Duncan, McCaul, Barber, Daines Introduce Legislation to Reform DHS’s Acquisition Process

Mar 13, 2014 Issues: Oversight of DHS Management

Media Contacts:

McCaul: Charlotte Sellmyer

Duncan: Allen Klump

Daines: Alee Lockman

Barber: Mark Kimble

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency Chairman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency Ranking Member Ron Barber (D-AZ) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency Vice Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) acquisition management.

H.R. 4228, the “DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act” requires greater oversight of the Department’s purchasing process while ensuring needed flexibility and providing clarity for American businesses. Since 2005, DHS Acquisition Management activities have been on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) “High-Risk List” for programs that are highly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. Recently, the DHS Inspector General found the Department mismanaged a $3 billion DHS-wide contract to modernize its radio systems and GAO reported that 21 of 68 IT contracts totaling $1 billion were not meeting cost and schedule obligations.

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan said: “For years, DHS has refused to use a business approach in managing its acquisition programs. These systems and services that DHS buys support critical missions to protect U.S. borders, improve disaster response, and secure cyber infrastructure. Yet, Congressional watchdogs have repeatedly found cost overruns, schedule delays, and effectiveness problems in the billions of dollars that DHS spends on its acquisitions. This bipartisan legislation builds on a September 2013 hearing and seeks to improve the way that DHS does business. Through requiring greater accountability from DHS leadership, improved fiscal discipline, and fuller transparency, this bill builds on an approach President Reagan took in the 1980s with troubled defense programs and seeks to improve DHS’s management of American tax dollars to more efficiently meet its mission. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill forward.”

Chairman McCaul said: “It is unacceptable that the acquisition management programs at DHS have been on GAO’s ‘high-risk list’ for fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement for nearly a decade. As the federal government’s third largest agency, DHS must improve, and this bipartisan legislation will increase oversight, require greater accountability, clarify the buying and selling process for industry and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.”

Subcommittee Ranking Member Barber said: “As ranking member of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I have seen taxpayer dollars wasted on projects that over-promised and under-delivered. The DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act gives us the needed tools to bring greater transparency, accountability and consistency to the Department’s acquisition process. I am proud to work with Congressman Duncan on this important bill.”

Subcommittee Vice Chairman Daines said: “As the vice chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, I am honored to help introduce legislation that will increase government efficiency and improve accountability to hardworking American taxpayers. This bill brings commonsense business practices into the Department of Homeland Security by creating sound fiscal discipline and much-needed accountability.”  

To save taxpayer dollars, H.R. 4228 reforms DHS’s acquisition process by:

  • Authorizing the Department’s Chief Acquisition Officer, the Undersecretary for Management, to approve, halt, modify or cancel major acquisition programs as needed;
  • Requiring that every major acquisition program have an approved Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) document;
  • Codifying the Acquisition Review Board and requiring the board to validate the documents – including the APB – and review the cost, schedule and performance objectives of major acquisitions;
  • Requiring a Multiyear Acquisition Strategy be included in each Future Years Homeland Security Program;
  • Authorizing the Chief Procurement Officer to serve as the main liaison to industry and to oversee a certification and training program for DHS’s acquisition workforce;
  • Compelling DHS to submit to Congress major acquisition programs that fail to meet cost, schedule or performance metrics through quarterly status and accountability reports;
  • Directing the Department to find ways to streamline the acquisition process and strategically address issues regarding bid protest without creating any new offices or programs; and
  • Instructing DHS to eliminate unnecessary duplication.

The full text of H.R. 4228 is available HERE.

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