DHS report card reveals underperformance

The Homeland Security Department earned mostly average grades on its 2006 report card from the House Homeland Security Committee with special attention needed for improving employee morale and strengthening procurement oversight and financial reporting.

The report was posted on the committee's Web site on April 13 by Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

DHS received C grades for aviation security, emergency communications, information sharing, surface transportation security, scientific research and civil liberties.

Emergency preparedness and procurement earned C- grades. "The department needs to significantly increase its procurement workforce and develop an in-house cadre of procurement professionals," the report states.

Domestic nuclear protection, chemical plant security, biological security and privacy rights earned B and B- grades.

Marked as incomplete are efforts to establish better border security, protect critical infrastructure and achieve satisfactory management and administrative goals.

Regarding the Secure Border Initiative Network, the report states that the department needs "adequate SBI-Net procurement, management and oversight resources in place to prevent the same procurement and deployment problems experienced by the department with previous border security technology systems."

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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