Congress should fund President Obama's fiscal 2017 budget requests for the ongoing Department of Homeland Security consolidation at St. Elizabeths West project, according to a new report. This prioritization would avoid further delays and cost overruns and promote a projected $1.2 billion in savings over 30 years.
Released by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the report looks at how the consolidated headquarters will improve DHS's ability to accomplish its mission while saving taxpayer money.
Only requiring three more years of funding, including 2017, the consolidated headquarters are intended to more efficiently address increasingly complex threats by allowing senior leadership to come quickly together and coordinate cohesive operations.
Insufficient funding by 2012 delayed project completion by more than 10 years and increased costs by $1.1 billion. Failure to fully fund the project in 2017 is projected to waste roughly $70 million due to increased construction costs and additional rent expenses due to the delay.
"The headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeths is crucial to the success of the department and to realizing the unified, cohesive DHS envisioned by Congress when it created the department 14 years ago," said Carper in a news release.
"Bringing together key leadership and agency personnel in one, centralized location is critical to supporting DHS’s mission, reducing management challenges and making the department’s operations more efficient. Bringing together multiple DHS entities on one campus will enhance national security and allow for a swift, coordinated response across the department when emergencies occur. Completion of the St. Elizabeths campus makes good financial and managerial sense and will build on recent efforts, including provisions passed in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, to help make the department more than just the sum of its parts."
The full report can be viewed on the Governmental Affairs Committee website.