To determine why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has struggled with translating jointly defined requirements into joint acquisition programs, one author referenced both current DHS policy and the experiences of recent joint programs. In addition to presenting his findings, he makes recommendations for guidance for future efforts.
- Why has DHS struggled with the transition from jointly defined requirements into joint acquisition programs?
- How can the department improve its guidance to help future efforts?
From its inception, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has attempted to better integrate its operational components into a cohesive unity of effort. These attempts have included both the encouragement of jointly acquiring capabilities and the creation of a joint requirements process. The goal of both efforts is to reduce costs and ensure commonality during joint operations. However, DHS has not always realized these benefits, in part because it has struggled with translating its jointly defined requirements into joint acquisition programs. In this report, a researcher assesses why DHS has struggled with this transition and makes recommendations for guidance to help future efforts.
The author sought to answer this question by referencing both current DHS policy and the experiences of recent joint programs. He began by reviewing current DHS policies and processes to understand how they address transitioning joint requirements to joint acquisitions. He then reviewed four joint DHS acquisitions efforts, each with its own approach to managing the challenges of jointness. He reviewed requirements and acquisition documents from these programs, as well as government reviews of them. He also spoke with DHS officials familiar with these programs, from both the components and DHS headquarters.
- Three common challenges with the DHS guidance and approaches frustrate DHS's ability to translate joint requirements into joint acquisitions: lack of timely acquisition planning, need for additional guidance on jointness, and lack of sufficient executive leadership.
- The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management and the Joint Requirements Council could collaborate on joint acquisition guidance.
- The Joint Requirements Council could develop specific joint requirements guidance.
- The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management could improve pre–Acquisition Decision Event 1 acquisition guidance.