Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5913, the ``DHS Accountability Act of 2012,'' which establishes an independent advisory panel in the legislative branch to: (1) comprehensively assess the management structure and capabilities related to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and (2) make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DHS management.
Moreover, the advisory panel is tasked with directing the panel to examine: (1) the efficiency and effectiveness of the management structure and capabilities (2) the extent to which unnecessary duplication exists in such management structure and capabilities and how any such duplication negatively affects the mission of protecting the United States; (3) the extent to which management of key homeland security missions is centralized under DHS; (4) options to reduce or eliminate harmful waste and duplication of effort in DHS; and (5) measures to evaluate DHS's progress in reducing and eliminating waste and duplication from its management structure and capabilities.
As the Ranking Member of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation, I am familiar with the challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the various agencies within the Department work to ensure the safety of all Americans. Like most other agencies, DHS and the agencies within it are facing budget cuts amidst the rising cost of ever present threats.
I want to recognize the outstanding work and progress that this body, in cooperation with the United States Senate and the executive branch, has made in learning from the events of 9/11. Together, we have taken steps toward the implementation of policies that have made our nation more secure from terrorism, including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.
With over 200,000 employees and encompassing numerous agencies and various other components, DHS is the 3rd largest cabinet level department.
There were certain flaws in our security apparatus that failed us on 9/11 which include the lack of information-sharing between agencies charged with determining who should and should not be permitted to enter our borders, as well as friction and difficulties that resulted from some of the overlapping responsibilities of those agencies.
DHS was created to resolve some of those difficulties, and although it has made great strides, more work remains to be done.
The advisory panel created by the H.R. 5913 will be instrumental in assisting Congress and the Department of Homeland Security in achieving missions vital to America while trimming waste and improving its efficiency and efficacy.
It is essential that this Congress work in tandem with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the nation is protected from threats to our homeland. Because it will help to facilitate this important process, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 5913, the ``DHS Accountability Act of 2012.''