Napolitano unveils DHS efficiency review initiative

Published 30 March 2009

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano unveils an efficiency review initiative that will examine ways to make the department more efficient in six areas: acquisition management, asset management, real property management, employee vetting/credentialing, hiring/on-boarding, and information technology

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled the DHS Efficiency Review initiative, a major program to improve efficiency and streamline decision-making through a series of agency-wide initiatives ranging from eliminating non-mission critical travel to acquiring enterprise licenses for commonly used software, which are collectively expected to lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in cost avoidance.

Napolitano outlined the plan at the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) state-of-the-art Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, where TSA tests new explosives screening systems — to be funded with $1 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — before being deployed to airports around the country.

This very facility is a great example of efficiency at work,” said Napolitano. “I am committed to creating a new culture of efficiency at the Department of Homeland Security, and the Efficiency Review will allow us to cut costs while streamlining operations and decision-making. Over time, this will make DHS a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect our nation.”

Napolitano announced six main categories of initiatives: acquisition management, asset management, real property management, employee vetting/credentialing, hiring/on-boarding, and information technology. The Efficiency Review plan encompasses simple, common-sense reforms, as well as longer-term, systemic changes. Initiatives are broken down into 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-day groupings indicating when implementation will begin. Within the first 30 days, DHS will eliminate the printing of all documents that can be sent electronically or posted online and consolidate subscriptions of professional publications to lower costs and avoid duplication. Longer term, the plan calls for energy efficiencies at the workplace, the consolidation of employee trainings and orientations, and an assessment of all full-time/ part-time employees and contractors to better manage our workforce and fulfill our core mission.

On 17 February, Napolitano issued a DHS-wide action directive to identify current and past efforts to improve efficiency, resulting in an inventory of more than 700 initiatives implemented over the past five years. She then established an Efficiency Review Steering Committee with representatives from across DHS components, along with a full-time Efficiency Review Team composed of department veterans that shaped the initiative. The initiative includes a plan to encourage and collect employee-generated efficiency ideas from across the department’s workforce.

We note that as governor of Arizona, Napolitano oversaw a similar program, comprising initiatives in procurement, energy conservation, travel, fleet management, training and electronic communications, that resulted in more than $1 billion in savings and cost avoidances for the state government.