DHS Research and Development: Science and Technology Directorate's Test and Evaluation and Reorganization Efforts

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses our prior work examining the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Research and Development (R&D) efforts. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created DHS and, within it, established S&T with the responsibility for conducting national research, development, test and evaluation (T&E) of technology and systems for, among other things, detecting, preventing, protecting against, and responding to terrorist attacks. Since its creation in 2003, DHS, through both S&T and its components, has spent billions of dollars researching and developing technologies used ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. November 17, 2011.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses our prior work examining the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Research and Development (R&D) efforts. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created DHS and, within it, established S&T with the responsibility for conducting national research, development, test and evaluation (T&E) of technology and systems for, among other things, detecting, preventing, protecting against, and responding to terrorist attacks. Since its creation in 2003, DHS, through both S&T and its components, has spent billions of dollars researching and developing technologies used to support a wide range of missions including securing the border, detecting nuclear devices, and screening airline passengers and baggage for explosives, among others. S&T has a wide-ranging mission, which includes conducting basic and applied research of technologies, and overseeing the testing and evaluation of component acquisitions and technologies to ensure that they meet DHS acquisition requirements before implementation in the field. In recent years, we have reported that DHS has experienced challenges in managing its multibillion-dollar technology development and acquisition efforts, including implementing technologies that did not meet intended requirements and were not appropriately tested and evaluated. These problems highlight the important role that S&T plays in overseeing DHS testing and evaluation. S&T has reorganized to better achieve its goals and provide better assistance to DHS components in developing technologies. In addition to the challenge of implementing its varied mission, S&T is also managing a decline in available R&D resources. S&T's fiscal year 2011 appropriation decreased 20 percent from fiscal year 2010 and, while its fiscal year 2012 appropriation has not yet been enacted, both the House and Senate marks for the agency are lower than what was appropriated in fiscal year 2011. As a result, S&T has had to adjust resources and re-prioritize its efforts. In the past, we have reported on issues related to the transformation and reorganization of R&D efforts in the federal government, particularly related to shifting of priorities and managing a reduction in resources. In addition, we identified DHS R&D as an area for potential costs savings in our March 2011 report regarding opportunities to reduce potential duplication in government programs, save tax dollars, and enhance revenue. Specifically, we reported that DHS could take further actions to improve its management of R&D and reduce costs by ensuring that testing efforts are completed before making acquisition decisions and cost-benefit analyses are conducted to reduce R&D inefficiencies and costs. The testimony today focuses on the key findings from our prior work related to S&T's test and evaluation efforts, S&T's recent reorganization efforts, and key findings from our past work related to federal R&D. Specifically, this statement will address: (1) the extent to which S&T oversees T&E of major DHS acquisitions and what challenges, if any, S&T officials report facing in overseeing T&E across DHS; and (2) S&T's recent reorganization efforts and how key findings from our prior work on R&D in the federal government can inform how S&T moves forward. This statement is based on reports and testimonies we issued from March 1995 to July 2011 related to DHS's efforts to manage, test, and deploy various technology programs; transformation of federal R&D; and selected updates conducted from July 2011 to the present related to S&T's reorganization efforts.."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 17, 2011

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. DHS Research and Development: Science and Technology Directorate's Test and Evaluation and Reorganization Efforts, text, November 17, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301714/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.