oversight

DHS Human Capital: Senior Leadership Vacancy Rates Generally Declined, but Components' Rates Varied [Reissued on February 22, 2012]

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-02-10.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Committees




February 2012
                DHS HUMAN
                CAPITAL

                Senior Leadership
                Vacancy Rates
                Generally Declined,
                but Components’
                Rates Varied




                Revised February 22, 2012, to remove the header “What GAO
                Recommends” that was inadvertently inserted on the highlights
                page.




GAO-12-264
                                               February 2012

                                               DHS HUMAN CAPITAL
                                               Senior Leadership Vacancy Rates Generally
                                               Declined, but Components' Rates Varied
Highlights of GAO-12-264, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                         What GAO Found
Since its creation, the Department of          The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) senior leadership vacancy rates,
Homeland Security (DHS) has faced              while reaching a peak of 25 percent in 2006, have generally declined since that
scrutiny from Congress and others              time—from 25 percent in fiscal year 2006 to 10 percent at the end of fiscal year 2011.
concerning DHS’s ability to hire and           From fiscal years 2006 through 2010—the most recent year for which
retain senior executives. GAO was              governmentwide vacancy and attrition data were available—DHS vacancy rates in
requested to review senior leadership          2006, 2007, and 2010 were statistically higher than the average of other agencies
vacancies at DHS, including efforts to         subject to the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act but were not statistically different in
address vacancies. This report                 2008 and 2009. DHS’s components’—such as the Transportation Security
addresses: (1) vacancy rates in DHS            Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—vacancy rates
senior leadership positions from fiscal        varied. Many had vacancy rates above 20 percent—one as high as 57 percent—in
years 2006 through 2011 and how                fiscal year 2006, but generally had lower rates at the end of fiscal year 2011.
these rates compared with other
                                               At the end of fiscal year 2010, DHS’s senior leadership attrition rate was 11.4
federal agencies; (2) attrition in DHS
                                               percent. For fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the most frequent separation types were
senior leadership positions, how
                                               retirements and resignations. DHS’s attrition rates were statistically higher than the
attrition compares with other federal
                                               average of other CFO agencies in 2006, 2007, and 2009 but not statistically different
agencies, and actions DHS has taken
                                               in 2008 and 2010. In January 2010, DHS deployed an exit survey to be sent to all
to identify causes of senior leadership
                                               separating employees. DHS analyzed survey responses from 17 self-identified senior
attrition; and (3) programs to help
                                               executives. The top three survey choices selected regarding reasons for leaving were
address senior-leadership hiring and
                                               1) supervisor/management, 2) personal or family-related reasons, and 3) salary/pay.
recruitment.
                                               DHS officials implemented two programs to enhance senior leadership hiring and
GAO calculated vacancy and attrition
                                               recruitment. In fiscal year 2010, DHS implemented a simplified pilot hiring process
rates using Office of Personnel
                                               aiming to attract additional qualified applicants. According to DHS officials, the pilot
Management (OPM) data. GAO also
                                               was successful, and they now plan to use the method for all Senior Executive Service
used National Finance Center (NFC)
                                               hiring. DHS also implemented a centralized candidate-development program aimed
payroll data obtained from DHS in
                                               at providing a consistent approach to leadership training.
vacancy rate calculations. There is no
generally agreed upon standard for             GAO provided a draft of this report to DHS. DHS reiterated the actions it is taking to
vacancy rates. However, to provide             enhance senior leadership recruitment and hiring.
perspective, using OPM data, GAO
calculated vacancy rates for other             DHS Senior Executive Service Vacancies Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011
agencies subject to the Chief Financial        Vacancy rate (percentage)                                                                            Allocations
Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 and                 25                                                                                                           800
compared them with DHS. GAO found
the OPM and NFC data sufficiently              20                                                                                                             750
reliable to calculate vacancy and
attrition rates. To determine actions          15                                                                                                             700
taken to identify attrition causes and
efforts to enhance recruitment and             10                                                                                                             650
retention, GAO reviewed agency
documents, interviewed DHS human                                                                                                                              600
                                                5
capital officials, and considered human
capital practices GAO has previously
                                                0                                                                                                             550
recommended.                                             2006              2007                  2008          2009             2010              2011
                                                    On-board data for October-December 2005 were not available. Fiscal year 2006 vacancy calculation is for
                                                    January-September 2006.
                                                    Fiscal year (biweekly pay periods)

View GAO-12-264. For more information,                        Allocations of SES positions to DHS.
contact David C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or
maurerd@gao.gov.                                              Vacancy rate by pay period.
                                                    Sources: GAO analysis of NFC and OPM data.

                                                                                                        United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                          1
               Background                                                                       6
               DHS SES Vacancy Rates Have Generally Declined, Have Been
                 Higher Than Other Federal Agencies at Times, and Have Varied
                 for Specific DHS Components                                                    8
               Resignations and Retirements Were the Most Common Reasons for
                 Separation; Attrition Rates Were Higher                                      18
               Than Other CFO Agencies in Some Years                                          18
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                             25

Appendix I     Department of Homeland Security’s Components Senior Executive
               Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011                                        27



Appendix II    Department of Homeland Security’s Components Senior Leadership
               Attrition from 2006 to 2010                                                    40



Appendix III   Comments from the Department of Homeland Security                              46



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                          47



Tables
               Table 1: Senior Leadership Position Allocations, as of Sept. 30, 2011            7
               Table 2: DHS and Other CFO Act Agencies’ SES Vacancy Rates, as
                        of September 30, 2010 (in percentages)                                13
               Table 3: DHS Component SES On-Board Numbers and Vacancy
                        Rates, as of the Beginning and End of Fiscal Year 2011                15
               Table 4: Number and Type of Separations for Senior Leadership
                        Positions DHS-Wide, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010                    19
               Table 5: DHS Attrition Relative to Other CFO Act Agencies as of
                        September 30, 2010 (in percentages)                                   19
               Table 6: Fiscal Year 2006 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership
                        Separations                                                           40
               Table 7: Fiscal Year 2007 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership
                        Separations                                                           41



               Page i                       GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
          Table 8: Fiscal Year 2008 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership
                   Separations                                                         42
          Table 9: Fiscal Year 2009 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership
                   Separations                                                         43
          Table 10: Fiscal Year 2010 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership
                   Separations                                                         44
          Table 11: DHS Components’ Attrition Rates by Fiscal Year                     45


Figures
          Figure 1: DHS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011              10
          Figure 2: DHS and Average of Other CFO Act Agency SES Vacancy
                   Rates for Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011                            12
          Figure 3: USCIS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through
                   2011                                                                29
          Figure 4: CPB SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011              31
          Figure 5: FEMA SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through
                   2011                                                                33
          Figure 6: ICE SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011              35
          Figure 7: TSA TSES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011             37
          Figure 8: USSS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011             39




          Page ii                    GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Abbreviations

CDP               Candidate Development Program
CFO               Chief Financial Officer
CBP               United States Customs & Border Protection
CPDF              Central Personnel Data File
DHS               Department of Homeland Security
ESCS              Executive and Schedule C System
ECQ               Executive Core Qualifications
FEMA              Federal Emergency Management Agency
NFC               National Finance Center
OCHCO             Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer
OMB               Office of Management and Budget
OPM               Office of Personnel Management
SES               Senior Executive Service
SL                Senior Level
ST                Scientific/Professional
TSA               Transportation Security Administration
TSES              Transportation Security Executive Service
USCG              United States Coast Guard
USCIS             United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
USSS              United States Secret Service



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Page iii                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   February 10, 2012

                                   The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Susan M. Collins
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
                                   United States Senate

                                   The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka
                                   Chairman
                                   Subcommittee on Government Management Oversight, the Federal
                                     Workforce, and the District of Columbia
                                   Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
                                   United State Senate

                                   Since its creation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has faced
                                   scrutiny from Congress and others concerning DHS’s ability to hire and
                                   retain senior executives. July 2007 and June 2008 reports from the
                                   majority staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the
                                   National Academy of Public Administration, respectively, each raised
                                   concerns about the number of vacant senior leadership positions at
                                   DHS. 1 DHS has acknowledged, in its human capital strategic plan, facing
                                   challenges in recruiting and hiring qualified individuals to fill vacancies at
                                   the senior executive level. As we reported in June 2007, high-performing
                                   organizations understand that they need senior leaders who are
                                   accountable for results, drive continuous improvement, and stimulate and
                                   support efforts to integrate human capital approaches with organizational
                                   goals and related transformation. 2 Moreover, as we reported in April




                                   1
                                    Committee on Homeland Security (Majority Staff) Report: Critical Leadership Vacancies
                                   Impede United States Department of Homeland Security (Washington, D.C.: July 2007)
                                   and National Association of Public Administration: Addressing the 2009 Presidential
                                   Transition at the Department of Homeland Security (Washington, D.C.: June 2008)
                                   2
                                    GAO, Human Capital: Bonuses to Senior Executives at the Department of Veterans
                                   Affairs, GAO-07-985T (Washington, D.C.: June 12, 2007).




