Sen. Carper Questions Serious Financial Management Failures at Department of Homeland Security
Subcommittee Examines Financial Woes In America's Security Agency
“Unacceptable” is the word Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) used today to describe the loss of $52 million on failed attempts over the past four years to fix the financial management system at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“The Department of Homeland Security has a bad track record when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively,” Sen. Carper said. “Congressional oversight is imperative to ensure the Department of Homeland Security takes immediate, corrective action to ensure funds are not wasted in its financial management systems modernization efforts that support its mission to protect nearly 300 million Americans after 9-11.”
The hearing, “Meeting the Challenge: Are Missed Opportunities Costing Us Money?” was held by the subcommittee charged with oversight of financial management in all federal agencies, the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security.
Today’s hearing coincided with the release of a telling, new report requested last year by Sen. Tom Carper and ranking member, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), entitled: Homeland Security: Department-wide Integrated Financial Management Systems Remain a Challenge.
The department has faced overwhelming challenges since it was created in 2003, bringing together 22 separate agencies under one department. The GAO found that, four years later, the department lost some $52 million on a project that failed because it lacks a clearly defined plan to improve its financial management systems.
The subcommittee heard from top DHS and GAO financial management experts about the efforts to transform, consolidate, and integrate financial management systems and actions to be taken to prevent future failures before more money is wasted.
The Thursday afternoon hearing was the first in a series Chairman Carper intends to hold in ongoing oversight and investigation of financial management transformation efforts at the Department of Homeland Security.