H.R. 4228, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act

H.R. 4228

DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

June 9, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Monday, June 9, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4228, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4228 was introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and was referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security.  The bill was marked up on April 30, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by a voice vote.[1]

[1] Committee Report 113-436.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4228 reforms the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) acquisition program to improve accountability and transparency.  The bill designates the Under Secretary for Management as the Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) for DHS, allowing him to exercise Acquisition Decision Authority (to approve, halt, modify, or cancel major acquisition programs) or delegate it in certain circumstances.  H.R. 4228 authorizes the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Information Officer to oversee policies and programs that relate to DHS acquisition programs within their realm of responsibility.  The bill authorizes the position of Chief Procurement Officer, which is already being carried out within DHS.

H.R. 4228 establishes an Acquisition Review Board to strengthen accountability and uniformity within DHS’s acquisition review process, review major acquisition programs, and review the use of best practices.  The board will be comprised of DHS officials and will convene each time a major acquisition program needs authorization to move forward.

H.R. 4228 requires internal and congressional notification for major acquisition programs that fail to meet a cost, schedule, or performance parameter specified in the acquisition program baseline.  DHS is required to develop a multiyear acquisition strategy to guide the direction of DHS’s acquisition programs.  GAO is required to review the strategy within 180 days of its submission to Congress.  Two years after the strategy is submitted to Congress, the DHS OIG must assess whether DHS has complied with the strategy.  H.R. 4228 requires DHS to develop a prioritized list of major acquisition programs, including their anticipated security and economic benefits and how they will be measured.


“It is difficult to determine the cost of [DHS’s] major acquisition programs because [DHS] has not provided consistent, comparable updates on an annual basis.  As of January 2014, [DHS] identified over 80 major acquisition programs costing over $300,000,000, and, based on 2011, estimates it plans to spend about $170,000,000,000 in the future on major acquisition programs.”[1]  DHS does not consistently implement its acquisition policies and government and private sector best practices.[2]  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) produces an annual “High Risk List” that identifies programs highly susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.  DHS’s acquisitions management has been included on the list since 2005.[3]  In FY2013, DHS spent almost $10 billion on acquisitions programs for missions including border security and screening airline passengers.[4]  H.R. 4228 targets major acquisition programs that cost at least $300 million and take years to develop.[5]

A September 2012 GAO report showed “that 42 DHS acquisition programs experienced cost growth, schedule delays, or both.  GAO’s report noted that 16 programs incurred an aggregate total cost growth of 166 percent.  However . . . many acquisition programs lacked Acquisition Program Baselines, key documents detailing a program’s cost, schedule, and performance goals.  As a result, GAO could not assess to what extent cost growth occurred in most major acquisition programs at DHS.”[6]  A DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report in 2013 revealed mismanagement of a $3 billion DHS-wide contract to modernize its radio systems.[7]  A 2014 GAO report found that a program worth $724 million also lacked a master schedule and was reassessing its schedule baseline for the second time in less than a year.[8]  “Despite the critical need to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks and other events, DHS acknowledges that its current major acquisition portfolio is unaffordable.  Due to increasing fiscal constraints and persistent security risks, DHS must ensure its acquisition processes are effective and efficient to minimize cost overruns, schedule delays, and performance issues.”[9]

[1] H.R. 4228, Sec. 3(2).
[2] Id. at Sec. 3(1).
[3] Id.
[4] Committee Report 113-436 at 17.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.


According to CBO cost estimates, implementing H.R. 4228 would cost $1 million in 2015 and less than $500,000 every year after.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.  H.R. 4228 does not authorize additional appropriations, and must be carried out using funds otherwise available for such purposes.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.