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DHS Announces New Mission Statement

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on May 11 announced a new mission statement for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in an effort to further unify the 226,000 employees and numerous components of DHS.

The new mission statement reads, “With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.”

The new statement is a slimmed down version of the much lengthier previous mission statement, which said:

“We will lead efforts to achieve a safe, secure, and resilient homeland. We will counter terrorism and enhance our security; secure and manage our borders; enforce and administer our immigration laws; protect cyber networks and critical infrastructure; and ensure resilience from disasters. We will accomplish these missions while providing essential support to national and economic security and maturing and strengthening both the Department of Homeland Security and the homeland security enterprise.”

Johnson called the new mission statement the “capstone of the Unity of Effort Initiative,” an effort launched by the Secretary in 2014 to create a more unified response to the challenges facing DHS.

In developing the new mission statement, Johnson consulted with three former Secretaries and sought feedback from DHS employees. He received almost 3,000 responses.

“This statement is intended to reflect the views and the values of our employees, and to be in their voice, not mine,” said Johnson. Across all components, the three most common words invoked in the submissions were “honor,” “integrity,” and “safeguard.”

Johnson hopes the mission statement will boost morale among DHS employees, which has been plummeting in recent years.

Employee satisfaction at DHS reached a historic low in 2014, with the department falling dead last in the annual, Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called the ranking “unacceptable.”

DHS also ranked 19th out of 19 for large agencies in the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which was conducted by the Office of Personnel Management between April 27 and June 5, 2015.

“To be sure, I am disappointed that our efforts to improve employee satisfaction at DHS were not reflected Department-wide in this year’s results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint survey,” Johnson said. “I am disappointed but not discouraged.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on April 27 to assess the health of agencies continuing to experience low rankings. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) told Angela Bailey, the DHS Chief Human Capital Officer, “All we want to know is, when is it going to get better?”

Bailey said DHS has conducted a number of activities to improve employee satisfaction, including townhalls between DHS component leadership and employees, as well as the development of a new department-wide employee engagement action plan. Additionally, DHS is in the process of hiring a Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, whose responsibility will be to grow and adapt DHS leadership’s engagement strategies.

Johnson believes the new mission statement is a step in the right direction.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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