security continues to unify our efforts through leadership and management development, workforce engagement, successful operational execution, and refined acquisition processes, Secretary Johnson and I are confident that we will continue to deliver the best possible security of the homeland that the American people deserve.

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