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Thursday, December 21, 2006

IG outlines Homeland Security Department management challenges

Disaster response, acquisition management and financial management remain major challenges for the Homeland Security Department, according to the department’s independent watchdog.

In a report released Dec. 20, Inspector General Richard Skinner writes that almost four years after the government’s largest reorganization in a half-century, the department “still has much to do to establish a cohesive, efficient and effective organization.”

For the fourth straight year, DHS could not obtain an opinion on its financial statements in 2006, due to component agencies’ inability to produce enough support for their stated financial positions. In September, the department’s new chief financial officer, David Norquist, suspended efforts to merge the eight financial systems in the department, calling the effort too disruptive.

Auditors have identified material weaknesses in areas like budgetary accounting and undelivered orders at DHS agencies, particularly at the Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The components have corrective action plans for those problems, but a separate report by auditor KPMG LLP calls many of those plans insufficient and behind schedule.

-Daniel Friedman, Federal Times.com


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