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Brian H.
Democrat NY 26

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  • DHS Headquarters Reform and Improvement Act of 2015

    by Representative Brian Higgins

    Posted on 2015-10-20

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    Read More about DHS Headquarters Reform and Improvement Act of 2015

    HIGGINS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise in support of H.R. 3572, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Reform and Improvement Act of 2015.

    Mr. Speaker, the Department of Homeland Security was established in 2003, when 22 agencies were folded together in what was the most substantial reorganization of Federal agencies since the National Security Act of 1947.

    Since that time, the Department of Homeland Security has faced an ever-evolving range of threats and has taken on more missions and responsibilities, most notably with respect to cybersecurity.

    Even as the Department of Homeland Security has risen to the operational demands of the post-9/11 world, departmental integration and coordination of key activities--such as policy development, acquisitions, and human capital management--have been a challenge.

    As a result, the comptroller general and the Department of Homeland Security inspector general have repeatedly found instances where decisionmaking at the component level has resulted in performance failures that have wasted limited Department of Homeland Security resources.

    H.R. 3572 is designed to drive improvements at all levels of the Department and to codify key departmental management directives that were issued in recent years.

    Specifically, H.R. 3572 would strengthen the under secretary for management; authorize and realign central offices within the Management Directorate; bolster the Office of Policy, including its management of DHS overseas personnel; and address the Department's employee morale issues.

    Importantly, H.R. 3572 codifies the Department's acquisition policies, promoting management practices designed to deliver needed capabilities while actively managing risk.

    This bipartisan measure was introduced by Chairman McCaul on September 18, and Ranking Member Thompson was his original cosponsor.

    The degree to which this bill is a bipartisan product was further underscored by the acceptance of 13 amendments offered by Democratic members at the full committee markup held on September 30.

    Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3572 is in line with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson's Unity of Effort initiative. For example, it streamlines how the Department conducts outreach with Homeland Security stakeholders, including businesses and local government agencies, and integrates that process with the Department's policymaking.

    Additionally, in an effort to address chronic morale issues and build bridges between Department of Homeland Security components, H.R. 3572 directs the Department to establish a rotational program for its workforce.

    Finally, the bill elevates the Assistant Secretary for Policy to an under secretary level, a move that successive DHS leaders have sought.

    {time} 1645 By doing so, the bill seeks to not only improve departmentwide policymaking, but to also advance the goals of the initiative.

    With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of H.R. 3572.

    Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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