WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) has introduced H.R. 1252 the “DHS Acquisition Authorities Act of 2017” as his first legislative initiative as a member of Congress. The bill is designed to create greater accountability for acquisitions programs within the Department of Homeland Security. A 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that 20 out of the 22 major DHS acquisition programs experienced cost growth, schedule slips, or both. The “DHS Acquisition Authorities Act” will clearly designate who is responsible for each major acquisition program at DHS and requires documentation for each program that details life cycle cost estimates, cost-benefit analysis, and a detailed schedule for each project.
“As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, it became apparent to my colleagues and I that our current major acquisition programs are unaffordable and inefficient,” said Rep. Clay Higgins. “We want to make sure all acquisition programs are being properly overseen and managed by appropriate staff at DHS. Ensuring proper oversight and clearly designated accountability is just common sense and good practice,” said Higgins.
The legislation defines major acquisition programs as a DHS project or facility that carries a $300 million or more life cycle cost estimate. Some examples of these programs, to name a few, include the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Passenger Screening Program, the National Cybersecurity Protection System, the Custom and Border Protection’s (CBP) Integrated Fixed Towers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Logistics Supply Chain Management System.
The “DHS Acquisition Authorities Act” designates the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Management as the Chief Acquisition Officer and gives the Under Secretary the authority to delegate each major acquisition program to specific senior officials. The bill also outlines new requirements for the DHS Chief Procurement Officer and the DHS Chief Information Officer designed to increase accountability and budget restraint.
“The federal government’s spending is off the rails. There’s no other way to put it,” said Rep. Higgins. “There is no reason why we cannot protect our homeland, secure the border and continue to rein in spending. That’s what Americans expect of us and we have to deliver.”
The DHS Acquisition Authorities Act of 2017 is scheduled to be marked up in the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday March 08, 2017.