House passes bill to streamline DHS management

The House passed a bill that is expected to help streamline the Department of Homeland Security’s policy and management efforts.

The DHS Headquarters Reform and Improvement Act of 2015, introduced by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in September, aims to make the agency’s management leaner and more efficient.

“This important, bipartisan legislation reforms and streamlines DHS headquarters so it can more effectively focus on its core mission of better protecting national security,” McCaul said Tuesday on the House floor.

DHS will now have a chief procurement officer, as well as a chief security officer. The bill also gives additional responsibilities to the under secretary for management, the chief financial officer, the chief information officer and the chief human capital officer.

The bill tasks the undersecretary of management with reporting to Congress’ homeland security committees if a major acquisition program goes over-budget, over-schedule, or fails to meet performance standards.

The undersecretary also must let Congress know how it plans to bring wayward acquisition programs back on track. Under the bill, the undersecretary would have to create an acquisition review board to monitor acquisition programs and ensure compliance with the acquisition review process.

Additionally, the undersecretary will set up agencywide efficiency policies for  major acquisitions. The Government Accountability Office will have oversight of the board.

In addition,  DHS must submit an annual acquisition status report to the House and Senate’s homeland security committees that addresses acquisition workforce accountability and talent management.

Under the reform bill, DHS must also assess the  feasibility of conducting a pilot program to set up  a Homeland Security Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, which would ensure that the agency’s  workforce has the resources it needs to meet its mission.

Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) also  sponsored the legislation. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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