Today, Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee, held a hearing entitled, "Cutting DHS Duplication and Wasteful Spending: Implementing Private Sector Best Practices and Watchdog Recommendations"
Congressional watchdogs such as the GAO and the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General (IG) have issued thousands of reports with ways to improve the efficiency of DHS and save taxpayer dollars. Earlier this month, GAO issued a key report that identified 162 areas across the federal government with fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative spending. Within DHS, GAO identified six components involved in duplicative research and development. Many components awarded multiple contracts, and the price for this duplication was $66 million. The IG has also issued recommendations that DHS has chosen not to implement, which continues to cost American taxpayers over $650 million.
The hearing also highlighted the need for DHS to leverage best practices from the private sector. Dr. Paul G. Stern, a Board Director with Business Executives for National Security, noted the lack of urgency in government to improve and the importance for DHS to develop a cohesive culture that implements the mission. Dr. Stern said "You state your mission and objectives in the broadest sense to all involved and then you force the issue."
Chairman Duncan on the hearing:
"Our nation is facing 16 trillion of debt, and American families continue to see larger portions of their hard-earned paychecks taken out in taxes. As the third largest federal agency with a $60 billion budget, DHS has an important responsibility to secure the homeland while at the same time using resources wisely. DHS' choice not to implement key GAO and IG recommendations has led to confusion of mission and execution and a poor use of American tax dollars in critical areas."
"As a small businessman in South Carolina, I found the same principles of strategic vision combined with strong and capable leadership and smart budgeting to be critical. You don't spend more than you take in or you go bankrupt. The private sector understands this, but the federal government -- and DHS in particular -- has been slow to learn. While DHS has made progress since its inception, it needs to reach out to a greater extent to leverage the best practices of the private sector to improve and save taxpayer dollars."