DHS left gaps in Quadrennial Review, says GAO

Department did not include budget planning, prioritization

The Homeland Security Department left a significant hole in its 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review because it did not identify a budget plan needed to execute the mission areas, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office.

DHS plan to close that gap and include budget plans in its fiscal year 2012 budget request and fiscal year 2012-2016 strategic plan, the GAO said in its Dec. 16 report.


Related coverage:

DHS still falls short on management and integration, GAO official says

DHS to take a closer look at IT spending


Overall, of the nine reporting elements ordered for the review under the 9/11 Commission legislation, the department fulfilled three, and partially fulfilled five, the GAO concluded in its Dec. 16 report.

DHS officials generally agreed with the findings; however, they asserted they had fulfilled four of the reporting elements fully.

Shortcomings in the reporting elements occurred in several areas. For example, the department did not prioritize its missions as requested, did not fully describe interagency assets and preparedness for its missions, and did not describe component agency alignment with agency missions, the GAO said.

In a second report on Dec. 16, the GAO analyzed DHS’ initiatives to identify the intelligence and information-sharing needs of their state and local partners.

As of August 2010, the DHS Intelligence & Analysis unit had come to agreements on information needs with nine of the 50 states, the report said. The department is continuing to work with the remainder of the states to identify their needs.

To speed the work along, the GAO recommended that the department and the state agencies work to establish milestones for completing the assessment of their intelligence needs.

The GAO also advised the department to do the following:

  • report regularly back to the state and local partners on actions the department has taken to respond to their feedback.
  •  Define and document the activities that DHS will be expected to implement to meet the state and local information-sharing mission.
  • Establish plans and time frames for performance measures to gauge results of the information-sharing efforts.

DHS officials agreed with all four recommendations.





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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