IG: DHS spends up to $49M on underused vehicles

Wednesday - 9/3/2014, 10:30am EDT

The Homeland Security Department spent as much as $48.6 million on underused vehicles in fiscal year 2012, according to an agency inspector general report.

DHS has the second largest civilian vehicle fleet in the federal government, with about 56,000 vehicles and operating costs totaling $534 million annually. The department's fleet program manual designates vehicles as "underused" if they accrue fewer than 12,000 miles per year.

The IG specifically looked at fleet data from three DHS components: Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Protection and Programs Directorate. Of the 753 vehicles the IG reviewed, 442 — nearly 60 percent — were underused in FY2012.

In fiscal 2013, 86 percent of the underused vehicles remained in the fleet, even though the components "did not contain justifications for keeping any of the underused vehicles in their respective inventories," the report said.

The IG says one of the main issues is the lack of a centralized fleet management system.

"Each DHS component manages its own vehicle fleet, making it difficult for the DHS Fleet Manager to provide adequate oversight and ensure compliance with federal laws, regulations, policies and directives," the report said. "For reporting on its vehicle inventory, DHS must rely on multiple sources of information containing missing, unsupported and conflicting vehicle data from the components."

Among the 753 reviewed vehicles, 293, or 39 percent, do not show documented proof of ownership. Acquisition dates are inaccurate, duplicated or unsupported by documents in 405 of the records.

The IG recommends that DHS ensure the fleet manager has adequate authority over individual components, especially when it comes to eliminating underused vehicles.

The report also recommends implementing a centralized record system, to more easily identify data gaps and inconsistencies.

DHS concurs with both recommendations.

RELATED STORIES:

USPS lacks funds to replace aging mail delivery trucks

Army cuts size, increases efficiency of its vehicle fleet