New Home for DHS

The Department of Homeland Security moved into a temporary headquarters more than 12 years ago, and they’re still there. The construction of their new headquarters at the St. Elizabeths campus in southeast Washington, DC began in 2009 and, when complete, will consolidate nearly 40 DHS facilities into one building. A new Minority Staff Report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs details how implementing the Enhanced Plan for the completion of the project would save $1.2 billion over thirty years and move the completion date from 2026 to 2021.

According to the Committee’s Ranking Member, Senator Carper, “Completion of the St. Elizabeths campus makes good financial and managerial sense and will build on recent efforts, including provisions passed in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, to help make the department more than just the sum of its parts. Given its importance to the safety and security of all Americans, the completion of the St. Elizabeths consolidation project must remain a priority in the coming years for both Congress and the Administration.”

The project has been plagued by inadequate funding for several years, and the delays have been estimated to have cost more than $1.1 billion extra already. Funding shortages have stopped construction but the management of the long project has remained, and had to be paid for. But this increased cost highlights the importance of finishing construction sooner rather than later.

As DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson stated in February of this year, “It was supposed to be temporary 12 years ago and it’s still there, and we still work there and there are huge, huge drawbacks to the ability of my leadership to conduct our oversight of a 225,000 person workforce in our current headquarters. We’ve made an investment in St. Elizabeth’s and the more we put into it now, the less expensive it will be and the less time it will take to eventually get there.”

View the full report on here on the HSDL.