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Homeland Security: Summary of Challenges Faced in Targeting Oceangoing Cargo Containers for Inspection

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "After the attacks of September 11, 2001, concerns intensified that terrorists would attempt to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the United States. One possible method is to use one of the 7 million cargo containers that arrive at our seaports each year. Addressing the potential threat posed by the movement of oceangoing cargo containers falls to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since CBP cannot inspect all arriving cargo containers, it uses a targeting strategy, including an Automated Targeting System. This system targets containers for inspection based on perceived level of risk. In this testimony, GAO summarizes its work on (1) whether the development of CBP's targeting strategy is consistent with recognized key risk management and modeling practices and (2) how well the strategy has been implemented at selected seaports."
Date: March 31, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Operating, but Management Improvements Are Still Needed

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a program--the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)--to collect, maintain, and share information, including biometric identifiers, on selected foreign nationals who enter and exit the United States. US-VISIT uses these biometric identifiers (digital fingerscans and photographs) to screen persons against watch lists and to verify that a visitor is the person who was issued a visa or other travel document. Visitors are also to confirm their departure by having their visas or passports scanned and undergoing fingerscanning at selected air and sea ports of entry. GAO was asked to testify on (1) the status of US-VISIT and (2) DHS progress in implementing recommendations that GAO made as part of its prior reviews of US-VISIT annual expenditure plans. The testimony is based on GAO's prior reports as well as ongoing work for the House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO's recommendations are directed at helping the department improve its capabilities to deliver US-VISIT capability and benefit expectations on time and within budget. According to DHS, the recommendations have made US-VISIT a stronger program."
Date: January 25, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Nearly all of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program managers GAO surveyed reported their programs had experienced significant challenges. Sixty-eight of the 71 respondents reported they experienced funding instability, faced workforce shortfalls, or their planned capabilities changed after initiation, and most survey respondents reported a combination of these challenges. DHS lacks the data needed to accurately measure program performance, but GAO was able to use survey results, information DHS provided to Congress, and an internal DHS review from March 2012 to identify 42 programs that experienced cost growth, schedule slips, or both. GAO gained insight into the magnitude of the cost growth for 16 of the 42 programs, which increased from $19.7 billion in 2008 to $52.2 billion in 2011, an aggregate increase of 166 percent."
Date: September 18, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made and Work Remaining in Implementing Homeland Security Missions 10 Years after 9/11

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, led to profound changes in government agendas, policies and structures to confront homeland security threats facing the nation. Most notably, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began operations in 2003 with key missions that included preventing terrorist attacks from occurring in the United States, reducing the country's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimizing the damages from any attacks that may occur. DHS is now the third-largest federal department, with more than 200,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $50 billion. Since 2003, GAO has issued over 1,000 products on DHS's operations in such areas as border and transportation security and emergency management, among others. As requested, this testimony addresses DHS's progress and challenges in implementing its homeland security missions since it began operations, and issues affecting implementation efforts. This testimony is based on a report GAO is issuing today, which assesses DHS's progress in implementing its homeland security functions and work remaining."
Date: September 7, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Much Is Being Done to Protect Agriculture from a Terrorist Attack, but Important Challenges Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "U.S. agriculture generates more than $1 trillion per year in economic activity and provides an abundant food supply for Americans and others. Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, there are new concerns about the vulnerability of U.S. agriculture to the deliberate introduction of animal and plant diseases (agroterrorism). Several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Defense (DOD), play a role in protecting the nation against agroterrorism. GAO examined (1) the federal agencies' roles and responsibilities to protect against agroterrorism, (2) the steps that the agencies have taken to manage the risks of agroterrorism, and (3) the challenges and problems that remain."
Date: March 8, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Homeland Security: Status and Accountability Challenges Associated with the Use of Special DHS Acquisition Authority