                                   Page 1                           GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
2008, extensive loss of experienced workers can lead to critical gaps in
an agency’s leadership, skills, and institutional knowledge. 3

In 2003, we designated implementing and transforming DHS as high risk
because DHS had to transform 22 agencies—several with major
management challenges—into one department, and failure to effectively
address DHS’s management and mission risks could have serious
consequences for U.S. national and economic security. Human capital
was among the challenges for implementing and transforming DHS that
we identified. 4 In our most recent update of the high risk work, we noted
that in December 2010, DHS issued its Workforce Strategy for Fiscal
Years 2011–2016, which contains the department’s workforce goals,
objectives, and performance measures for human capital management.
We identified implementing this strategy and linking workforce- planning
efforts to strategic and program-specific planning efforts to identify current
and future human-capital needs as one of the key outcomes that are
critical to addressing DHS’s implementation and transformation
challenges. 5

DHS relies on four types of senior leadership positions to operate and
oversee nearly every activity in the department: (1) Presidential
appointments (with or without Senate confirmation); (2) Senior Executive
Service (SES) personnel who carry out managerial, supervisory, and
policy advisory responsibilities; 6 (3) Senior Level (SL) personnel who
provide expertise in complex areas that generally do not have a
managerial focus, and (4) Scientific/Professional (ST) personnel who are
specialized professionals who generally have fundamental research and
development responsibilities. The senior leadership vacancies and
attrition examined in this report do not include Presidential appointments
(with or without Senate confirmation).




3
 GAO, Older Workers: Federal Agencies Face Challenges but Have Opportunities to Hire
and Retain Experienced Employees, GAO-08-630T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 30, 2008).
4
GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-03-119 (Washington, D.C.: January 2003).
5
GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278 (Washington, D.C.: February 2011).
6
 Discussions of SES in this report include the Transportation Security Administration’s
SES equivalent, the Transportation Security Executive Service.




Page 2                            GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Given the importance of senior leadership and DHS’s mission to prevent
terrorism, secure our borders and cyberspace, and ensure resilience to
disasters, you requested that we review senior leadership vacancies at
DHS, including efforts to identify their causes and address them. 7 This
report addresses the following questions:

1. What were vacancy rates in DHS senior leadership positions from
   fiscal years 2006 through 2011, and how do these vacancy rates
   compare with other federal agencies?
2. What were the attrition rates in DHS senior leadership positions from
   fiscal years 2006 through 2010, how do these rates compare with
   other federal agencies, and what actions has DHS taken to identify
   causes of senior leadership attrition?
3. What programs has DHS implemented to enhance senior leadership
   hiring and recruitment?

DHS officials reported that a number of different factors or events have
influenced the department’s vacancy rates at various points in time and
for variable durations—including OPM’s authorization of additional senior
level allocations, department and component reorganizations, and
political transitions. When vacancy rates fluctuate, single data points may
not provide a representative picture of vacancy conditions. Therefore, we
calculated trends based on vacancy rates derived at multiple points in
time from fiscal years 2006 through 2011.

We analyzed DHS senior leadership vacancy and attrition information for
the entire DHS organization. We also separately analyzed information for
the following DHS components: United States Customs & Border
Protection (CBP), United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
(USCIS), United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE),
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA), United States Secret Service (USSS), and
the United States Coast Guard (USCG). We did not separately analyze
vacancy information for USCG because of the relatively low number of
USCG senior leadership positions.




7
 For the purposes of this report, senior leadership vacancies include any unfilled senior
leadership positions at DHS established pursuant to allocations by (or in the case of the
Transportation Security Administration, pursuant to an agreement with OPM. See, e.g., 5
C.F.R. § 330.101(b).




Page 3                            GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Our analysis of vacancy rates at DHS and its components focused on
SES—including Transportation Security Executive Service (TSES)—
positions because DHS components had few SL and ST positions during
the review period. 8 To determine SES vacancy rates from fiscal years
2006 through 2011, we analyzed departmental and component
information on senior level allocations and on-board data by pay period.
We used information on allocations contained in the letters sent from the
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to DHS’s Office of the Chief
Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) informing DHS of the number of
positions allocated. 9 DHS’s Human Capital Business Systems Office
provided on-board data by pay period, using the National Finance Center
(NFC) payroll and personnel database that has been adopted by multiple
government agencies. 10 We calculated vacancy rates for each pay period
by subtracting the number of staff on board from the current allocation to
obtain a vacancy count and dividing that vacancy count by the allocation.

To determine how DHS’s SES vacancy rates compare with other federal
agencies, we obtained the number of on-board and allocated SES
positions for agencies across the federal government subject to the Chief
Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 from OPM’s Central Personnel Data
File (CPDF) and Executive and Schedule C System (ESCS),




8
 Most DHS components were not allocated SL or ST positions during the 2006 through
2011 review period. Specifically, only CBP received ST allocations during this time frame.
Less than half the components received SL allocations—never exceeding a total of three
positions. As of the end of fiscal year 2011, DHS had a total of 65 SL and ST allocations,
60 of which were spread among DHS headquarters offices. The Office of the
Undersecretary for Science and Technology is the only office to have received more than
eight SL and ST allocations.
9
 DHS-provided data on OPM allocations were not computer processed. OPM informs
federal departments of their allocations via written letter. DHS provided us with copies of
the OPM letters it received during the time frame of our review.
10
  On-board data for October through December 2005 were not available because
recoding and reorganization that took place in 2005 may have led to data reliability
concerns. Our fiscal year 2006 vacancy calculation is for January through September
2006.




Page 4                             GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
respectively. 11 We calculated the respective end of fiscal year vacancy
rates for DHS and for other CFO Act agencies and applied a t-test—a
standard statistical test to determine whether the differences in this type
of data are significant—to determine whether there is a statistical
difference between DHS and other CFO Act agency vacancy rates.

Our analysis of senior leadership attrition at DHS includes positions in the
SES (including TSES), ST, and SL categories. To determine attrition
rates at DHS and other CFO agencies from fiscal years 2006 through
2010, we analyzed data from OPM's CDPF for information on separations
by type, such as through resignation, transfers, retirement, termination,
and expiration of a term appointment. We calculated the average number
of executives on board by averaging (1) the number of senior executive
staff in the CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal year prior to the
fiscal year for which the attrition rate was calculated and (2) the number
of senior executive staff in CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal
year in which the attrition occurred. We calculated attrition rates by
dividing the number of separations in a fiscal year by the average number
of executives on board.

To determine the actions DHS has taken to identify the causes of senior
level attrition and the efforts DHS has undertaken to enhance senior
leadership recruitment and retention, we reviewed relevant agency
documents, such as DHS’s Strategic Human Capital Plan and DHS’s
Workforce Strategy for fiscal years 2011–2016. We also interviewed
officials in DHS’s OCHCO and human capital officials in select DHS
components. We considered the initiatives DHS has undertaken and
which, if any, of our previous human capital recommendations might
apply to DHS’s senior leadership efforts.

To assess the reliability of the NFC database for providing on-board data
for senior leadership positions, we reviewed relevant documentation and
conducted interviews with knowledgeable DHS human capital agency
officials to understand how DHS collects, categorizes, and tabulates the


11
  See 31 U.S.C. § 901 (identifying 24 agencies subject to requirements of the CFO Act).
As of 2009, CFO Act agencies employed 98 percent of all federal employees. OPM’s
Central Personnel Data File is a repository of selected human capital data for most
executive branch employees, including separation data. OPM’s Executive Schedule C
System is a database that tracks OPM allocations of SES positions to federal agencies.
Schedule C positions are excepted from the competitive service because of the
confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties.




Page 5                           GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                data and the actions it takes to ensure its consistency, accuracy, and
                completeness. We determined the NFC on-board data provided by DHS
                to be sufficiently reliable for presenting the number of executives on
                board and calculating vacancy rates by pay period for fiscal years 2006
                through 2011. To determine the reliability of data obtained from OPM’s
                CPDF, we reviewed the data system’s technical documentation, as well
                as our prior work in which we reported that governmentwide data from the
                CPDF were 97 percent or more accurate. 12 We determined that the CPDF
                data we use in this report are sufficiently reliable for presenting the
                number of executives on board as well as the number of separations at
                DHS, its components, and other CFO Act agencies, and for calculating
                vacancy and attrition rates. To determine the reliability of data obtained
                from OPM’s ESCS, we reviewed the data system’s technical
                documentation and conducted interviews with knowledgeable OPM
                officials to understand the actions OPM takes to ensure the data’s
                consistency, accuracy, and completeness. We determined that the ESCS
                data we use in this report are sufficiently reliable for the purposes of
                calculating vacancy rates.

                We conducted this performance audit from October 2010 through January
                2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
                standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
                obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
                our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
                the evidence provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
                conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background


DHS Workforce   With more than 200,000 employees doing diverse jobs—for example,
                aviation and border security, emergency response, cybersecurity
                analysis, and chemical facility inspection—DHS is the third largest
                cabinet-level agency in the federal government. The DHS workforce is


                12
                  See GAO-10-139 and GAO, OPM’s Central Personnel Data File: Data Appear
                Sufficiently Reliable to Meet Most Customer Needs, GAO/GGD-98-199 (Washington,
                D.C.: September 1998).




