DHS Implementation and Transformation
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made progress in improving and integrating its management areas (acquisitions, financial management, human capital, and information technology), but continues to face considerable challenges that have impacted the departments ability to satisfy its missions.
Since 2003, GAO has designated the implementation and transformation of DHS as high risk because DHS had to combine 22 agenciesseveral with major management challengesinto one department, and failure to effectively address DHSs management and mission risks could have serious consequences for U.S. national and economic security. DHS has taken action to implement, transform, and integrate its management functions, but continues to face challenges that directly affect its ability to meet its homeland security and other missions. For example:
- Acquisitions. Key DHS aviation security technology acquisitionsAdvanced Imaging Technology and explosive detection systemsdid not meet intended requirements and were not appropriately tested and evaluated, among other things; and the department needs to better adhere to its acquisition guidance and GAO best practices for cost and schedule estimation.
- Human Capital. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within DHS has faced challenges in addressing workforce planning and training needs for its more than 18,000 employees who are responsible for preparing for, responding to, and mitigating all hazards; and could benefit from documenting long-term and quantifiable mission critical goals to guide the agencys workforce planning and training efforts.
- Financial Management. DHS has been unable to obtain an audit opinion on its internal controls over financial reporting due to material weaknesses in internal controls, and much work remains to modernize components financial management systems. Without sound controls and systems, DHS faces long-term challenges in obtaining and sustaining an audit opinion on internal controls over financial reporting, and ensuring its financial management systems generate reliable, useful, and timely information for day-to-day decision making.