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Transparency at the Department of Homeland Security

The Department's efforts to expand transparency, including Open Government Plan version 4.0.

DHS recognizes that increased access to research data and information can encourage research collaboration and help successfully address the nation’s constantly evolving homeland security challenges. Increased access to releasable results of DHS research promotes development of a Homeland Security-related industrial base, increases the credibility of associated program managers, subject matter experts, researchers, contracted developers, sponsors and stakeholders in the scientific community.

More on our plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the federal government

The Department’s Chief Privacy Officer issued guidance to DHS components laying out an aggressive plan to reduce DHS FOIA backlog requests by 15 percent per year. The FOIA plan calls for monthly meetings and quarterly reviews to ensure the Department is successful in reducing its backlog. Despite a nearly 30 percent spike in incoming requests in FY 2010, the Department surpassed its goal by reducing the overall FOIA backlog by 40 percent.

In addition, the Chief Privacy Officer has bolstered Proactive Disclosure of Information by augmenting an earlier policy memo with a robust plan. Since August 2009, the Department has released/posted approximately 700 documents to its FOIA reading rooms.

In the Department’s first Open Government plan, the Department selected Virtual USA (or vUSA) as its Flagship Initiative. vUSA is an innovative information-sharing initiative that draws on practitioner input to help federal, state, local and tribal first responders collaborate to make fast, well-informed decisions.

The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) is a federal, state, local and tribal interagency initiative providing a foundation for seamless information exchange. NIEM seeks to leverage the data exchange standards efforts successfully implemented by GLOBAL and extends the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) to facilitate timely, secure information sharing across the whole of the justice, public safety, emergency and disaster management, intelligence, and homeland security enterprise.

More on our Flagship Open Government Initiatives.

The Department has a Data Asset Catalog that stores information about the Data Assets used to accomplish the mission of homeland security.   It is being expanded to encompass the broader mission of data dissemination in addition to information sharing as part of the Open Government Initiative. More on enhancing Data.gov.

The Department of Homeland Security has a minimal number of records of permanent historical value that are subject to the automatic declassification provisions. The majority of these records were produced by legacy components of DHS, which include the United States Secret Service (USSS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). 

To address the declassification of applicable records generated by the component agencies, USSS and FEMA have created declassification guides that identify program specific information that is exempt from automatic declassification and that have been approved by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP). 

In all other instances where an approved exemption from automatic declassification does not exist, DHS component generated classified information is automatically declassified, or, where such records contain the equities of other agencies, referred to the appropriate agencies.  DHS routinely reviews information to affirm classification and to declassify when possible.

More on Declassification of Homeland Security Information.

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Financial Assistance Policy and Oversight Division (FAPO) is working with each component to standardize reporting processes for financial assistance activities, grants, cooperative agreements, payments, and loan programs reported on USASpending.gov.

To improve the consistency and accuracy of financial data, FAPO efforts will center on communicating the best reporting and control practices, developing a DHS-wide training program, and creating standard operating procedures and controls.

In addition to increasing the quality and accuracy of data submitted to USASpending.gov, the Department will assess the risk of data quality and integrity problems by examining the complexity or magnitude of the programs and the extent to which manual processes are used in reporting. Improvement plans with stronger controls will be targeted at those programs evaluated with the highest risk.

This flagship publication illustrates the U.S. Secret Service’s FY 2010 accomplishments which validate their mission.

Read annual reports.

Last Updated: 05/05/2023
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