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Monday, July 16, 2012

DHS management failures threaten terrorism prevention, experts warn

Management problems at the Homeland Security Department threaten to undermine efforts to prevent terrorism in the U.S., lawmakers and experts with close knowledge of the department's operations said Thursday.

The department has played a key role in stopping all large-scale attacks since 9/11, but it still faces significant integration challenges, said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) at a Thursday hearing by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

She said DHS' continued presence — since its creation — on the Government Accountability Office's High Risk List as evidence.

DHS opened its doors in 2003, consolidating responsibilities from 22 other departments and agencies. The goal of Congress in creating DHS was to eliminate stovepipes that made it difficult for agencies to share information and resources aimed at preventing terrorism.

But nine years later, DHS has failed to adequately support key mission areas, said former department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

Skinner said DHS is lagging especially in the areas of financial management, acquisition management, IT management and grants management-most of which GAO has included on its high risk list.

-Rubin Gomez, FederalNewsRadio.com

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