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Highlights

On May 15, 2003, and again on July 25, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, Subcommittees on Homeland Security, of its intention to reprogram a large amount of funds appropriated to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for fiscal year 2003. In an August 2003 letter, Congress requested that we review the key events leading up to the reprogramming and subsequent revisions as they related to the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). In particular, we were asked to determine (1) whether senior TSA, DHS, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials were informed of the implications of the FAMS funding reductions prior to submission of the reprogramming notices; (2) the programmatic implications of the funding reductions on the FAMS program; (3) whether it was legally necessary to send an impoundment message to the Congress; and whether the Secretary of Homeland Security had delegated to the Under Secretary for Management the authority to transmit reprogramming notifications to the cognizant Appropriations Subcommittees. Finally, Congress asked us to identify, as appropriate, improvements in budget execution for future consideration. As agreed, we briefed Congressional staff on February 27, 2004, and March 3, 2004, on the results of our work. This report transmits the information we provided in those briefings.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Other The Secretary of Homeland Security should articulate the consultation and approval process for reprogrammings and, in particular, state how senior management will communicate final reprogramming decisions to officials of affected programs.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

In its guidance on budget execution issued January 26, 2005, the Department of Homeland Security included new language that stated that: "Before submitting reprogrammings, Organizational Elements should clearly identify a process for communicating final reprogramming decisions to affected program managers." In addition, the guidance includes information on how the results of reprogramming actions will be conveyed.
Other The Secretary of Homeland Security should require components to identify separately the obligation and expenditure of earmarked funds, which agencies must be able to report.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

As a result of GAO's recommendation, the Department of Homeland Security Budget Execution Guidance for FY2005 specifies that component organizations will: "Ensure that congressional directives and obligations made against directive budget authority can be separately identified."
Other The Secretary of Homeland Security should specify how the department plans to monitor cumulative reprogramming actions below reporting thresholds that can result in a need to notify the appropriations subcommittees.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

As a result of GAO's recommendation, the department's FY2005 budget execution guidance was revised to read: "Before submitting reprogrammings, Organizational Entities should develop a way to monitor below reporting threshold reprogrammings to determnine whether cumulatively there is a need for a reprogramming notification."

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