Homeland security panel to focus on potential waste at DHS

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., launched his committee in the new Democratic-controlled Congress by vowing to take a hard look at the Homeland Security Department.

"DHS is a department in sore need of congressional oversight," said Thompson at the panel's organizational meeting.

Committee spokeswoman Dena Graziano said Thompson had developed an oversight plan calling for probes of department contracting practices and other "waste, fraud and abuse" issues. "There was little or no oversight of DHS" by the Republican-controlled congresses in recent years, she added.

Graziano said Thompson also wanted to review the department's record on promoting better communications among first responders. "It is important to him," she said, noting that he had fought to secure funding for Homeland Security Department programs to develop interoperable communication systems for police and fire personnel.

Graziano said that Thompson, whose home state of Mississippi was hammered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, also intended to investigate the plight of storm victims who have been denied insurance claims on the grounds that their homeowners' policies did not cover flood damage.

Homeland Security ranking member Peter King, R-N.Y., agreed that Homeland Security Department was a candidate for "extensive oversight" and said he and other Republicans on the panel looked "forward to working with [Thompson] and cooperating whenever we can."

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was seen leaving the committee's offices about an hour before the panel met.

For the new Congress, the Democrats revamped the panel's subcommittee structure. They eliminated two panels -- the Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack Subcommittee and the Investigation Subcommittee.

The Investigation panel was rolled into the new Management, Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee chaired by freshman Rep. Chris Carney, D-Pa. Its ranking member is Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala. As an officer in the Navy Reserve, Carney served as a senior intelligence analyst and adviser in the Pentagon for several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.