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Legislation would overhaul DHS acquisition process

Mar. 26, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

A bill that would reform the acquisition process at the Department of Homeland Security and force the agency to report all cost overruns for major projects to Congress was approved by a House subcommittee March 26.

The DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act —introduced by Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Ron Barber, D-Ariz., and Steve Daines R-Mont., and passed out of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency — would also:

■ Authorize the chief acquisition officer at DHS to approve, halt, modify or cancel major acquisition programs as needed.

■ Create an acquisition review board within the agency that would validate procurement documents and review the cost, schedule and performance of major acquisitions.

■ Require every major procurement and program to have cost, schedule and scope baseline documents in order to determine its effectiveness and efficiency in later years.

■ Mandate the program manager to notify agency leaders if a program runs the risk of being 20 percent over budget or 12 months behind schedule.

Duncan, chairman of the subcommittee, said at the markup of the legislation that DHS acquisition has been wasteful and inefficient for years and repeated audits have found mismanagement of a number of programs.

“Unfortunately many of these major acquisition projects cost more, are late or do less than expected,” Duncan said.

He said the agency has tried to implement commercial best practices in its acquisition processes but has routinely failed to hold projects and project managers accountable.

The agency would also have to evelop an incentive program for project managers to help bring projects in on time and on budget.

Danes said developing an incentive plan would help the agency cut down on waste and hold people accountable for the performance of their projects.

“In the private sector If you don’t do your job or you’re your resources efficiently you don’t get paid. We need that to produce better results in government,” he said.

Related: DHS to centralize, budgeting, acquisition

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