The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate did not fully comply with requirements of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, by not effectively coordinating and integrating department-wide R&D activities, the DHS Office of Inspector General found.
In August 2015, S&T established Integrated Product Teams as the central mechanism to identify, track, and coordinate department-wide priority R&D efforts. However, S&T did not follow its IPT process as intended. Specifically:
- Not all components submitted all information on capability gaps to the IPTs because some components believed they were not required to do so, and S&T believed it did not have the authority to enforce the requirement;
- S&T did not effectively gather, track, and manage data on the Department’s R&D gaps and activities because the tools it had to capture the data were redundant, and S&T had not developed policies and procedures for integrating the data from them into a single, comprehensive database; and
- S&T did not adequately monitor the IPT process to ensure it was effective because, according to S&T, it had limited staffing and the IPT process is restructuring.
Consequently, S&T may not be able to provide the Secretary of Homeland Security and Congress with an accurate profile of the Department’s R&D activities or funding needs for a wide range of missions, including securing the border, detecting nuclear devices, and screening airline passengers.
OIG made three recommendations to improve S&T’s coordination of R&D activities across DHS. S&T concurred with the recommendations.