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Other transaction authority was created to enhance the federal government's ability to acquire cutting-edge science and technology by attracting nontraditional contractors that have not typically pursued government contracts. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 granted the department the temporary authority to enter into other transactions for research and prototype projects for a period of 5 years. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 extended this authority until September 30, 2008. This testimony discusses (1) the extent to which DHS has used its other transaction authority, (2) the status of DHS's implementation of GAO's previous recommendations, and (3) the accountability challenges associated with the use of these agreements."
Date: February 7, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Observations on the Department of Homeland Security's Acquisition Organization and on the Coast Guard's Deepwater Program

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In January 2003, GAO designated the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) implementation and transformation as high risk because of the size and complexity of the effort and the existing challenges faced by the components being merged into the department. The success of the effort to integrate numerous agencies and organizations into one cabinet-level department rests in large part on DHS's ability to effectively acquire the wide range of goods and services it needs to achieve its mission of protecting the nation from terrorism. DHS is undertaking a number of large, complex investments as the federal government increasingly relies on contractors for roles and missions previously performed by government employees. One of the department's largest investments--the Deepwater program, now estimated to cost $24 billion--is the Coast Guard's major effort to replace or modernize its aircraft and vessels. Rather than using a traditional acquisition approach, the Coast Guard is using a system integrator to design, construct, deploy, support, and integrate the Deepwater assets. In this testimony, the Comptroller General discussed (1) the overarching challenges DHS faces in establishing an effective acquisition organization, (2) GAO's prior work on Coast Guard and contractor management of the Deepwater program, and (3) the status of GAO's ongoing reviews."
Date: February 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Protecting Federal Facilities Remains a Challenge for the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "As part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Protective Service (FPS) is responsible for protecting federal employees and visitors in approximately 9,000 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration (GSA). FPS has a budget of approximately $1 billion and maintains approximately 1,200 full-time employees and about 13,000 contract security guards that help accomplish the agency's facility protection mission. This testimony is based on past reports and testimonies and discusses challenges FPS faces in carrying out its mission with regard to (1) risk management, (2) strategic human capital planning, (3) oversight of its contract guard program, and (4) ensuring that its fee-based funding structure is the appropriate mechanism for funding the agency. GAO also addresses the extent to which FPS has made progress in responding to these challenges. To perform this work, GAO used its key facility protection practices as criteria, visited FPS regions and selected GSA buildings, reviewed training and certification data for FPS's contract guards, and interviewed officials from DHS, GSA, guard contractors, and guards."
Date: July 13, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Selected Recommendations from Congressionally Chartered Commissions and GAO

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Terrorist attacks, both before and after September 11, 2001, have increased congressional concerns regarding the complexity, funding, and oversight of federal programs designed to combat terrorism and ensure homeland security. Hundreds of recommendations have been made by nationally chartered commissions and GAO to further improve our nation's strategic planning and program development in homeland security. GAO was asked to review the reports of selected congressionally chartered commissions and previously issued GAO reports and testimonies in order to identify the strategic recommendations made and organize them both by critical mission area and topic area."
Date: March 31, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Challenges and Strategies in Addressing Short- and Long-Term National Needs

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The United States now confronts a range of diffuse threats that put increased destructive power into the hands of small states, groups, and individuals. These threats include terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure and computer systems, the potential use of weapons of mass destruction, and the spread of infectious diseases. Addressing these challenges will require leadership to develop and implement a homeland security strategy in coordination with all relevant partners, and to marshal and direct the necessary resources. The recent establishment of the Office of Homeland Security is a good first step, but questions remain about how this office will be structured, what authority its Director will have, and how this effort can be institutionalized and sustained over time. Although homeland security is an urgent and vital national priority, the United States still must address short-term and long-term fiscal challenges that were present before September 11."
Date: November 7, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Applying Risk Management Principles to Guide Federal Investments

