The DHS is laden with so many internal issues, ranging from a void of leadership to a “stifling bureaucracy, dysfunctional work environment and abysmal morale” that its mission to protect the country is being compromised.
Statistics from a federal database show that in four years, the agency has lost employees at twice the rate of the overall government and the trend is growing.
Intelligence reports have been delayed by months as a result of six different directors of the terrorism intelligence department during President Barack Obama’s administration, the Post reports, while “key cybersecurity initiatives” – such as a program to block malware from infiltrating civilian government computers – have been slowed by “a parade of high-level departures.”
The Post also stated that there was a risk that that there is no ability to ward off potential terrorist strikes and cyberattacks.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, an international public policy issues think-tank, says DHS’ challenges include “coordinating across 22 preexisting agencies, reporting to a multitude of congressional committees, and interacting with the U.S. public in a manner that constantly tests the balance between security and privacy.”
There are some three times the number of committees and subcommittees that oversee DHS compared to the Defense Department, according to the Post, which means endless hearings and briefings trump actual work time. The former acting director of the Transportation Security Administration, an agency created by DHS to handle airport security, tells the Post that the “hemorrhaging” of personnel has negatively impacted the agency.
“You cannot sustain a high level of security operations when you have that kind of turnover,’’ said Kenneth Kasprisin, who left the agency in May. He credited “a toxic culture” and “terrible” morale for the mass exodus to the private sector.
A 2012 bipartisan Senate study that found that “understaffing and turnover in the DHS intelligence office were contributing to dangerous delays.”
By the time hundreds of intelligence analysts’ counterterrorism reports were released they often contained outdated information.