To be sure, I am disappointed that our efforts to improve employee satisfaction at DHS were not reflected Department-wide in this year’s results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint survey. I am disappointed but not discouraged. We will not give up. We know that improving employee satisfaction across a 22-component, 240,000-person department takes time.
I am, however, encouraged by a number of things in this year’s results.
I am encouraged that a number of DHS agencies and offices did show improved survey results, better than or equal to the government-wide increase. They include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, our National Protection and Programs Directorate, our Management Directorate, the Office of Science and Technology, and the Office of the Secretary.
I am encouraged that the results for TSA and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have stabilized after years of marked decline.
I am encouraged that the results for the Coast Guard remain well above the Government-wide average.
Most of all, I am encouraged that this year’s survey results reveal that an overwhelming majority of DHS personnel recognize the work they do is important (85%) and are willing to put in the extra effort to get a job done (93%).
This is on display all the time, in efforts large and small.
This week and last, thousands of our people, primarily from the Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, TSA, FEMA and the Coast Guard, are dedicated to the security of 170 world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, and the visit to this country by the Pope. This Department, more than any other of the U.S. government, has been detailed to these massive security efforts.
Earlier this month was Citizenship Week, during which, in one week, personnel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized 36,000 new American citizens.
Last month, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter STRATTON returned home after a four-month mission at sea, during which they seized from drug cartels 66,500 pounds of cocaine worth more than $1 billion.
Last month, two of our Border Patrol agents in Tucson, Arizona rescued and gave medical aid to two unaccompanied children – a 7-year-old girl and her 4-year-old sister - who were abandoned by smugglers and left to die in the desert.
The list of outstanding and important work by our people could go on and on.
The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are our greatest asset, and I and the other senior leaders of DHS are committed to improving employee satisfaction. We will continue our efforts to make DHS a place where all employees feel valued and where their hard work is recognized and rewarded. Our new Under Secretary for Management, Russ Deyo, is personally leading the effort to improve the process for hiring and promotion, training and professional development, rewards and recognition, performance management, and employee communication.
I am confident that, next year at this time, our efforts, in collaboration with leadership across our components, will be reflected in Department-wide results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint survey.