                Page 6                         GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                          situated throughout the nation carrying out activities to support DHS’s
                          multipronged mission to: (1) prevent terrorism and enhance security; (2)
                          secure and manage the nation’s borders; (3) enforce and administer
                          immigration laws; (5) safeguard and secure cyberspace; and (6) ensure
                          resilience from disasters.

                          As of September 30, 2011, DHS had 624 SES and 164 TSES allocations,
                          36 ST allocations, and 29 SL allocations for a total of 853 senior
                          leadership positions. Table 1 shows how DHS allocated these senior
                          leadership positions among the components and headquarters offices, as
                          of September 30, 2011.

                          Table 1: Senior Leadership Position Allocations, as of Sept. 30, 2011

                              Components                                                        Total Positions Allocated
                              CBP                                                                                        118
                              FEMA                                                                                         81
                              ICE                                                                                          82
                              TSA                                                                                        164
                              USCIS                                                                                        58
                              USCG                                                                                         20
                              USSS                                                                                         53
                                                                    a
                              DHS Headquarters and Other Offices                                                         278
                              Total                                                                                      854
                          Source: DHS OCHCO.
                          a
                           DHS headquarters includes the following: Office of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Immediate
                          Offices; Office of the General Counsel; Office of the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis;
                          Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy; Office of the Operations Coordination and Planning
                          Directorate; Office of Health Affairs/Chief Medical Officer; Office of the Under Secretary for
                          Management; Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology; Office of the Under
                          Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate; Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; and
                          the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.


How Vacancies in Senior   Vacancies are created primarily in two circumstances. First, vacancies
Leadership Positions      are created when employees separate from the organization, leaving a
Come to Exist             position unfilled. Second, vacancies are created when positions are
                          created but not yet filled—such as when agencies receive additional
                          allocations of senior leadership positions for which an employee has yet
                          to be hired.

                          Separations: Separations are actions that end employment with an
                          agency. Separations include expiration of limited term appointments,
                          retirements, resignations, terminations, transfers, removals, separations



                          Page 7                                GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                       due to reduction in force, separations to enter the uniformed services, and
                       deaths. 13

                       Allocations: OPM, in consultation with the Office of Management and
                       Budget (OMB), allocates senior leadership positions every 2 years. 14 In
                       consultation with OMB, OPM reviews requests from each department and
                       agency and authorizes a specific number of SES positions for the 2 fiscal
                       years covered by the requests. Within the allocation authorized by OMB,
                       DHS may establish SES positions in accordance with OPM guidance as
                       well as applicable law and regulation without further OPM approval. DHS
                       allocates these positions among its components and its headquarters
                       offices. In addition, OPM allows out-of-cycle requests for additional
                       allocations if a pressing, unforeseen need arises. When DHS receives
                       new allocations from OPM those positions appear as vacancies until they
                       are filled.

DHS SES Vacancy
Rates Have Generally
Declined, Have Been
Higher Than Other
Federal Agencies at
Times, and Have
Varied for Specific
DHS Components



                       13
                         Agencies may use up to 3 percent of their SES allocations for limited term
                       appointments. See 5 C.F.R. §317.601(c). A limited term appointee may not serve in that
                       capacity in excess of 36 months. See 5 C.F.R. §§ 317.602(c), 604(b)(2).
                       14
                         For the purposes of this report, when we use the term allocation in connection with
                       OPM, we are referring to an authorization by OPM for an agency to fill an established
                       number of SES, SL, or ST positions. See 5 U.S.C. §§ 3104, 3133, and 5108. Senior
                       leadership positions for TSA are not directly allocated by OPM, but are arranged under
                       agreement between DHS and OPM. See, e.g., 49 U.S.C. §§ 114(n) (applying, in general,
                       the personnel management system established by the Federal Aviation Administration—a
                       system that, with certain exceptions, falls outside the authority of OPM and is to provide
                       for greater flexibility in hiring, training, compensation, and location of personnel—to TSA).




                       Page 8                             GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
DHS SES Vacancy Rates        DHS SES vacancy rates have been as high as 25 percent in 2006 and
Declined through Fiscal      since that time have varied but have generally declined. As of the end of
Year 2009, Rose in 2010 as   fiscal year 2011, DHS’s SES (including TSES) vacancy rate was 10
                             percent. 15 Increases in vacancy rates tended to be pronounced at times
a Result of Organizational
                             immediately following the receipt of new allocations. For example,
Factors, and Declined        following OPM’s allocation of 90 new SES positions in October 2009, the
Again in 2011                vacancy rate rose from 11.3 percent to 20.8 percent as additional
                             positions to be filled were granted. Following that rise in the vacancy rate
                             it remained elevated through the remainder of fiscal 2010—between 17.1
                             percent and 20.2 percent. DHS officials attributed the elevation during
                             2010 to a series of organizational factors including, departmental position
                             reevaluations, delays in assigning allocations among the components,
                             and changes in recruitment and hiring processes. For example, according
                             to DHS OCHCO officials, the 90 new SES positions DHS received in
                             fiscal year 2010 were less than half those originally requested by a prior
                             administration and need to be reevaluated to determine whether they
                             were directed toward programs most critical to the new administration.




                             15
                               Because of the low number of SL and ST positions allocated among the components,
                             our vacancy rate calculations are for SES positions only.




                             Page 9                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Figure 1: DHS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 10                    GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
DHS Vacancy Rates Were,   Although there is no generally agreed-upon standard for acceptable
at Times, Statistically   vacancy rates, to provide perspective, we compared DHS’s rates to other
Higher Than Other CFO     CFO Act agencies. From fiscal years 2006 through 2010—the most
                          recent year for which federalwide vacancy-rate data were available—DHS
Act Agencies              vacancy rates were at times statistically higher than other CFO Act
                          agencies. Figure 2 shows the CFO vacancy rate at the end of each fiscal
                          year in our review period, relative to the DHS vacancy rate at the same
                          point in time and the highest and lowest DHS vacancy rates during each
                          fiscal year. For example, in fiscal year 2010, the DHS vacancy rate at the
                          end of the year was 17 percent and ranged from a low of 8.4 percent to a
                          high of 20.7 percent during the course of the year. This compares to an
                          average vacancy rate across other CFO agencies of 9.0 percent at the
                          end of fiscal year 2010.




                          Page 11                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Figure 2: DHS and Average of Other CFO Act Agency SES Vacancy Rates for Fiscal
Years 2006 through 2011




Note: Department of Justice’s practices when reporting on-board data to OPM or inclusion in the
CPDF did not allow for us to accurately calculate its vacancy rate. From fiscal years 2006 through
2010, Department of Justice vacancy rates calculated using CPDF data resulted in negative vacancy
rates (ranging from -34.1 percent to -54.1 percent). Department of Justice officials explained that the
United States Attorney General was provided separate authority to establish a personnel system for
senior personnel within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
See 5 U.S.C. § 3151. On-board data for these Justice components were included in the data reported
to OPM, resulting in an on-board number that was not proportionate to the OPM allocation data we
used in our calculation. Therefore, we excluded the department from the CFO Act agency
comparisons.


We performed tests of statistical significance, which demonstrated
whether there was a statistical difference in vacancy rates between DHS
and the average for other CFO Act agencies and determined that the
DHS vacancy rate was statistically higher than the CFO average rate in
fiscal years 2006, 2007, and 2010. DHS’s rate was not statistically



Page 12                                GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                         different than the average of other CFO Act agencies in fiscal years 2008
                                         and 2009. Table 2 shows DHS’s vacancy rates relative to other CFO Act
                                         agencies, including the direction of statistical difference, for each of these
                                         fiscal years. Of note is that the number of newly allocated SES positions
                                         at DHS, particularly in 2007 and 2010, relative to most other CFO Act
                                         agencies is substantially higher. We could not compare DHS’s vacancy
                                         rate at the end of fiscal year 2011 with other CFO Act agencies because
                                         comparable data from these agencies were not yet available.

