Homeland Security Acquisitions: Earlier Requirements Definition and Clear Documentation of Key Decisions Could Facilitate Ongoing Progress, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 9MB]

"In fiscal year 2016, DHS planned to invest about $7 billion in major acquisitions. DHS's acquisition activities are on GAO's [Government Accountability Office] High Risk List, in part due to program management, requirements, and funding issues. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the DHS Appropriations Act, 2015 included a provision for GAO to review DHS's major acquisitions. This report, GAO's third annual review, addresses the extent to which (1) DHS's major acquisition programs are on track to meet schedule and cost goals, (2) these programs are meeting KPPs, [Key Performance Parameters] and (3) DHS has strengthened implementation of its acquisition policy. GAO assessed DHS's 15 largest acquisition programs that were in the process of obtaining new capabilities as of May 2016, and 11 additional programs that GAO or DHS identified were at risk of poor outcomes. For all 26 programs, GAO reviewed key documentation, assessed performance against baselines established since DHS's 2008 acquisition policy, and met with program officials. GAO also met with DHS acquisition officials and assessed DHS's policies and practices against GAO acquisition best practices and federal internal control standards. [...] DHS should ensure that programs define technical requirements before setting baselines; document rationale for key acquisition decisions; and clarify when not meeting KPPs constitutes a breach. DHS concurred with GAO's recommendations."

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