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DHS Makes Significant Strides in Management Initiatives

Release Date: 
June 4, 2015

Statement from Secretary Jeh Johnson

Since I took office a little more than a year ago, I have made improving the leadership and management of this Department a top priority.  By focusing on making long term, structural changes to the way DHS does business, we have been able to make significant progress towards this goal – including implementing my Unity of Effort initiative, establishing a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign, reforming our acquisitions process, improving cyber hygiene, and addressing key oversight recommendations. These reforms have improved our ability to serve the American people at the highest standard.   I look forward to continued progress in this area under the leadership of our new Under Secretary for Management, Russell C. Deyo, whom I am confident will bring even greater effectiveness and efficiency to how we pursue our vital homeland security missions.

Progress made with the Office of the Inspector General

DHS is committed to addressing the management issues we face.  The Department works diligently to address Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendations, and has reduced our total open OIG recommendations (open and unresolved for more than 6 months) by 94% in the last three and a half years. 

As DHS IG Roth noted in testimony before both congressional House and Senate oversight committees in February 2015, “The Department has made great strides in closing recommendations.” In fact, DHS closed 350 OIG recommendations during this reporting period.

Unity of Effort

Secretary Johnson’s Unity of Effort initiative, which began in April 2014, aims to make DHS greater than the sum of its parts by restructuring the way DHS makes decisions within the Department.  The initiative has established a more centralized process for making decisions, including those that shape acquisition programs, budget requests, and strategic priorities. As part of this initiative, we created a Joint Requirements Council consisting of senior leaders from the DHS components to identify and recommend investments to maximize efficiency and enhance mission capabilities.  DHS also realigned major headquarters functions to consolidate like functions and promote efficiency. 

Further, we have enhanced coordinated operations to harness the significant resources of the department more effectively. Through the establishment of the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign, we now have three Joint Task Forces to better execute our border security mission in an integrated and comprehensive manner. In the short history of the Department, this is the first time that the Department has engaged in a deliberate, steady-state, day-to-day campaign planning effort involving all Components to meet true cross-Departmental strategic goals.

Management and Acquisition Reform under Unity of Effort

Strengthening the Joint Requirements Council (JRC).  The JRC serves as single board of executives within the Department to evaluate cross-Component program requirements and determine which can be combined enterprise-wide, thereby reducing redundancy.  Historically, each Component developed and executed programs with a “single” purpose in mind. The JRC provides a broader perspective and is focused on integrating disparate multi-Component business requirements.   

Strengthening the Program and Budget review.  DHS revised the Program and Budget review to look at cross-Department Component options by mission area versus component stove-pipes. Observations from last year’s FY 2016-2020 review have been incorporated into the ongoing FY 2017-2021 review.

Instilling Unity of Effort in DHS Headquarters.  Strong DHS headquarters offices with clear roles and responsibilities are fundamental to successful management reform.  To achieve this, we have conducted major realignment and reorganization efforts to reduce unwanted functional redundancy, provide focus on the Department’s top priorities, and properly align resources across headquarters offices, including the DHS Offices of Policy, Operations Coordination, Management, and Intergovernmental Affairs.  We are currently working with Congress to authorize and implement two of these efforts:  reorganization of DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD); and consolidation of headquarters chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives functions, including DHS’s Office of Health Affairs, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Office of Bombing Prevention, and smaller offices from DHS Operations, Policy, Science and Technology. 

Acquisition Management Progress to Date

  • Standardized training and qualification levels for Component acquisition professionals to strengthen the competency and capability of the acquisition workforce;
  • Solidified the acquisition governance structure at the Component level to provide better “insight” into the performance of major programs;
  • Expanded the oversight authority and reach of the Acquisition Review Board to focus on major issues beyond program performance and effectiveness.  This approach helps to ensure that DHS remains a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
  • Significantly increased the percentage of major acquisition programs[1] with appropriate program documentation from 23% to over 70%.  Having solid baseline data and valid cost estimates reduces the risk of cost overruns and schedule delays. 

The Future of DHS Acquisition Management

DHS understands the urgency of building relationships with industry in order to improve our acquisition process to maximize potential. To build reform, DHS launched Acquisition Innovations in Motion (AIiM) to commit to our FY 2015 goals.  AIiM includes strategically coordinated engagement activities to improve  how the Department conducts business by:

  • Improving business processes: Candid and ongoing conversations with partners to better understand how we can simplify, clarify, and enhance our business processes.  
  • Updating policies and procedures: Identifying best practices and conducting regular employee training.
  • Establishing periodic roundtables: Working with industry and components to streamline acquisition time-lines and deliver capability to operators faster.
  • Implementing Procurement Innovation Labs: Creating innovative and effective business processes to promote consistent procurement and business practices.

Cybersecurity Standards

DHS is pioneering the implementation of network security provisions into contractual language to ensure that government contractors better protect sensitive information, including sensitive personally identifiable information. Contracts awarded under this new effort will require industry to maintain a high standard of network hygiene, helping to prevent the unauthorized access of government data. Although DHS cannot entirely eliminate risk, by aggressively instituting new safeguards and implementing best practices, both internally and with contracted entities, the Department is taking a significant step and setting a new federal standard to mitigate future compromises of sensitive information.

 

[1] Programs not in the sustainment phase

Last Published Date: June 4, 2015
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