Table 2: DHS and Other CFO Act Agencies’ SES Vacancy Rates, as of September 30, 2010 (in percentages)

                               Total                 Total                    Total                Total               Total
                    Rate     Allocated   Rate      Allocated     Rate       Allocated   Rate     Allocated   Rate    Allocated

    Fiscal Year            2006                 2007                    2008                   2009                 2010
Department of
Agriculture           10.4         402       9.0         402         15.4        408     13.0          399    8.8           399
Department of
                                                                                             a
Commerce               6.9         378       4.5         378          1.3        378     0.0          370     0.3          373
Department of
Defense               10.9        1378       8.8        1378          8.8      1401       9.2         1397    5.6          1423
Department of
Education              2.2          90       5.6          90          0.0         90      4.8           83    8.1            86
Department of
Energy                 3.2        471        1.5         471         0.0a        471      0.4         470     5.4           480
Department of
Health and Human
Services              25.0         529      22.1         529         19.1        529     19.6          514   12.1           514
Department of
Homeland Security     19.9        573       14.9         646         10.8        710      8.7         698    17.0           788
Department of
Housing and Urban
                                                                                                                a
Development           13.8        116       10.3         116          7.8        116      6.6         106     0.0           111
Department of the
Interior               6.1         280       8.9         280          6.8        280      1.9          270    2.2           273
Department of
Labor                 28.5         193      21.8         193         18.1        199     14.7          191   22.9           201
Department of
State                 17.7         192      18.8         192         15.9        195     22.5          191   12.4           194
Department of
Transportation        17.5        251       12.4         251         12.7        251     11.8          238   11.9           244
Department of the
Treasury               9.7         454       8.1         454          9.1        484      1.5          473    7.2           502
Department of
Veterans Affairs      25.6         320      24.4         320         27.9        337     24.5          335   30.8           406




                                         Page 13                        GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                 Total                      Total                            Total                Total                  Total
                      Rate     Allocated       Rate       Allocated             Rate       Allocated   Rate     Allocated     Rate     Allocated

    Fiscal Year              2006                     2007                             2008                   2009                    2010
Environmental
Protection Agency       7.9          305          7.2             305                9.4        309     12.3          300       7.9            303
General Services
Administration         21.9          114         14.9             114              16.2         117     17.1          111      11.7            111
National
Aeronautics and
Space
Administration         11.0          480          8.1             480                5.4        480      6.9          475       7.4            475
National Science
Foundation             19.6          107         16.8             107              19.6         107     13.6          103      17.5            103
Nuclear Regulatory
Commission              6.2          162         12.6             167              11.6         172      4.1          169       5.3            170
Office of Personnel
Management             17.7           62         17.7              62              15.6           64     5.2           58      13.4             67
Small Business
Administration         22.0           59         16.9              59              11.9           59    0.0a           54       1.9             54
Social Security
Administration          3.7          161         10.6             161              13.8         174      9.1          164       8.3            169
US Agency for
International
Development            55.0           40         45.0              40              42.5           40     6.3           32       3.1             32
CFO average/total
(excluding DHS
            b
and Justice)           12.9         6544         11.3           6549               10.7       6661       9.3         6503       9.0           6690
DHS Significance
Direction                Higher                       Higher                    Not Significant        Not Significant               Higher
                                           Source: GAO Analysis of CPDF data.
                                           a
                                            OPM may authorize an agency, in certain circumstances and upon request, a temporary SES
                                           position that would increase the number of SES at an agency beyond its allocation. In these
                                           circumstances, an agency’s vacancy rate would be calculated as a negative number, but they are set
                                           to 0 for this table, to acknowledge that such overages are not permanent.

                                           b
                                            Department of Justice’s practices when reporting on-board data to OPM or inclusion in the CPDF did
                                           not allow for us to accurately calculate its vacancy rate. From fiscal years 2006 through 2010,
                                           Department of Justice vacancy rates calculated using CPDF data resulted in negative vacancy rates
                                           (ranging from -34.1 percent to -54.1 percent). Department of Justice officials explained that the United
                                           States Attorney General was provided separate authority to establish a personnel system for senior
                                           personnel within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. See 5
                                           U.S.C. § 3151. On-board data for these Justice components were included in the data reported to
                                           OPM, resulting in an on-board number that was not proportionate to the OPM allocation data we used
                                           in our calculation. Therefore, we excluded the department from the CFO Act agency comparisons.




                                           Page 14                                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
DHS Components’ Vacancy                 Vacancy rates for DHS components varied widely during fiscal years
Rates Varied Widely from                2006 through 2011. Component officials reported a number of different
Fiscal Years 2006 through               factors that may have contributed to component SES vacancy rates
                                        during that time period, including increases in allocations, events like
2011, but Have Largely                  Presidential transitions, and organizational factors such as
Declined Since 2006                     reorganizations. Overall, component vacancy rates declined between
                                        2006 and 2011. USCIS, CBP, ICE, and FEMA all had lower vacancy
                                        rates in September 2011 than they had in the first pay period of 2006.
                                        Only TSA’s rate was higher in 2011 than 2006. USSS’s 2006 and 2011
                                        rates were similar, and USSS’s rate never exceeded 20 percent.

                                        Table 3 shows component vacancy rates and on-board counts at the
                                        beginning and end of fiscal year 2011. For more information about
                                        component vacancy rates, see appendix I. With the exception of TSA, all
                                        components experienced declining vacancy rates in 2011 and except
                                        FEMA all had rates lower than 20 percent at the end of fiscal year 2011.

Table 3: DHS Component SES On-Board Numbers and Vacancy Rates, as of the Beginning and End of Fiscal Year 2011

                                                                                                    2011 vacancy rates
                               2011 total on board                                                     (percentage)
Component          Fiscal year 2011 Start    Fiscal year 2011 End                           Fiscal year 2011 Start Fiscal year 2011 End
CBP                                   98                             106                                      15.5                    8.6
FEMA                                  66                               64                                     17.5                   20.0
ICE                                   55                               71                                     32.9                   13.4
TSA                                  138                             132                                      15.9                   19.5
USCIS                                 44                               51                                     24.1                   12.1
USCG                                  16                               19                                     20.0                    5.0
USSS                                  50                               51                                      2.0                    0.0
                                        Source: GAO Analysis of NFC and OPM Data.


                                        Several components—CBP, FEMA, ICE, and USCIS—had vacancy rates
                                        near or higher than 20 percent in fiscal year 2006; however, most
                                        components experienced a decline in vacancy rates between fiscal year
                                        2006 and the early part of fiscal 2007. Officials from USCIS, for example,
                                        reported that in calendar years 2006 and 2007, USCIS filled 27 positions
                                        while experiencing only 4 new vacancies. As a result, USCIS experienced
                                        a significant drop in its vacancy rates—from 56.7 percent in pay period 1
                                        (January) of 2006 to 3.3 percent in pay period 8 (April) of 2007. In May
                                        2007, corresponding with new allocations, most components’ rates rose
                                        again. For example, USCIS’s SES allocations increased from 32 to 46 in
                                        May 2007. Correspondingly, from pay period 8 to pay period 9 in 2007



                                        Page 15                                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
(April/May), USCIS’s vacancy rate rose from 3.3 percent to 37 percent.
Similarly, CBP’s vacancy rate rose from 2.4 to 21.2; ICE’s rose from 12.8
to 32.8, and FEMA’s rose from 9.8 to 27.4 due, at least in part, to
increased allocations for SES positions.

Following the additional allocations in fiscal year 2007, CBP, ICE, and
USCIS vacancy rates followed a similar pattern, generally declining as the
newly created positions were filled then remaining relatively steady until
receiving another sizable increase in allocations in July 2010. For
example, USCIS received 8 new allocations in July 2010, increasing its
authorized SES level from 50 to 58. As a result, USCIS’s vacancy rate
rose from 0 to 17.2 percent during this time.

USSS, FEMA, and TSA rates did not necessarily follow this pattern of
increasing rates corresponding with new allocations followed by declining
rates for various reasons. First, FEMA vacancy rates experienced an
increase in early to mid fiscal year 2009 that did not correspond to new
allocations. According to FEMA officials, the 2009 spike in vacancies was
because of resignations associated with a changing administration. The
officials noted that this increase in vacancies continued through 2009.

USSS had the lowest vacancy rates of all components considered, as
well as the lowest number of total SES allocations (other than USCG,
which we did not separately evaluate). Throughout the entire period, the
USSS SES vacancy rates tended to be in the single digits, and
separations were generally because of retirements, with only one
resignation. Because USSS has relatively small numbers of SES—as of
September 30, 2011, it had 51—small changes in filled positions can
result in disproportionately large changes in vacancy rates. USSS’s
highest vacancy rates occurred from May through July 2010, when the
rate increased from 10.4 percent to 19.6 percent. By July the end of 2010,
USSS had filled these vacancies, and the rate had declined to 2 percent.

Finally, TSA’s TSES vacancy rates were generally more stable than some
of the other components, in part, because it had fewer allocations during
our study period. TSES positions are not included in the OPM SES
allocation that DHS allots to the other components and therefore did not
occur on the same schedule. TSA received one allocation of 14 additional
TSES positions during our review period, in early to mid fiscal year 2008.
This increase in allocations coincided with an increase in vacancy rates
from 7.3 to 15.9 percent. However, unlike other components, TSA’s
vacancy rate did not subsequently decline. TSA’s highest vacancy rates
occurred the following year, coinciding with the change in administration,


Page 16                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
when the rate was as high as 23.2 percent. Overall, it remained near 20
percent from about April 2008 until the end of fiscal year 2011. Among the
components, TSA’s 164 TSES allocations are the highest number of
senior leadership positions allocated.