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the federal government has provided DHS with more than $130 billion in budget authority to make investments in homeland security. However, as GAO has reported, this federal financial assistance has not been guided by a clear risk-based strategic plan that fully applies risk management principles. This testimony discusses the extent to which DHS has taken steps to apply risk management principles to target federal funding for homeland security investments (1) in making grant allocations, (2) in funding transportation and port security enhancements, (3) in other DHS mission areas, and (4) at a strategic level across DHS. This testimony summarizes previous GAO work in these areas."
Date: February 7, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Preparing for and Responding to Disasters

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 stipulates major changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to improve the agency's preparedness for and response to catastrophic disasters. For example, the act establishes a new mission for and new leadership positions within FEMA. As GAO has reported, DHS faces continued challenges, including clearly defining leadership roles and responsibilities, developing necessary disaster response capabilities, and establishing accountability systems to provide effective response while also protecting against waste, fraud, and abuse. This testimony discusses the extent to which DHS has taken steps to overcome these challenges This testimony summarizes earlier GAO work on: (1) leadership, response capabilities, and accountability controls; (2) organizational changes provided for in the Post-Katrina Reform Act; and (3) disaster management issues for continued Congressional attention."
Date: March 9, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Addressing Weaknesses with Facility Security Committees Would Enhance Protection of Federal Facilities

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To accomplish its mission of protecting about 9,000 federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) currently has a budget of about $1 billion, about 1,225 full-time employees, and about 15,000 contract security guards. However, protecting federal facilities and their occupants from a potential terrorist attack or other acts of violence remains a daunting challenge for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Protective Service. GAO has issued numerous reports on FPS's efforts to protect the General Services Administration's (GSA) facilities. This report (1) recaps the major challenges we reported that FPS faces in protecting federal facilities and discusses FPS's efforts to address them and (2) identifies an additional challenge that FPS faces related to the facility security committees (FSC), which are responsible for addressing security issues at federal facilities. This report is based primarily on our previous work and recent FPS interviews."
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: INS Cannot Locate Many Aliens Because It Lacks Reliable Address Information

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government's need to locate aliens in the United States was considerably heightened. Without reliable alien address information, the government is impeded in its ability to find aliens who represent a national security threat or who could help with the nation's anti-terrorism efforts. Requesters from both the Senate and House asked GAO to review the reliability of INS's alien address information and identify the ways it could be improved."
Date: November 21, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: The Status of Strategic Planning in the National Capital Region

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress asked GAO to provide comments on the National Capital Region's (NCR) strategic plan. GAO reported on NCR strategic planning, among other issues, in May 2004 and September 2004, testified before the House Committee on Government Reform in June 2004, and testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia in July 2005. In this testimony, we addressed completion of the NCR strategic plan, national and regional priorities, and strengthening any plan that is developed."
Date: March 29, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made in Implementation of Management Functions, but More Work Remains

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began operations in March 2003 with missions that include preventing terrorist attacks from occurring within the United States, reducing U.S. vulnerability to terrorism, minimizing damages from attacks that occur, and helping the nation recover from any attacks. GAO has reported that the implementation and transformation of DHS is an enormous management challenge. GAO's prior work on mergers and acquisitions found that successful transformations of large organizations, even those faced with less strenuous reorganizations than DHS, can take at least 5 to 7 years to achieve. This testimony addresses (1) the progress made by DHS in implementing its management functions; and (2) key issues that have affected the department's implementation efforts. This testimony is based on GAO's August 2007 report evaluating DHS's progress between March 2003 and July 2007; selected reports issued since July 2007; and GAO's institutional knowledge of homeland security and management issues."
Date: April 9, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Continuing Attention to Privacy Concerns is Needed as Programs Are Developed

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Advances in information technology make it easier than ever for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to obtain and process information about citizens and residents in many ways and for many purposes. The demands of the war on terror also drive agencies to extract as much value as possible from the information available to them, adding to the potential for compromising privacy. Recognizing that securing the homeland and protecting the privacy rights of individuals are both important goals, the Congress has asked GAO to perform several reviews of DHS programs and their privacy implications over the past several years. For this hearing, GAO was asked to testify on key privacy challenges facing DHS. To address this issue, GAO identified and summarized issues raised in its previous reports on privacy and assessed recent governmentwide privacy guidance."
Date: March 21, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Preliminary Results Show Federal Protective Service's Ability to Protect Federal Facilities Is Hampered By Weaknesses in Its Contract Security Guard Program

