Key Issues > Duplication & Cost Savings > GAO's Action Tracker > Department of Homeland Security's Human Resources Systems (2016-08)
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Homeland Security/Law Enforcement: Department of Homeland Security's Human Resources Systems (2016-08)

To address issues related to fragmented systems and duplicative processes, the Department of Homeland Security should take steps to (1) ensure that its Human Resources Information Technology investment receives necessary oversight and attention from its steering committee and (2) evaluate and update the investment’s strategic planning document.

Action:

The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to update the Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) executive steering committee charter to establish the frequency with which HRIT executive steering committee meetings are to be held.

Progress:

In March 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated the charter for its HRIT Executive Steering Committee to specify the frequency with which committee meetings are to be held, as recommended in GAO’s February 2016 report. Specifically, the charter states that committee meetings will be held at least quarterly, or more frequently as directed by the committee’s co-chairs. As a result, DHS should have better assurance that the HRIT Executive Steering Committee will meet regularly and carry out its responsibility to provide oversight and guidance to the HRIT investment.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Homeland Security

Action:

The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to ensure that the Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) executive steering committee is consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT, including approving key program management documents, such as HRIT’s operational plan.

Progress:

As of November 2018, the Department of Homeland Security had demonstrated that the HRIT Executive Steering Committee was consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT, including approving key program management documents, as recommended in GAO's February 2016 report. For example, the steering committee approved the investment's fiscal year 2016—2018 operational plan in June 2016, an updated schedule estimate for HRIT in June 2017, and a rough order of magnitude cost estimate for the investment in March 2018. In addition, in 2018 the steering committee met to discuss the investment on at least a bimonthly basis. As a result, the steering committee is better positioned to provide support and guidance to the investment and to ensure accountability for improved results.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Homeland Security

Action:

The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) investment to establish time frames for re-evaluating the strategic improvement opportunities and associated projects in the Human Capital Segment Architecture Blueprint and determining how to move forward with HRIT.

Progress:

In February 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documented its planned time frames for re-evaluating the strategic improvement opportunities in the Human Capital Segment Architecture Blueprint and determining how to move forward with HRIT, as recommended in GAO’s February 2016 report. Specifically, DHS planned to re-evaluate the strategic improvement opportunities in February and March 2016. Subsequently, in June 2016, the HRIT Executive Steering Committee approved an updated Human Capital Segment Architecture Blueprint, which reflects the department’s evaluation and reprioritization of HRIT’s strategic improvement opportunities. As a result, DHS is better positioned to address inefficiencies in its human resources environment.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Homeland Security

Action:

The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) investment to evaluate the strategic improvement opportunities and projects within the Human Capital Segment Architecture Blueprint to determine whether they and the goals of the blueprint are still valid and reflect the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) HRIT priorities going forward, and update the blueprint accordingly.

Progress:

In June 2016, the HRIT Executive Steering Committee approved an updated Human Capital Segment Architecture Blueprint, which reflects the department’s evaluation and reprioritization of HRIT’s strategic improvement opportunities, as recommended in GAO’s February 2016 report. Specifically, within the updated blueprint, DHS documented, among other things, the current status of each of the 15 original improvement opportunities, the department’s determination on whether each one was still valid, and the department’s reprioritization of those that are still relevant. As a result, DHS is better positioned to make informed resource decisions on the implementation of the strategic improvement opportunities and to address inefficiencies in its human resources environment.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Homeland Security

Action:

The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) investment to update and maintain the department’s human resources system inventory.

Progress:

As of November 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had updated and maintained the department's human resources system inventory, as recommended in GAO’s February 2016 report. In particular, the department updated this inventory in March 2017 and maintained it in November 2017, June 2018, and September 2018. By updating and maintaining this inventory, DHS has a better understanding of the human resources systems in use at the department and is better positioned to determine whether its components are using redundant systems.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Homeland Security
  • portrait of
    • Carol C. Harris
    • Director, Information Technology & Cybersecurity
    • harriscc@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-4456
  • portrait of
    • Rebecca S. Gambler
    • Director, Homeland Security and Justice
    • gamblerr@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-6912