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Rational Oversight of DHS
July 13, 2014
8:42 pm
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This sounds like a good idea. By Jane Holl Lute and James Jay Carafano, from TheHill...

"Can you imagine reporting directly to dozens of different bosses? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does just that. Answerable to more than 100 different congressional committees and subcommittees, department officials spend thousands of hours each year briefing lawmakers and staff members — and countless more preparing testimony and writing reports for its legislative masters.

Congressional oversight is, of course, both desirable and necessary. But the byzantine system of accountability under which the DHS operates is, to quote a favorite phrase of Congress itself, “bloated, inefficient, and seriously dysfunctional.”


This problem has been festering for a decade. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission Report called on Congress to “create a single, principal point of oversight and review for homeland security.” Instead, scores of committees and subcommittees continue to confuse and delay policies designed to protect the United States.
The price tag for such redundant oversight is staggering, in terms of both direct costs and time lost. According to the National Security Preparedness Group, an organization led by the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, the DHS provided nearly 4,000 congressional briefings and testified before Congress more than 285 times in 2009 and 2010.

“This amounted to many thousands of hours of work, often duplicating efforts, and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars,” the group wrote in 2011.

And the situation hasn’t improved. The department had 391 officials testify in 257 hearings and conducted close to 4,000 briefings between 2012 and 2013, yet again costing tens of millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours.

In times of tightening budgets and growing threats, we can’t afford to waste precious security dollars on inside-the-Beltway power politics. It’s time to rationalize oversight of the DHS, and that requires overarching, comprehensive reform.

Congress must cut the number of committees overseeing the Department of Homeland Security. It should consolidate primary oversight under one committee in the House and one in the Senate with coordinated jurisdiction. Such a move would save money, streamline the oversight process, and get DHS officials off Capitol Hill and back at their posts."...

Read more: http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/211801 ... z37NJkDNZx
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