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House Passes Homeland Security Bills on DHS Morale, Acquisitions, Transportation

The House of Representatives passed seven bipartisan homeland security bills including House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson’s (D-Miss.) DHS MORALE Act, which seeks to address longstanding morale and retention challenges within the Department of Homeland Security by directing a range of reforms including improved opportunities for leadership development, employee engagement, and career progression.

“I am pleased the House came together today to pass legislation to address DHS’ longstanding challenges by approving bills to improve morale of the DHS workforce, develop a cadre of acquisitions professions within the Department, create new partnerships between small businesses and the Department’s prime contractors, and improve DHS strategic planning,” said Thompson. “I look forward to working with the Senate to ensure that all seven bipartisan measures – each of which has been approved at least once before by the House – get timely consideration in the Senate.”

The seven bills are:

The “DHS MORALE Act” (H.R. 490), as introduced by Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), seeks to improve workforce morale at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by expanding the duties of the Chief Human Capital Officer to address leader development and employee engagement, maintain a catalogue of available employee development opportunities, and issue a DHS-wide employee engagement action plan.

The “Homeland Security Acquisition Professional Career Program Act” (H.R. 367), as introduced by Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), authorizes a program within DHS to develop a cadre of acquisition professionals to help address chronic shortages within the acquisition workforce and  help diversify their workforce. Candidates for these positions are to be recruited from institutions of higher education, including historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions and the recruitment of veterans is encouraged.

The “Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2021” (H.R. 370), as introduced by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), would make critical improvements to the requirements for DHS to carry out a quadrennial homeland security review which is critical to inform the Department’s long-term strategy and drive decision-making about how it organizes itself to address a vast range of risks we face.

The “Department of Homeland Security Mentor-Protégé Program Act of 2021” (H.R. 408), as introduced by Congressman Donald A. McEachin (D-VA), authorizes the mentor-protégé program at DHS which is designed to encourage large prime contractors to partner with and enhance the capabilities of small businesses to help smaller firms increase their ability to compete for future DHS contracts.

The “Trusted Traveler Reconsideration and Restoration Act of 2021” (H.R. 473), as introduced by Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY), directs the Government Accountability Office to review DHS’s trusted traveler programs and to extend the enrollment period where an individual’s participation in a trusted traveler program was revoked in error.

The “Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act” (H.R. 396), as introduced by Congressman Andrew Garbarino (D-NY), makes technical changes to the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) to help improve the ability of transit agencies to prevent and respond to terror attacks. The bill would expand the scope of how TSGP funds can be used to cover costs associated with security efforts. 

The “CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2021” (H.R. 397), as introduced by Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), enhances our preparedness and response to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attack plots by directing the Office of Intelligence and Analysis to coordinate information sharing on CBRN threats with Federal, state, local, and tribal authorities.

Read more at the House Homeland Security Committee

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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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