The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not been exercising adequate oversight of its workforce training, which may be resulting in wasted resources, according to a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG).
Specifically, the report stated DHS lacks reliable training cost information and data needed to make informed management decisions. Additionally, DHS does not have an effective governance structure for training oversight.
For example, DHS OIG discovered major discrepancies between the total amounts of training costs DHS reported. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, Congress provided $1.4 billion for DHS training, but the agency only reported $1.9 million in training costs to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
DHS relies solely on contractors to meet reporting requirements. DHS has several contractors track training data and submit to OPM, but DHS OIG discovered that the reported data has been inaccurate. The auditors determined that DHS reported less than one percent of the funds appropriated in training in FY 2014.
“Although DHS has taken steps to improve the reliability of its training data, further action is needed,” DHS OIG determined.
Moreover, DHS has not been reporting on any training data for US Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and US Secret Service (USSS). A DHS contractor said there was an issue with USSS data files, but neither DHS nor USSS were aware of this problem before the audit.
Although DHS OIG has made 29 recommendations since 2004 to improve oversight of workforce training, DHS has failed to adequately address these recommendations.
In addition, DHS components do not have a unified process to govern workforce training, making it difficult for DHS to detect opportunities to increase efficiency. The report explained, “DHS has overlooked opportunities for known efficiencies and continues to create working groups. This lack of action hinders DHS’ ability to improve oversight of its workforce training and ensure the most cost-efficient use of resources.”
DHS OIG offered three recommendations to improve the tracking and reporting of training information:
- Recommendation 1: Develop and implement a process to accurately capture and report training information across DHS.
- Recommendation 2: Establish an effective governance structure at DHS and component levels with clear guidance and authority for training and development.
- Recommendation 3: Evaluate past working group recommendations and create an implementation plan for recommendations that will improve the management of DHS training.
DHS agreed with the recommendations, and stated that the Department is committed to “consistent oversight and transparency in order to ensure unity of effort, and encourage efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability.”