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Hearing of Committee on Homeland Security - Department of Homeland Security: The Road Ahead

Location: Washington, DC

Hearing of Committee on Homeland Security - Department of Homeland Security: The Road Ahead

Senator Coburn. Well, I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to serve with each and every Member of this
Committee. I do have a statement for the record, and ask unanimous consent that it be in the record.

Chairman Collins. Without objection. Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Senator Coburn follows:]


Thank you Chairman Collins. I am pleased to join you as one of the newest Members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. I look forward to working with you and Members of this Committee on rigorous oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and other Federal programs, as well as on initiatives that will reduce and eliminate wasteful government spending.

I commend your leadership, Chairman Collins, for holding this hearing on the future direction of the Department of Homeland Security as the Committee's first hearing of the 109th Congress. As this Department--with approximately 190,000 employees and a budget of over $33 billion--enters its third year with new leadership, it is fitting that this Committee examine the current status of the Department's operations and proposals to increase its effectiveness.

One such proposal entitled, ``DHS 2.0: Rethinking the Department of Homeland Security,'' was issued jointly last month by the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I look forward to hearing today from Dr. Carafano, a co-author of the report, on his call for a full assessment of the Department's organizational structure to improve efficiency and to prevent existing homeland security grant programs from turning into another Federal pork barrel program.

In addition, the Department's Office of Inspector General, from which we will also hear today, issued a report last month on major management challenges facing the Department. Some of these challenges include the potential for overlapping grant funding, inadequate staffing for program administration, structural problems in the Department's financial management organization, and deficiencies in the Department's IT organizational structure.

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its biennial assessment of Federal programs, and again for the second consecutive time, listed the Department of Homeland Security on its ``High Risk List.'' The GAO recognized the steps the Department has taken over the past 2 years, but is concerned whether the Department will follow through on its initial efforts, whether the Department has made enough progress in forming partnerships with governmental and private sector entities, and whether the Department has sustained leadership to complete the transformation.

It is clear that much work needs to be done to improve the organization structure, reduce bureaucratic overlap, and strengthen the financial accountability of the Department of Homeland Security. I look forward to hearing the recommendations from our witnesses to address these issues.

Thank you, Chairman Collins.

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