According to TSA’s Director of Executive Resources, TSES vacancies do
not necessarily reflect unfilled positions that TSA has funded and has an
active need to fill. Because TSA does not have an SES allocation from
OPM, TSA and DHS agreed on a TSES allocation, which functions as a
ceiling rather than a specific number of positions that must be filled. She
explained that TSA has continued to mature as an organization and has
gone through a number of organization transformations. In the course of
transformations, some TSES positions have been abolished and later
reallocated. For example, according to the director, during its current
transformation, TSA reduced 12 Office of Security Operations regions to
6 regions and reorganized 3 TSES per regional office to 1, thereby
eliminating twelve SES positions. Those positions are then reflected as
available in the TSES overall ceiling, but are not necessarily immediately
reallocated for staffing. Additionally, she noted that in this tenth
anniversary year, TSA has experienced a wave of retirements. In some
cases, TSES officials transfer from their existing TSES positions to fill
positions vacated by retirees. The director stated that TSA considers its
highest organizational needs when it makes these TSES selections,
whether through competition or transfers of current personnel.

In October 2009, we reported on executive turnover at TSA. We found
that TSA executive attrition declined from fiscal years 2005 through 2008,
but better information was needed on reasons for leaving and the
executive hiring process. We recommended that TSA enable TSES staff
to identify their position when completing exit surveys and better
document how it applies merit staffing requirements when hiring TSES
staff. TSA concurred and, in March 2010, TSA updated the National Exit
Survey instrument to include TSES among its preset list of position titles
to allow for the collection of data specific to TSES staff taking the survey.
In addition, in March 2010 TSA officials established a process to audit the




Page 17                      GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                            TSES staffing files on a quarterly basis to ensure the completeness and
                            accuracy of merit documentation. 16

Resignations and
Retirements Were the
Most Common
Reasons for
Separation; Attrition
Rates Were Higher
Than Other CFO
Agencies in Some
Years

Retirements and             At the end of fiscal year 2010—the most recent period for which CPDF
Resignations Were the       attrition data were available—DHS’s attrition rate for all types of senior
Leading Types of Senior     leadership (including SES, TSES, ST, and SL) separations was 11.4
                            percent. 17 As table 4 shows, from fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the
Leadership Attrition in
                            most frequent types of senior leadership separations were resignations—
Fiscal Years 2006 through   which were higher in the 2009 presidential transition year—and
2010                        retirements, followed by transfers, and then by smaller numbers of
                            terminations and other separations. Appendix II contains information
                            about senior leadership attrition in the DHS components in fiscal years
                            2006 through 2010.




                            16
                              See GAO, Transportation Security Administration: TSA Executive Attrition Has Declined,
                            but Better Information Is Needed on Reasons for Leaving and Executive Hiring Process,
                            GAO-10-139 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 2009).
                            17
                              Data for fiscal year 2011 were not yet available in OPM’s CPDF at the time of this
                            review.




                            Page 18                           GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Table 4: Number and Type of Separations for Senior Leadership Positions DHS-Wide, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010

                                                                                                    Fiscal Year
                                                                                                                                a
Type of separation                                           2006               2007                 2008                2009               2010                Total
Resignations                                                   45                     23                  28                  77              18                 191
Retirements                                                    42                     42                  37                  30              38                 189
Transfers                                                      17                     15                  14                  12              16                    74
Terminations                                                   2                      3                   1                    6                  4                 16
        b
Other                                                          0                      1                   0                    5                  3                 19
Total separations                                             104                     84                  80                 130              79                 479
                                                  Source: Data, CPDF; GAO Analysis.
                                                  a
                                                  2009 was a presidential transition year.
                                                  b
                                                  Other includes infrequent types of attrition, such as the death of an employee.


DHS Attrition Was, at                             On the basis of CPDF data from September 30, 2010, DHS’s attrition rate
Times, Statistically Higher                       was 11.4 percent, compared with an average rate of 10.1 percent for
Than Other CFO Act                                other CFO Act agencies. As shown in table 5, according to our tests of
                                                  statistical significance, this 2010 attrition rate was generally comparable
Agencies                                          to other CFO Act agencies and also generally comparable in 2008.
                                                  However, the rate was statistically higher than other CFO Act agencies
                                                  during fiscal years 2006, 2007, and 2009.

Table 5: DHS Attrition Relative to Other CFO Act Agencies as of September 30, 2010 (in percentages)

                                       Average                Average                       Average                          Average                    Average
                          Rate         on board       Rate    on board        Rate          on board           Rate          on board      Rate         on boarda
Fiscal year                       2006                       2007                          2008                         2009                          2010
Department of
Agriculture                      9.0       413        12.5           424          16.8            411.5               17.4      401.5             7.5          415
Department of
Commerce                    12.8         407.5        12.8           415          13.2              423               13.6      433.5             9.7          432
Department of Defense       13.7        1367.5        12.7      1395.5            11.3             1428               14.6          1435          9.6        1473.5
Department of Education     15.8           88.5       16.0           87.5         14.6               89               27.4          87.5     18.1               83
Department of Energy        12.5         473.5        15.0          481.5         11.9            497.5               13.3           505     11.5              496
Department of Health
and Human Resources              9.2       401        13.1          419.5         12.0              433               19.2           432          8.8         442.5
Department of
Homeland Security           22.1         474.5        15.8           533          12.7              629               18.7      680.5        11.4             690.5
Department of Housing                                                                                                                                         106.5
and Urban Development       12.2           98.5       10.7           103          14.1            106.5               28.8           104     10.3
Department of the
Interior                    12.8           337        13.9           331          10.8              332               16.7      340.5        10.4             345.5




                                                  Page 19                                         GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                        Average                Average                       Average                   Average                   Average
                           Rate         on board       Rate    on board        Rate          on board    Rate          on board     Rate         on boarda
Fiscal year                        2006                        2007                      2008                     2009                       2010
Department of Justice             9.3       720        10.9            760            10.3        8085          14.6      836.5         11.9          854
Department of Labor               8.1       160          8.2           159            12.8         172          21.3      178.5         16.0         175.5
Department of State          13.9           165        17.0            159             8.0       161.5          35.0        157         10.0          160
Department of
Transportation               10.0         210.5        10.0           219.5           18.2         225          23.7      219.5         11.0         218.5
Department of the
Treasury                     17.5         435.5        14.6           430.5           14.5       447.5          14.3        474         13.7          490
Department of Veterans
Affairs                      13.8           246        12.7           243.5            9.6       250.5          14.0        257         12.3         275.5
Environmental
Protection Agency                 5.7     314.5          7.3           316             8.2         319          13.6      309.5            7.2        307
General Services
Administration               21.3            94        20.3            93.5           13.1          99          23.7         97            8.2          97
National Aeronautics
and Space
Administration               13.7           526        12.2           531.5            8.5         555           7.8      574.5            6.6       576.5
National Science
Foundation                        8.1       86.5         9.1           87.5            9.1        87.5           4.6        87.5        12.6            87
Nuclear Regulatory
Commission                        8.7       149        12.1            149            14.8         149           4.5        157            6.2       161.5
Office of Personnel
Management                   40.0           57.5       20.8             53             9.2        54.5          12.4        56.5           8.5          59
Small Business
Administration               18.6           48.5       10.5            47.5           21.8        50.5          26.2        53.5           9.3          54
Social Security
Administration                    4.0     149.5        14.7           149.5           10.9         147          13.4      149.5         10.5          152
United States Agency for
International
Development                  20.0            20        14.3             21            12.8        23.5          10.7         28            6.2        32.5
CFO average/total
(excluding DHS)              12.2        6969.0        12.6       7077.0              11.8      7270.5          15.4     7374.5         10.1        7494,0
DHS Significance                  Higher                      Higher             Not Significant                 Higher               Not Significant
Direction
                                                   Data Source: CPDF; GAO Analysis.
                                                   a
                                                    We calculated average on-board figures by averaging (1) the number of senior executive staff in the
                                                   CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year for which the attrition rate was
                                                   calculated and (2) the number of senior executive staff in CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal
                                                   year in which the attrition occurred.




                                                   Page 20                                      GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
DHS Has Recently           DHS collects data on attrition and has taken preliminary steps to analyze
Implemented a New Exit     the causes of senior leadership attrition. Our prior work on human capital
Survey That Can Help       and workforce planning, as well as the Standards for Internal Control in
                           the Federal Government, indicate that identifying the causes of senior
Identify the Reasons DHS   leadership attrition could support more effective human capital
Senior Leaders Separate    management. As part of a strategic workforce planning approach, we
                           have reported that, in addition to attrition data, collecting information on
                           why employees leave is useful. Specifically, we noted that collection and
                           analysis of data on the reasons for attrition could help agencies minimize
                           the lost investment in training, particularly when new employees resign. 18
                           Similarly, according to Standards for Internal Control in the Federal
                           Government, as part of human capital planning, management should
                           consider, among other things, how best to retain valuable employees to
                           ensure the continuity of needed skills and abilities. 19

                           Consistent with the Standards for Internal Control and the practices we
                           have advocated, DHS maintains and tracks attrition data for workforce
                           monitoring and planning on agencywide and component-specific bases.
                           The attrition data that DHS maintains include breakdowns by positions—
                           such as SES, SL, and ST. In addition, in January 2010, DHS deployed its
                           first departmentwide exit survey—the DHS National Exit Survey. When
                           any employee voluntarily leaves DHS, they are to receive a link to the
                           survey as part of exiting procedures. Results come directly to OCHCO
                           and are analyzed on a quarterly basis.

                           DHS has designed the survey to aid in its attrition data gathering and
                           analysis. Separating employees, including senior leadership, are able to
                           answer a series of questions about the reasons they decided to leave the
                           department. Although DHS’s survey responses are confidential,
                           respondents are given an opportunity to, among other things, (1) identify
                           their pay system (i.e., the position they held, such as SES, SL, or ST), (2)
                           the component they are leaving, and (3) the office or area in which they
                           work. According to the OCHCO officials, all components are using the
                           DHS Exit Survey with the exception of TSA and USSS. They stated that
                           both TSA and USSS already had a working exit survey in place, and so



                           18
                             GAO, Homeland Security: DHS's Actions to Recruit and Retain Staff and Comply with
                           the Vacancies Reform Act, GAO-07-758 (Washington, D.C., Jul. 16, 2007).
                           19
                             GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1
                           (Washington, D.C., November 1999).




                           Page 21                         GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                           were given an exemption from using the DHS exit survey. Both
                           components have incorporated the DHS core questions into their pre-
                           existing exit surveys.

                           According to senior human capital officials, it is their policy to refrain from
                           analyzing survey results with fewer than 10 respondents in any
                           category—such as the positions ST, SL, and SES—to protect the
                           anonymity of survey respondents. Because DHS has not had the
                           minimum number of senior leadership leaving in a given quarter, DHS
                           has not been able to analyze the causes of senior leadership attrition on a
                           quarterly basis. However, DHS has analyzed, in the aggregate, the senior
                           leadership responses it has collected since it implemented the survey.
                           That analysis demonstrated that 17 departing officials have self-identified
                           as senior executives. The top three survey responses these senior
                           executives selected as reasons for leaving were 1)
                           supervisor/management, 2) personal or family-related reasons; and 3)
                           salary/pay.

                           In addition, some components—CBP, USCIS, and FEMA—reported that
                           they separately use ad-hoc approaches to analyze attrition—including
                           senior leadership attrition—for their workforces. For example, at FEMA,
                           the top agency leadership officials conduct exit interviews with departing
                           senior executives to discuss various matters, including reasons for
                           separation. OCHCO officials said that their longer-term goal is to
                           implement standardized out processing to improve their ability to collect
                           and analyze information about senior leadership attrition, among other
                           things, from these surveys.


DHS Has Implemented        We have previously reported key principles that strategic workforce
Programs to Help Address   planning should address, including developing strategies that address
Senior Leadership Hiring   gaps and human capital conditions. 20 DHS OCHCO officials identified two
                           programs designed to enhance senior leadership hiring and recruitment:
and Recruitment
                           (1) a resume-only hiring process—which simplifies the process for
                           applicants by streamlining application requirements and (2) a centralized
                           SES candidate development program.




                           20
                            GAO, Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning,
                           GAO-04-39 (Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2003).




                           Page 22                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Resume-Only Hiring Process. We reported in October 2009 that in a
highly competitive job market, having an effective hiring process can help
an agency compete for talented people who have the requisite knowledge
and up-to-date skills to accomplish missions and achieve goals. 21 In line
with seeking to implement effective hiring processes, in 2010, DHS
implemented a resume-only hiring process on a pilot basis to fill the 90
newly allocated SES positions across DHS received as part of the OPM’s
biennial review. The pilot resume-only process was used for internal and
external applicants. The intent of the resume-only hiring process is to
attract and generate a greater number of qualified applicants for
executive-level positions than the traditional hiring method, which
required narrative responses to five Executive Core Qualifications
(ECQs). 22

We reported in May 2008 that applicants can be dissuaded from public
service by complex and lengthy application procedures. 23 Under the
resume-only method, the vacancy announcement directs applicants to
submit only a resume, rather than answering essay questions and other
application requirements. Applicants demonstrate ECQs and any
technical qualifications within the context of the resume. Components
also developed, in coordination with the Diversity, Recruitment, and
Veterans Outreach team in OCHCO, outreach plans to develop marketing
and advertising strategies that would appeal to affinity and diversity
groups for the new senior leadership positions. DHS human capital
officials reported that overall, the process has resulted in highly qualified
pools of candidates from which they have made selections. According to



21
  GAO, Federal Aviation Administration: Human Capital System Incorporates Many
Leading Practices, but Improving Employees' Satisfaction with Their Workplace Remains
a Challenge, GAO-10-89 (Washington, D.C., Oct. 28, 2009).
22
  The ECQs were developed in 1997 after extensive research on the
attributes of successful executives in both the private and public sectors.
They were revalidated and reissued with a few modifications in 2006. In
their current form, they represent the best thinking of organizational
psychologists, human resources professionals both at OPM and other
agencies, and Senior Executives themselves. The ECQs are: (1) leading
change, (2) leading people, (3) results driven, (4) business acumen, and
(5) building coalitions.
23
  GAO, Human Capital: Transforming Federal Recruiting and Hiring Efforts, GAO-08-762T
(Washington, D.C., May 8, 2008).




Page 23                         GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
the DHS Director, Executive Resources, the streamlined resume-only
hiring process resulted in applicant pools doubling (in most instances) in
comparison to applicant pools generated from the traditional method. As
of December 2011, 84 of the 90 newly created senior leadership positions
have been filled through the resume-only process. 24 The DHS Director,
Executive Resources reported that DHS now plans to use the resume
only process as its primary method of filling SES positions.

SES Candidate Development Program. We reported in June 2007 that
among the tools human capital managers have at their disposal to help
meet 21st century human capital needs are training and development
programs. 25 To build its senior leadership pipeline within the department,
DHS offers future senior leadership from across the department, as well
as external candidates, the opportunity to compete and be selected for
DHS’s SES Candidate Development Program (CDP), which DHS kicked
off in May 2011. According to DHS officials, the CDP is designed to
provide a unified, consistent approach to leadership training throughout
the department.

DHS has established performance metrics for the CDP program. These
metrics include (1) OPM Qualification Review Board candidate-
certification rates; (2) percent of SES CDP graduates who are placed in
SES positions; (3) percent of DHS SES vacancies filled by CDP
graduates; (4) diverse participants in the program; and (5) diverse
selections for DHS SES positions. 26 DHS does not yet have data on these
metrics, because the first CDP cycle is not complete. According to DHS
OCHCO officials, the latest date these participants would seek OPM
certification would be August 1, 2013; however, they predict that most
candidates will seek OPM certification around February or March 2013.




24
  According to DHS OCHCO, of the 6 remaining positions, 2 are in the recruitment phase
and 4 are on hold pending decisions about organizational placement.
25
 GAO-07-758.
26
  All senior executives must have their executive qualifications certified by an OPM
Qualifications Review Board before being appointed as career members of the SES. See
5 C.F.R. § 317.502(a). The Qualifications Review Board review and certification is the last
critical step in the SES selection process. Among other things, Qualification Review
Boards will determine whether a candidate has demonstrated executive qualifications
sufficient for entry into the SES.




Page 24                           GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                     The CDP process also provides DHS a framework with which to assess
                     its future senior leadership workforce needs. To determine how many
                     candidates should be selected for the CDP each year, the CDP policy
                     requires DHS components to perform a needs assessment for senior
                     leadership needs. The senior leadership workforce analysis consists of
                     evaluating attrition rates over a 3-year period to determine (1) average
                     annual attrition, (2) which executive vacancies have historically been filled
                     internally and which externally, and (3) how many employees in the
                     agency would be prepared to fill positions vacated by executives without
                     further development. Each of the DHS components and offices completed
                     the assessment for the first DHS SES CDP. Because this is the first year
                     of the SES CDP, it is too soon to evaluate the effectiveness of the
                     program or its workforce analysis process in helping to ensure adequate
                     senior leadership at DHS.

                     In addition to the CDP, the OPM administered Federal Employee
                     Viewpoint Survey may provide DHS human capital managers with some
                     information about senior leadership workforce needs. One purpose of the
                     survey is to provide managers information about employee insight on
                     leadership, performance culture, personal work experiences, and job
                     satisfaction. According to DHS OCHCO, in the context of senior leaders,
                     it considers survey questions about how likely employees are to leave or
                     retire in the coming years as predictive but not wholly reliable indicators of
                     upcoming workforce needs. We have an ongoing review of DHS morale,
                     for the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight,
                     Investigations and Management, that includes examining how DHS uses
                     the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to assess morale across the
                     agency. We expect to report on our results later in 2012.


                     We provided a draft of this report for review to DHS. We received written
Agency Comments      comments on the draft report, which are reproduced in full in appendix IIII.
and Our Evaluation   DHS reiterated the actions it is taking to enhance senior leadership
                     recruitment and hiring. DHS also provided technical comments, which we
                     incorporated as appropriate.

                     We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland
                     Security and interested congressional committees. The report is also
                     available at no charge on GAO’s website at http://www.gao.gov.




                     Page 25                      GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
If you or your staff have any questions about this report please contact
me at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions to
this report are listed in appendix IV.




David Maurer
Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues




Page 26                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Appendix I: Department of Homeland
              Appendix I: Department of Homeland
              Security’s Components Senior Executive
              Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011


Security’s Components Senior Executive
Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011
              This appendix illustrates vacancy rates from fiscal years 2006 through
              2011 1 in six of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)
              components—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S.
              Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Emergency
              Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Immigration and Customs
              Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and
              the United States Secret Service (USSS). We did not separately analyze
              vacancy rates for the United States Coast Guard because the numbers of
              Senior Executive Service (SES) allocations were too low to meaningfully
              depict vacancy trends.

              The following series of figures depict vacancy rates on the top half of
              each figure and corresponding numbers of positions allocated and
              onboard counts on the bottom half. Vacancy rates change when
              employees fill or separate from an allocated positions and when
              components receive additional allocations.




              1
               On-board data for October-December 2005 were not available. Our fiscal year 2006
              vacancy calculation is for January-September 2006.




              Page 27                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
        Appendix I: Department of Homeland
        Security’s Components Senior Executive
        Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




USCIS   As figure 3 shows, USCIS’s SES vacancy rate was 56.7 percent in
        January 2006 and remained above 40 percent during the remainder of
        fiscal year 2006. In fiscal year 2007, USCIS received 16 additional
        allocations, increasing its vacancy rate above 30 percent for 9
        consecutive pay periods (from April–September). The rate declined in the
        latter part of fiscal year 2008 to single-digit vacancy rates. USCIS
        received another allocation of 8 positions in fiscal year 2008, and the
        vacancy rate increased to 17.2 percent. The rate increased further with
        separations, reaching 24.1 percent (14 vacant positions) at the start of
        fiscal year 2011 and later peaking at 29.3 percent. By the end of fiscal
        year 2011, the rate declined to 12.1 percent (7 vacant positions).




        Page 28                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 3: USCIS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 29                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
      Appendix I: Department of Homeland
      Security’s Components Senior Executive
      Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




CBP   CBP had a single continuous period—from the time it received an
      allocation of 17 new positions in April 2007 through October 2007—with a
      vacancy rate of 20 percent or more. Otherwise, CBP predominantly
      experienced vacancy rates in the teens or single digits during the review
      period. CBP started fiscal year 2011 at 15.5 percent (18 vacant positions)
      and closed the year at 8.6 percent (10 vacant positions).




      Page 30                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 4: CPB SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 31                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
       Security’s Components Senior Executive
       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




FEMA   As figure 5 shows between 2006 and 2011, FEMA’s SES vacancy rate
       varied. The vacancy rate was 35.3 percent in January 2006 and remained
       above 20 percent for the remainder of fiscal year 2006. The rate rose with
       allocations and then and declined in both fiscal year 2007 and fiscal year
       2008. From early to mid fiscal year 2008 on FEMA’s rate was near 20
       percent. Near the middle of fiscal year 2009, separations increased the
       vacancy rate from 6.9 percent (5 vacant positions) to 29.2 percent (21
       vacant positions) and remained near 30 percent for 16 pay periods. The
       rate decreased to 13.9 percent (10 vacant positions) by late fiscal year
       2010, when it increased with a new allocation. At the start of fiscal year
       2011, FEMA’s SES vacancy rate was 17.5 percent (14 vacant positions),
       and by the end of the year was 20.0 percent (16 vacant positions).




       Page 32                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 5: FEMA SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 33                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
      Appendix I: Department of Homeland
      Security’s Components Senior Executive
      Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




ICE   As figure 6 shows, ICE’s SES vacancy rate was 38.3 percent in January
      2006 and declined until ICE received a new allocation in the middle of
      fiscal year 2007, at which time the rate rose above 30 percent. The rate
      had decreased to 7.5 percent at the beginning of fiscal year 2010, when it
      increased to 25.4 percent as a result of separations. It rose again to 37.8
      percent with a new allocation in late fiscal year 2010. At the start of fiscal
      year 2011 the vacancy rate was 32.9 percent (27 vacant positions). By
      the end of fiscal year 2011, the ICE SES vacancy rate had declined to
      13.4 percent (11 vacant positions).




      Page 34                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                        Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                        Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                        Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 6: ICE SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                        Page 35                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
      Appendix I: Department of Homeland
      Security’s Components Senior Executive
      Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




TSA   As figure 7 shows, from fiscal years 2006 through 2011, TSA’s highest
      vacancy period was from January 2009 through April 2010, when it had a
      vacancy rate of 20 percent or more. In fiscal year 2008 TSA received an
      increased allocation of 14 positions, at which time its vacancy rate rose
      from 7.3 percent (11 vacant positions) to 15.9 percent (26 vacant
      positions); while, subsequent separations further raised the rate to a peak
      of 23.2 percent (38 vacant positions) in the first half of fiscal year 2010.
      For the remainder of fiscal year 2010 and in fiscal year 2011, TSA’s
      vacancy rate was in the teens. TSA started fiscal year 2011 at 15.9
      percent (21 vacant positions) and closed the year at 19.5 percent (32
      vacant positions). According to TSA human capital officials, TSA’s total
      allocation functions as a ceiling rather than a specific hiring target.




      Page 36                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 7: TSA TSES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 37                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
       Security’s Components Senior Executive
       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




USSS   Throughout the entire period, the USSS SES vacancy rates tended to be
       in the single digits. The highest vacancy rates occurred from May through
       July 2010, when the rate increased from 10.4 percent to 19.6 percent with
       the addition of three allocations and separations of two on-board staff.
       USSS started fiscal 2011 at 2.0 percent (1 vacancy) and ended the year
       at 0 percent (0 vacancies).




       Page 38                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix I: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Executive
                                       Service Vacancy Rates from 2006 to 2011




Figure 8: USSS SES Vacancy Rates, Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011




                                       Page 39                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                       Attrition from 2006 to 2010


Security’s Components Senior Leadership
Attrition from 2006 to 2010
                                       Tables 6–10 show the number and types of attrition for senior leadership
                                       positions in DHS components for each of the fiscal years from 2006
                                       through 2010—the most recent year for which CPDF data were
                                       available—separated by career and noncareer positions. 1 Table 6 shows
                                       the average number of on-board senior leadership positions and attrition
                                       rates in DHS components for each of the fiscal years from 2006–2010.

Table 6: Fiscal Year 2006 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership Separations
                                                                                                                               a
Agency                                       Retired             Resigned         Transferred     Terminated            Other           Total
CBP                     Career                        7                      1              0                  0              0             8
                        Noncareer                     0                      2              0                  0              0             2
FEMA                    Career                        5                      1              2                  0              0             8
                                                         b
                        Noncareer                    1                       4              0                  0              0             5
ICE                     Career                        2                      2              0                  0              0             4
                        Noncareer                     0                      0              0                  0              0             0
TSA                     Career                        4                     18              3                  2              0            27
                        Noncareer                     0                      0              0                  0              0             0
USCIS                   Career                        3                      0              0                  0              0             3
                        Noncareer                     0                      0              0                  0              0             0
USCG                    Career                        1                      0              0                  0              0             1
                        Noncareer                     0                      0              0                  0              0             0
USSS                    Career                        7                      0              0                  0              0             7
                        Noncareer                     0                      0              0                  0              0             0
DHS headquarters        Career                       10                      5              5                  0              0            20
                        Noncareer                     2                     12              7                  0              0            21
Total                                             42                     45                17                2               0
                                             (39.6%)                (42.5%)           (16.0%)           (1.9%)          (0.0%)            106
                                       Source: Data: GAO analysis of CPDF Data
                                       a
                                        Other includes expiration of a limited term appointment and infrequent types of attrition, such as the
                                       death of an employee. A limited term appointee is an individual appointed under a nonrenewable
                                       appointment for a term of 3 years or less to an SES position the duties of which will expire at the end
                                       of such term. 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5). A limited emergency appointee is an individual appointed under




                                       1
                                        According to OPM, a career appointee is an SES whose appointment to the position was
                                       based on a competitive SES merit staffing process and whose executive qualifications for
                                       the SES were certified by a Qualifications Review Board or an individual who converted to
                                       the SES with a career appointment. A non-career appointee was appointed
                                       noncompetitively to an SES position, and non-career SES positions are limited or
                                       emergency term appointments.




                                       Page 40                                   GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                       Attrition from 2006 to 2010




                                       a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to an SES position established to meet a
                                       bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. § 3132(a)(6).
                                       b
                                        Career federal employees can be assigned to noncareer SES positions but retain their retirement
                                       eligibility.


Table 7: Fiscal Year 2007 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership Separations
                                                                                                                        a
Agency                                         Retired        Resigned          Transferred    Terminated         Other          Total
CBP                Career                             14                    0             0               0             0            14
                   Noncareer                            0                   1             0               0             0             1
FEMA               Career                               1                   0             1               0             0             2
                   Noncareer                            0                   2             2               0             0             4
ICE                Career                               8                   0             1               0             0             9
                   Noncareer                            0                   1             0               0             0             1
TSA                Career                               6                   6             2               3             1            18
                   Noncareer                            0                   0             0               0             0             0
USCIS              Career                               2                   0             0               0             0             2
                   Noncareer                            0                   1             0               0             0             1
USCG               Career                               0                   1             1               0             0             2
                   Noncareer                            0                   0             0               0             0             0
USSS               Career                               5                   0             0               0             0             5
                   Noncareer                            0                   0             0               0             0             0
DHS headquarters   Career                               6                   7             3               0             0            16
                   Noncareer                            0                   4             5               0             0             9
Total                                               42                23                 15              3             1
                                               (50.0%)           (27.4%)            (17.9%)         (3.6%)        (1.2%)             84
                                       Source: GAO analysis of CPDF Data.
                                       a
                                        Other includes expiration of a limited term appointment and infrequent types of attrition, such as the
                                       death of an employee. A limited appointee is an individual appointed under a nonrenewable
                                       appointment for a term of three years or less to an SES position the duties of which will expire at the
                                       end of such term. 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5). A limited emergency appointee is an individual appointed
                                       under a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to an SES position established to meet
                                       a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. § 3132(a)(6).




                                       Page 41                                    GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                       Attrition from 2006 to 2010




Table 8: Fiscal Year 2008 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership Separations
                                                                                                                               a
Agency                                               Retired        Resigned       Transferred     Terminated           Other          Total
CBP                    Career                                 5             1                1                 0              0            7
                       Noncareer                              0             1                0                 0              0            1
FEMA                   Career                                 3             2                1                 0              0            6
                       Noncareer                              1             2                1                 0              0            3
ICE                    Career                                 6             2                0                 0              0            8
                       Noncareer                              0             0                0                 0              0            0
TSA                    Career                                 5             4                6                 1              0           16
                       Noncareer                              0             0                0                 0              0            0
USCIS                  Career                                 1             0                0                 0              0            1
                       Noncareer                              0             0                0                 0              0            0
USCG                   Career                                 0             0                0                 0              0            0
                       Noncareer                              0             0                0                 0              0            0
USSS                   Career                               11              0                0                 0              0           11
                       Noncareer                              0             0                0                 0              0            0
DHS headquarters       Career                                 4             7                4                 0              0           15
                       Noncareer                              1             9                1                 0              0           11
Total                                                     37                28              14                1              0
                                                     (46.3%)           (35.0%)         (17.5%)           (1.3%)         (0.0%)            79
                                       Source: GAO analysis of CPDF Data.
                                       a
                                        Other includes expiration of a limited term appointment and infrequent types of attrition, such as the
                                       death of an employee. A limited term appointee is an individual appointed under a nonrenewable
                                       appointment for a term of three years or less to an SES position the duties of which will expire at the
                                       end of such term. 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5). A limited emergency appointee is an individual appointed
                                       under a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to an SES position established to meet
                                       a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. § 3132(a)(6).




                                       Page 42                                   GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                       Attrition from 2006 to 2010




Table 9: Fiscal Year 2009 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership Separations
                                                                                                                            a
Agency                                     Retired            Resigned          Transferred      Terminated          Other           Total
CBP                Career                          5                        2             0                   0             0             7
                   Noncareer                       0                        4             0                   0             0             4
FEMA               Career                          5                        1             2                   0             1             9
                   Noncareer                       0                    15                0                   1             0            16
ICE                Career                          4                        2             2                   0             1             9
                   Noncareer                       0                        3             0                   0             0             3
TSA                Career                          5                    12                2                   3             1            23
                   Noncareer                       0                        0             0                   0             0             0
USCIS              Career                          0                        0             0                   0             1             1
                   Noncareer                       0                        5             0                   0             0             5
USCG               Career                          1                        0             0                   0             0             1
                   Noncareer                       0                        0             0                   0             0             0
USSS               Career                          3                        0             0                   0             0             3
                   Noncareer                       0                        0             0                   0             0             0
DHS headquarters   Career                          4                        2             3                   0             1            10
                   Noncareer                       3                    31                3                   2             0            39
Total                                           30                    77                 12                  6             5
                                           (23.1%)               (59.2%)             (9.2%)             (4.6%)        (3.8%)           130
                                       Source: GAO analysis of CPDF Data.
                                       a
                                        Other includes expiration of a limited term appointment and infrequent types of attrition, such as the
                                       death of an employee. A limited term appointee is an individual appointed under a nonrenewable
                                       appointment for a term of three years or less to an SES position the duties of which will expire at the
                                       end of such term. 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5). A limited emergency appointee is an individual appointed
                                       under a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to an SES position established to meet
                                       a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. § 3132(a)(6).




                                       Page 43                                   GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                       Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                       Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                       Attrition from 2006 to 2010




Table 10: Fiscal Year 2010 DHS-Component Senior-Leadership Separations
                                                                                                                            a
Agency                                       Retired          Resigned          Transferred      Terminated          Other             Total
CBP                Career                             9                     1             3                 0               1             14
                   Noncareer                          0                     0             0                 0               0              0
FEMA               Career                             1                     1             3                 0               0              5
                   Noncareer                          0                     1             0                 0               0              1
ICE                Career                             5                     1             2                 0               1              9
                                                         b
                   Noncareer                         1                      0             0                 0               0              1
TSA                Career                             3                     2             1                 2               1              9
                   Noncareer                          0                     0             0                 0               0              0
USCIS              Career                             4                     0             1                 0               0              5
                   Noncareer                          0                     0             0                 0               0              0
USCG               Career                             0                     0             0                 0               0              0
                   Noncareer                          0                     0             0                 0               0              0
USSS               Career                             9                     1             0                 0               0             10
                   Noncareer                          0                     0             0                 0               0              0
DHS headquarters   Career                             4                     8             6                 1               0             19
                   Noncareer                          2                     3             0                 1               0              6
Total                                             38                  18                 16                4               3
                                             (48.1%)             (22.8%)            (20.3%)           (5.1%)          (3.8%)              79
                                       Source: GAO Analysis of CPDF Data.
                                       a
                                        Other includes expiration of a limited term appointment and infrequent types of attrition, such as the
                                       death of an employee. A limited term appointee is an individual appointed under a nonrenewable
                                       appointment for a term of three years or less to an SES position the duties of which will expire at the
                                       end of such term. 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5). A limited emergency appointee is an individual appointed
                                       under a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to an SES position established to meet
                                       a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. § 3132(a)(6).
                                       b
                                        Career federal employees can be assigned to noncareer SES positions but retain their retirement
                                       eligibility.




                                       Table 11 shows the component vacancy rates by fiscal year from 2006–
                                       2010.




                                       Page 44                                    GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
                                        Appendix II: Department of Homeland
                                        Security’s Components Senior Leadership
                                        Attrition from 2006 to 2010




Table 11: DHS Components’ Attrition Rates by Fiscal Year

Fiscal Year               2006                    2007                           2008                     2009                        2010
                       Average               Average                          Average               Average                     Average
                                                                                                                                       a
Component             on board Rate         on board       Rate              on board   Rate       on board Rate               on board Rate
USCIS                      16.0 18.8              24.0     12.5                  40.5    2.5             48.0     12.5                45.5 11.0
CBP                        66.5 15.0              74.0     20.3                  89.0    9.0            103.0     10.7               101.0 13.9
FEMA                       35.0 34.3              43.0     14.0                  55.0   18.2             58.0     37.9                60.0 10.0
ICE                        33.0 12.1              42.0     23.8                  51.0   15.7             56.5     21.2                57.0 17.5
TSA                       144.0 18.8            139.0      12.9                 144.0   11.1            137.5     16.7               136.0      6.6
USCG                        7.5 13.3               9.0     22.2                  11.5    0.0             13.0      7.7                14.5      0.0
USSS                       40.5 17.3              44.5     11.2                  47.5   23.2             49.5      6.1                51.0 19.6
DHS
average                   474.5 22.1              533      15.8                  629    12.7            680.5     18.7               690.5 11.4
                                        Source: GAO analysis of CPDF Data.
                                        a
                                         We calculated average on-board figures by averaging (1) the number of senior executive staff in the
                                        CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year for which the attrition rate was
                                        calculated and (2) the number of senior executive staff in CPDF as of the last pay period of the fiscal
                                        year in which the attrition occurred.




                                        Page 45                                     GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Appendix III: Comments from the
             Appendix III: Comments from the Department
             of Homeland Security



Department of Homeland Security




             Page 46                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  David C. Maurer, (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, Sandra Burrell, Assistant
Staff             Director; Rebecca Gambler, Assistant Director; George Erhart; Kathryn
Acknowledgments   Godfrey; Jared Hermalin; and Celia Mendive made significant
                  contributions to the work. Ben Atwater, Justin Dunleavy, and Jean Orland
                  also contributed. Muriel Brown and Robert Robinson assisted with
                  graphic design. Steven Putansu and Greg Wilmoth assisted with design,
                  methodology, and analysis. Thomas Lombardi provided legal support.
                  Lara Miklozek and Linda Miller provided communications expertise.




(440919)
                  Page 47                          GAO-12-264 DHS Senior Leadership Vacancy and Attrition
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