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Oversight of DHS Warehouses Lacking, DHS IG Audit Finds

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “cannot effectively manage its warehouse needs” because some of the department’s components “misclassify many of their warehouses,” DHS’s Inspector General (IG) said in a recent audit report.

DHS’s components own and lease warehouses to store things like disaster relief supplies, computer equipment, seized assets and excess property.

However, the IG “found buildings that should not have been on the department’s warehouse inventory.”

“Conversely,” the IG reported, “we found buildings that should have been classified as warehouses that were not.” And, “Because the warehouse inventories are inaccurate, DHS cannot manage warehouses or demonstrate compliance with requirements to limit the size of real property inventories and reduce costs.”

Even though most of DHS’s warehouses IG auditors visited “were well organized and appeared to support the components’ missions, we identified three warehouses that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could potentially consolidate or close and put $1 million per year to better use,” the IG’s audit report revealed.

According to past and present CBP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, there are warehouses containing numerous forms of equipment procured for CBP officers and Border Patrol agents which have never been dispersed to CBP field operations officials or Border Patrol agents, including a variety of weapons and ammunition; night vision equipment; protective garments; firearms and other items that were originally destined for CBP officers and Border Patrol agents.

In response to the IG’s audit, DHS “reported … is committed to effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars through initiatives to identify regional consolidation and shared services opportunities. DHS concurred with the IG’s four remedial recommendations.

Earlier this year, the House passed four bipartisan supported bills to address waste, fraud and abuse and to increase transparency at DHS.

Similarly, Homeland Security Today first reported last fall that in the midst of rising fears over the spread of Ebola, the hearing revealed DHS had not effectively managed and overseen its inventory of pandemic preparedness supplies, including protective equipment and antiviral drugs, calling into question the ability of DHS personnel to effectively respond to a pandemic.

At a recent House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, DHS Inspector General John Roth referenced an August audit that concluded DHS did not adequately assess its needs before purchasing pandemic preparedness supplies, and then did not adequately manage the purchased supplies.

As Homeland Security Today previously reported, “DHS did not adequately conduct a needs assessment prior to purchasing pandemic preparedness supplies and then did not effectively manage its stockpile of pandemic personal protective equipment and antiviral medical countermeasures."

When the Inspector General’s report was initially released, it sparked sharp criticism from public health sector and other authorities.

 

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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