Duncan Releases Majority Staff Report on Efficiency of Construction of DHS’s New Headquarters

Jan 10, 2014 Issues: Oversight of DHS Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, released a Majority Staff report entitled “Reality Check Needed: Rising Costs and Delays in Construction of New DHS Headquarters at St. Elizabeths.” The report examines the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) planning process for its new headquarters and details how taxpayer dollars have been spent on the project to date.

Originally founded in 1852 as a government-run hospital for the mentally ill, St. Elizabeths is a national historic landmark. In 2006, the hospital was chosen as the future site of a consolidated headquarters complex for DHS, in an effort to build cohesiveness among Department components. The project has received $1.3 billion in funding to date and only the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters complex has been completed.

The 26-page report reviews the potential areas of cost growth, selection and planning issues, and the effects of green initiatives and the site’s historic status on construction costs, among other concerns. Specifically, the report found that it remains unclear how active DHS officials were in choosing the site of their future headquarters. Furthermore, DHS has pushed final completion to fiscal year 2026, 10 years beyond the original schedule, and delays in construction have increased costs by 30%  - about $1 billion. The report questions why DHS has not conducted a major reassessment nor considered a new approach to headquarters consolidation.

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan: “With our nation $17 trillion in debt, we cannot afford waste and frivolous spending. The CHS Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee that I chair is responsible for overseeing DHS to help ensure efficient and effective operations. While touring the St. Elizabeths site in March 2013, I was struck by how taxpayer dollars had been spent thus far. Most Americans would be surprised to see the dilapidated historic buildings that are now undergoing extensive renovation for DHS’s headquarters. This Majority Staff report seeks to examine DHS’s planning process for the new headquarters and show how your tax dollars have been spent to date. With a Government Accountability Office audit ongoing as of the drafting of this report, the Subcommittee will continue its oversight of this significant project.”

The report is available HERE.

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