Intended bipartisan reforms and improvements to the US Secret Service (USSS) were the subject of recent hearings by the House Homeland Security Committee Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee.
Committee members addressed the complications the USSS currently faces, with specific focus on its crisis in staffing, recruitment and morale. Committee chairman John Katko (R-NY) and other members of the committee questioned USSS Director Randolph Alles and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General John Roth to discuss how to meet the looming challenges for the agency.
Katko said, the subcommittee will “delve into what more needs to be done to provide the Secret Service with the resources needed to continue fulfilling its mission, adequately staffing operations, and improving morale as we enter a new administration."
Alles addressed the pressing issues on the Service by highlighting the necessary actions that need to take place with recruitment and retainment within agency hiring as well as quicker recruitment process that do not compromise the caliber of employees.
Katko also highlighted that the agency is "stretched too thin" due dwindling recruitment numbers and the inability to cover investigations and protective detail duties.
Inspector General Roth further informed the committee about the agencies’ ongoing problem of antiquated technology. Roth detailed instances of the Secret Service “not kep[ing] pace with technological advancements." Databases and radio technology were repeatedly addressed by the subcommittee as being woefully outdated.
Katko ended the hearing suggesting the subcommittee, USSS director and Inspector General reconvene in a few months to discuss a more specific and concise response to the problems the Secret Service faces, as well as specific numbers of funds and resources the Service would require after the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget cuts for DHS.