GAO report criticizes DHS procurement

From USA Today:

A GAO report scheduled for release today says DHS has done a poor job overseeing the purchase of billions of dollars of equipment and technology since the agency was created five years ago.  Senior department officials have “not provided the oversight needed” to ensure that purchases “with important national security objectives” function properly and stay on budget.   The GAO said the main problem is that the department did not follow its own procedures, and blamed oversight problems on insufficient Homeland Security staff and limited attention paid by senior department officials.

Although previous audits have documented problems with individual programs, the GAO report is the first to review Homeland Security’s overall system of buying and maintaining $60 billion of new equipment and technology.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), head of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security spending, said the department’s purchasing system needs an overhaul to protect billions in taxpayer funds.

Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie referred a reporter to a statement attached to the GAO report that said many improvements have been made, including the creation of two oversight divisions. He added that other improvements will be made in the next two years.

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