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To accomplish its mission of protecting about 9,000 federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) currently has a budget of about $1 billion, about 1,200 full time employees, and about 13,000 contract security guards. This testimony discusses GAO's preliminary findings on (1) the extent to which FPS ensures that its guards have the required training and certifications before being deployed to a federal facility, (2) the extent to which FPS ensures that its guards comply with their assigned responsibilities (post orders) once they are deployed at federal facilities, and (3) security vulnerabilities GAO recently identified related to FPS's guard program. To address these objectives, GAO conducted site visits at 6 of FPS's 11 regions, interviewed numerous FPS officials, guards, contractors, and analyzed FPS's policies and data. GAO also conducted covert testing at 10 judgmentally selected level IV facilities in four cities. A level IV facility has over 450 employees and a high volume of public contact."
Date: July 8, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Challenges in Achieving Interoperable Communications for First Responders

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The inability of first responders--police officers, firemen, hazardous materials teams, emergency medical service personnel, and others--to communicate effectively with one another as needed during an emergency is a long-standing and widely recognized problem in many areas across the country. When first responders cannot communicate effectively as needed, it can literally cost lives--of both emergency responders and those they are trying to assist. At the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, we are examining the barriers to improved interoperability and the roles that federal, state, and local governments can play in improving wireless interoperability communications."
Date: November 6, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Federal Leadership Needed to Facilitate Interoperable Communications Between First Responders

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Lives of first responders and those whom they are trying to assist can be lost when first responders cannot communicate effectively as needed. This testimony addresses issues of determining the status of interoperable wireless communications across the nation, the potential roles that federal, state, and local governments can play in improving these communications, and the need to structure grant programs so that they better support public sector efforts to improve these communications."
Date: September 8, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Federal Leadership and Intergovernmental Cooperation Required to Achieve First Responder Interoperable Communications

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Lives of first responders and those whom they are trying to assist can be lost when first responders cannot communicate effectively as needed. This report addresses issues of determining the status of interoperable wireless communications across the nation, and the potential roles that federal state, local governments can play in improving these communications."
Date: July 20, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: First Responders' Ability to Detect and Model Hazardous Releases in Urban Areas Is Significantly Limited

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "First responders are responsible for responding to terrorist-related and accidental releases of CBRN materials in urban areas. Two primary tools for identifying agents released and their dispersion and effect are equipment to detect and identify CBRN agents in the environment and plume models to track the dispersion of airborne releases of these agents. GAO reports on the limitations of the CBRN detection equipment, its performance standards and capabilities testing, plume models available for tracking urban dispersion of CBRN materials, and information for determining how exposure to CBRN materials affects urban populations. To assess the limitations of CBRN detection equipment and urban plume modeling for first responders' use, GAO met with and obtained data from agency officials and first responders in three states."
Date: June 27, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Reforming Federal Grants to Better Meet Outstanding Needs

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The challenges posed in strengthening homeland security exceed the capacity and authority of any one level of government. Protecting the nation calls for a truly integrated approach bringing together the resources of all levels of government. The Council on Foreign Relations study--Emergency Responders: Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared--states that in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States must prepare based on the assumption that terrorists will strike again. Although it acknowledges the nation's preparedness has improved, the Council's report highlights gaps in preparedness including shortfalls in personnel, equipment, communications, and other critical capabilities. Given the many needs and high stakes, it is critical that the design of federal grants be geared to fund the highest priority projects with the greatest potential impact for improving homeland security. This testimony discusses possible ways in which the grant system for first responders might be reformed."
Date: September 3, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department