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Friday, October 01, 2010

DHS management improvements start with acquisition

The Homeland Security Department is tackling one of its biggest management problems first as part of its overall approach to complete its transformation and get off the government's high-risk list.

Janice Holl Lute, DHS deputy secretary, told Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs lawmakers Thursday that it was improving all stages of its acquisition process as part of its overall management integration effort.

One of the end results, Lute said, is to get off the Government Accountability Office's high-risk list, which is due out in January. DHS management has been on the list since Congress created the agency in 2003.

She added that DHS has reevaluated every performance measure - 180 in all. Lute said the agency has recast them in plain language so they provide indicators of the value the program brings to the mission.

Lute said DHS is focusing on seven initiatives that will contribute to the integration of the department's management. These include enterprise governance, balanced workforce strategy, headquarters consolidation and data center migration.

But it's coming up with a common language and business discipline across their acquisition, financial management and human capital management processes that will make the biggest difference.

She added that DHS is taking additional steps from integrating science and technology to a greater extent to instituting acquisition career development programs to strengthening their procurement staffing.

The department also is conducting regular reviews of project portfolios. Besides the acquisition processes and workforce, Lute said DHS is moving ahead with its financial systems consolidation project, known as TASC.

Industry sources expected DHS to make an award in August for the $400 million program. But the Office of Management and Budget slowed down all financial systems projects for review.

Lute said DHS is following OMB's requirements to focus on specific needs of the components based on risk.

She said once awarded TASC will focus on 18-24 month deployment schedule and a plan to minimize cost and risk.
-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com

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