IG Report: Better acquisition monitoring needed at DHS

By Jory Heckman Federal News Radio

The Department of Homeland Security needs to double down on duplicative programs and better police its acquisition management, according a report by the DHS Office of the Inspector General.

“Although DHS’ FY 2014 budget was about $60 billion, resource constraints necessitate greater unity of effort and should motivate DHS to mature into an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts,” John Roth,...

READ MORE

By Jory Heckman
Federal News Radio

The Department of Homeland Security needs to double down on duplicative programs and better police its acquisition management, according a report by the DHS Office of the Inspector General.

“Although DHS’ FY 2014 budget was about $60 billion, resource constraints necessitate greater unity of effort and should motivate DHS to mature into an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts,” John Roth, DHS IG, wrote in this week’s report.

In reviewing DHS’ operations integrations, Roth found that the agency’s lax monitoring of duplicative programs created not just wasteful spending, but poor management of critical operations.

Roth said that DHS did not effectively manage its emergency supply of pandemic equipment and antiviral medications, and found inaccurate inventories of the equipment at several DHS program offices.

“As a result, the Department has no assurance it has sufficient equipment and medical countermeasures to respond to a pandemic,” Roth wrote in the report.

As the third-biggest spender on acquisition in government, DHS acquires more than $18 billion worth of goods and services each year, according to the report. With that level of spending, Roth said the agency doesn’t have enough acquisition management.

“The Department’s programs continue to have problems with schedule delays, cost overruns, and delivering promised capabilities,” he said. “Additionally, lack of coordination among components can lead to program redundancy, inefficient use of resources, and security risks to programs.”

The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM), which oversees departmental and program acquisitions, was unable to schedule regular meetings of the Acquisition Review Board (ARB), Roth’s report found.

This, he said, affected DHS’ ability to provide clear oversight of billions of dollars in acquisitions.

One such program lacking oversight, the report found, was DHS’ management of its fleet size. Roth said many vehicles go unused, but can be costly to maintain. In FY 2012, Roth said DHS spent between $35.3 million and $48.6 million in keeping vehicles that the agency didn’t use or need.

“To achieve cultural change, DHS must set the tone at the top, drive components to change, and empower its employees,” Roth wrote.

Accounting firm says DHS exhibits weaknesses in internal control areas

The independent public accounting firm KPMG LLP also released its audit of DHS’ budget this week.

In its report, KPMG identified four areas of material weaknesses in DHS’ internal control — financial reporting; information technology controls and financial systems functionality; property, plant, and equipment; and budgetary accounting.

In addition, the firm reported that DHS was not in compliance with the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act of 1982, the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 and the Anti-Deficiency Act

However, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, commended DHS on obtaining a clean financial audit for the second consecutive year.

“This announcement is welcome news of progress and demonstrated sustainment for the Department of Homeland Security, and illustrates that the Department is taking important, consistent steps toward strong stewardship of taxpayer funds,” Carper said in a statement. “Producing a clean financial audit is certainly no small or easy task for any agency, let alone one of the Department of Homeland Security’s size and complexity. I commend the Department and its leadership for its commitment to financial management.”

In 2012, Carper, along with Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Ron Johnson (R- Wis.), passed the DHS Audit Requirement Target (DART) Act, which requires DHS to obtain and pass full audits for its financial statements.

RELATED STORIES:

Draft bill would force DHS to change acquisition practices

Congress passes bills to reduce duplicative reports, improve access to public records