GAO: More input will make a better QHSR

Tuesday - 10/11/2011, 4:09pm EDT

David Maurer, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, GAO

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

The goal of the Homeland Security Department's first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, due at the end of 2009, was to set a strategic framework for homeland security activities.

To create the congressionally-mandated report, DHS set out to include a wide range of stakeholders, but the department can do a better job in the next review by including more stakeholders and giving them more time to give input in the next report due in 2013, said a Government Accountability Office report.

One of the challenges is the sheer number of stakeholders involved, certainly a "daunting task," said David Maurer, director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at GAO, in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

"It goes beyond just DHS," he said. "DHS itself is $56 billion in budgetary authority and over 200,000 employees. When you add to that the Department of Justice and HHS and DoD and what everyone else is doing in homeland security, you're talking about a lot of people and a lot of money and a lot of different efforts."

DHS also had the challenge of timing, doing preparatory work during the Bush administration and releasing the report under the Obama administration.

"When you're taking on something like this on the seam of administrations, there's some political challenges," Maurer said.

GAO also recommends DHS better define the different responsibilities of stakeholders and set risk assessment standards that "cut across all different kinds of threats," he said.

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