DHS seen needing strategic plan

The Homeland Security Department needs a strategic plan to improve its management of nearly 2,000 employees in other countries, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general, Richard Skinner.

The DHS Office of International Affairs is in charge of departmentwide policies that govern about 1,000 employees at Customs and Border Protection, 350 employees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and 300 employees at the Coast Guard, among others.

While it has focused on advising senior DHS staff, staff limitations and the lack of a strategic plan have hampered the office, the IG concluded in a report.

That office has increased its staff size, developed regional engagement plans and sponsored forums for discussion on international issues, but it is not yet as good as it could be in fulfilling all its duties, Skinner wrote.

“These efforts do not completely satisfy the office’s obligations,” the IG report states. “Toward that end, the office should also develop an international strategic plan and prepare guidance on training and technical assistance abroad.”

The department also needs to better manage a mix of part-time and full-time employees in the field, and needs to better prepare, train, support and redeploy its global staff, the report states.

The IG made 18 recommendations, and department officials agreed with 16 of them.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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