The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) annual assessment of acquisition programs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found 10 programs to have been in breach of either baseline cost or schedule at some point in 2020 and five were in breach as of September 2020.
The report, released Jan. 19, calls the DHS acquisition program a continued high-risk issue and recommends actions for both DHS and Congress.
GAO recommends the DHS secretary direct the undersecretary of management “ensure the requirements for establishing key acquisition documentation … to include requirements for the systems engineering life cycle tailoring plans.”
The report also recommends Congress be more specific about the information it needs to evaluate these programs.
“Congress should consider determining what information on cost, schedule, and performance risks for DHS Level 1 and 2 acquisition programs it needs to inform oversight and determine the appropriate reporting mechanisms for DHS to provide that information,” the report says.
The DHS National Cybersecurity Protection System and Grants Management Modernization acquisition programs were among the five found in breach as of last September. While some of the cost and schedule breaches can be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, GAO also points the finger at DHS acquisition management for some of the failures too.
While 19 of DHS’ 24 acquisition programs are currently on schedule and within its cost plan, GAO says some of those programs are also at risk of running afoul of expected cost or schedule.