DHS Secretary Johnson Outlines Plans to Unify Components

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson laid out his plans to better bring the department’s Components together in a memo to DHS leadership.

The April 22 memo entitled “Strengthening Departmental Unity of Effort” was obtained by Homeland Security Watch.

Johnson said in his memo that “it is clear to me…that DHS has yet to reach its full potential as an organization,” acknowledging the process will still take some time as the organization continues its maturation.

“We must have better traceability between strategic objectives, budgeting, acquisition decisions, operational planning, and mission execution, in order to improve both Departmental cohesiveness and operational effectiveness,” Johnson stated.

To drive organizational change, Secretary Johnson has ordered bi-monthly meetings, led personally by Johnson, of top agency leaders, including Component heads, Under Secretaries, and heads of select offices. There will also be weekly meetings of the Deputies Management Action Group led by the Deputy Secretary that spearhead specific initiatives that require joint development across Components, and several other action groups focuses on specific areas.

New processes are also being put in place for managing investments, budget, and program decisions across the department and Components, with the intention of “incorporating the results of strategic analysis and joint requirements planning into portfolios for review by issue teams.” The Undersecretary for Management will be conducting a full review of DHS’s acquisition oversight framework and updating Directive 102-01. 

DHS Headquarters will also be coordinating and collaborating more with Components on strategy, planning, and analytic capability. Components will still produce their own planning and analysis, yet they will work with headquarters to better “develop a comprehensive picture of the Department’s mission responsibilities and functional capabilities, and to identify points of friction or gaps, thus framing the corresponding choices to be made.”

Part of that process will be an end to the current version of the FY14-18 DHS Strategic Plan and a revamped effort involving senior leadership across DHS through the Department Senior Leaders Council “to set the vision and specific, mission-focused outcomes for DHS for the next five years.”

The Secretary said that “these changes are not designed to centralize decision-making authority and processes within an opaque DHS Headquarters,” but rather “to transparently incorporate DHS Components into unified decision-making processes and the analytic efforts that inform decision-making. Our collective goal is to better understand the broad and complex DHS mission space and empower DHS Components to effectively execute their operations.”

Tags: performance, DHS, Department of Homeland Security, better government, strategy

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