Department of Homeland Security: Progress and Challenges in Implementing the Department's Acquisition Oversight Plan: GAO-07-900

Hutton, John
June 2007
GAO Reports;6/13/2007, p1
Government Documents
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the third largest department in federal procurement spending in fiscal year 2006, has faced ongoing cost, schedule, and performance problems with major acquisitions and procurement of services. In December 2005, DHS established an acquisition oversight program to provide insight into and improve components' acquisition programs. In 2006, GAO reported that DHS faced challenges in implementing its program. Congress mandated that DHS develop an oversight plan and tasked GAO with analyzing the plan. GAO (1) evaluated actions DHS and its components have taken to implement the acquisition oversight plan and (2) identified implementation challenges. GAO also identified opportunities for strengthening oversight conducted through the plan. GAO reviewed relevant DHS documents and GAO and DHS Inspector General reports and interviewed officials in the office of the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) and nine DHS components. The CPO has taken several actions to implement DHS's acquisition oversight plan--which generally incorporates basic principles of an effective and accountable acquisition function. The plan monitors acquisition performance through four recurring reviews: self-assessment, operational status, on-site, and acquisition planning. Each component has completed the first self-assessment, which has helped components identify and prioritize acquisition weaknesses. In addition, each component has submitted an initial operational status report to the CPO and on-site reviews are being conducted. Despite this progress, the acquisition planning reviews are not sufficient to determine if components adequately plan their acquisitions--in part because a required review has not been implemented and the CPO lacks visibility into components' planning activities. DHS faces two key challenges in implementing its acquisition oversight plan. First, the CPO has had limited oversight resources to implement plan reviews. However, recent increases in staff have begun to address this challenge. Second, the CPO lacks sufficient authority to ensure components comply with the plan--despite being held accountable for departmentwide management and oversight of the acquisition function. GAO has previously recommended that DHS provide the CPO with sufficient enforcement authority to enable effective acquisition oversight. In addition to these challenges, GAO identified two opportunities to strengthen internal controls for overseeing the plan's implementation and for increasing knowledge sharing. Specifically, independent evaluations of DHS's oversight program could help ensure that the plan maintains its effectiveness over time. Sharing knowledge and lessons learned could provide DHS's acquisition workforce with the information needed to improve their acquisition processes and better achieve DHS's mission.


Related Articles

  • Homeland Security: Planned Expenditures for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Adequately Defined and Justified: GAO-07-278.  // GAO Reports;2/14/2007, p1 

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a program--the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)--to collect, maintain, and share information, including biometric identifiers, on selected foreign nationals who travel to the United States. By...

  • Major Program Assessments Reveal Actions Needed to Improve Accountability.  // GAO Reports;4/22/2015, preceding pi 

    A report on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) major acquisition programs as of June 2014 is presented. An overview of DHS's acquisition programs is provided which planned to invest $10.7 billion for the 2014 fiscal year. It explores the programs' objectives, scope, and methodology...

  • Department of Homeland Security: GAO-08-263. Hutton, John P. // GAO Reports;5/ 8/2008, p1 

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has relied on service acquisitions to meet its expansive mission. In fiscal year 2006, DHS spent $12.7 billion to procure services. To improve service acquisition outcomes, federal procurement law establishes a preference for a performance-based...

  • HOMELAND SECURITY. Hutton, John P. // GAO Reports;9/10/2012, p1 

    The article presents a study of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) procurement oversight conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO examined efforts by the DHS to implement procurement oversight and identified its components' use of strategic sourcing to...

  • Homeland Security: Transformation Strategy Needed to Address Challenges Facing the Federal Protective Service: GAO-04-537. Goldstein, Mark L. // GAO Reports;7/14/2004, p1 

    With responsibility for protecting thousands of federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), which transferred from the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2003, plays a critical role in the federal government's defense against...

  • DHS Needs to Better Address Its Cybersecurity Responsibilities. Powner, David A. // GAO Reports;9/16/2008, preceding p1 

    The article presents the U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO) summary and its associated recommendations on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) progress in fulfilling its responsibilities to protect systems that support critical infrastructures, commonly referred to as critical...

  • Addressing Gaps in Oversight and Information is Key to Improving Program Outcomes.  // GAO Reports;4/22/2015, preceding p1 

    A report on the major acquisition programs of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as of April 2015 is presented. These acquisition programs include a logistics supply chain management system for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It notes that the DHS planned to spend around...

  • Department of Homeland Security: GAO-08-765T.  // GAO Reports;5/ 8/2008, p1 

    The article presents a statement from John Hutton, director acquisition and sourcing management of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), about the need for better planning to improve complex service acquisition outcomes of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the U.S. Hutton...

  • DHS Needs to Fully Address Lessons Learned from Its First Cyber Storm Exercise. Powner, David A. // GAO Reports;9/16/2008, preceding p1 

    The article presents the U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO) report on its review on the lesson learned by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the agency's Cyber Storm exercises program, as part of the agency's cybersecurity responsibilities, and assessment of the DHS's...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics