The Department of Homeland Security is planning to consolidate some of its operations and thousands of its workers at the St. Elizabeths campus in Washington, D.C. Construction began in 2009. Over $2.8 billion has been appropriated.
DHS was required to report project cost and schedule estimates and other information to congressional committees. Its report didn't have sufficient information on these estimates for us to reliably assess them. More information is expected in 2023 after a planning and funding reset.
According to DHS and the General Services Administration, inconsistent funding has contributed to increased project costs and delays.
What GAO Found
In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began planning its headquarters consolidation at the St. Elizabeths campus. DHS developed capital planning documents and analyses to guide the construction and consolidation process, but in 2014, GAO reported that DHS and the General Services Administration's (GSA) cost and schedule estimates did not fully meet leading cost and schedule estimating practices and were unreliable. GAO recommended DHS and GSA revise their cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the headquarters consolidation project, which the agencies agreed to do. Most recently, GAO reviewed DHS's Fiscal Year 2022 report on construction at St. Elizabeths and found that it did not contain sufficient cost and schedule information for GAO to perform a comprehensive analysis to assess reliability. GSA reported undertaking a planning and funding reset effort, which will include detailed cost and schedule estimates. However, GSA officials reported that the reset will not be complete until February 2023. GAO will continue to monitor DHS's and GSA's actions to address its 2014 recommendation to develop revised cost and schedule estimates in accordance with leading practices.
Why GAO Did This Study
As of June 2022, over $2.8 billion has been appropriated to DHS and GSA for DHS's headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeths, according to DHS. In 2007, the original estimated completion date for the project was 2015; however, DHS's updated timeline now shows an estimated completion date of 2027. The DHS Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 includes a requirement for DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to relevant congressional committees, including updated cost and schedule estimates related to the DHS headquarters consolidation. The act also includes a provision for GAO to evaluate the quality and reliability of the cost and schedule estimates in DHS's reporting to Congress.
This briefing discusses the updated cost and schedule estimates for the project at St. Elizabeths and the status of the DHS headquarters consolidation project. To conduct this work, GAO analyzed DHS and GSA plans and relevant documentation, along with requested and total funding for the project for fiscal years 2015 through 2022. GAO also interviewed senior DHS and GSA officials.
GAO previously recommended that DHS and GSA revise their cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the headquarters consolidation project in accordance with leading practices. The agencies concurred with the recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor DHS's and GSA's actions to address this recommendation, including any related outcomes from GSA's planning and funding reset effort.