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Highlights

Significant management challenges exist for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as it continues to integrate its varied management processes, policies, and systems in areas such as financial management and information technology. These activities are primarily led by the Under Secretary for Management (USM), department management chiefs, and management chiefs in DHS's seven components. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to examine: (1) the extent to which DHS has developed a comprehensive strategy for management integration that includes the characteristics recommended in GAO's 2005 report; (2) how DHS is implementing management integration; and (3) the extent to which the USM is holding the department and component management chiefs accountable for implementing management integration through reporting relationships. GAO reviewed DHS plans and interviewed management officials in DHS's headquarters and in all components.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Homeland Security To strengthen its management integration efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management, working with others, once a comprehensive management integration strategy is developed, consistent with statute and as we previously recommended, to establish performance measures to assess progress made in achieving departmentwide management integration once a comprehensive management integration strategy is developed, consistent with statute and as GAO previously recommended.
Closed - Implemented
In January 2011, DHS provided us with its Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management, which provides an overview of DHS's plans to address the high-risk designation, including management integration by, for example, enhancing acquisition management efforts across the department. DHS updated this strategy in June 2011, December 2011 and June 2012. The most recent version established key measures and rated its progress for all 18 initiatives included in the strategy and the 31 outcomes, including management integration.
Department of Homeland Security To strengthen its management integration efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management, working with others, to ensure that department management chiefs provide written objectives for component management chiefs' performance plans at the beginning of each performance cycle, and that the objectives are representative of determined priorities and milestones for the management functions during that period.
Closed - Implemented
In its June 2012 Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management, DHS identified actions it is taking to address the outcome related to accountability for management integration. Specifically, one mechanism to support this outcome is for department management chiefs to provide written objectives for component management chiefs' performance plans at the beginning of each cycle and having the objectives explicitly reflect priorities and milestones for the management functions during this period. In its strategy, DHS reported this outcome to be fully addressed. For example, for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 the DHS Chief Financial Officer provided annual memos to components on priority performance goals and the DHS Chief Administrative Officer provided several specific objectives to component Chief Administrative Officers that support the Secretary's goal for Management Integration and "One DHS".
Department of Homeland Security To strengthen its management integration efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management, working with others, to ensure that department management chiefs provide input into component management chiefs' annual performance evaluations.
Closed - Implemented
In its June 2012 Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management, DHS identified actions it is taking to address the outcome related to accountability for management integration. Specifically, one mechanism to support this outcome is for department management chiefs to provide direct and formal input into component management chiefs' annual performance evaluations. In its strategy, DHS reported this outcome to be fully addressed. DHS noted that the DHS management chiefs have provided input into component management's performance appraisals for the past several years. For example, in September 2012 DHS officials told us that DHS's Chief Financial Officer conducts component performance progress reviews at monthly CFO Council meetings where performance against goals is reviewed. Further, in September 2012 the DHS Chief Financial Officer told us that she provides input into component chief annual performance ratings.
Department of Homeland Security To strengthen its management integration efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management, working with others, to ensure that component management chiefs' individual performance plans are reflective of and include linkages to the goals and objectives for the Management Directorate and relevant department management function.
Closed - Implemented
In its June 2012 Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management, DHS identified actions it is taking to address the outcome related to accountability for management integration. Specifically, one mechanism to support this outcome is for component management chiefs' individual performance plans include explicit linkages to the goals and objectives for the DHS Management Directorate and relevant department management function. In its strategy, DHS reported this outcome as fully addressed. DHS reported that objective, evidence-based metrics, based on the strategic goals and priorities of the leadership drive the performance of management chiefs both at the department and component levels. For example, the fiscal year 2012 performance plan for the Transportation Security Administration Chief Information Officer includes objectives that are linked to the Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management?s initiative on information security. The objective of this initiative is to enhance the security of the Department's internal Information Technology (IT) systems and networks by implementing strong IT security controls, periodically verifying and validating implementation of key security controls, and promptly remediating identified security control weaknesses.

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