oversight

DHS Strategic Workforce Planning: Oversight of Departmentwide Efforts Should Be Strengthened

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-12-03.

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

                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Requesters




                DHS STRATEGIC
December 2012



                WORKFORCE
                PLANNING

                Oversight of
                Departmentwide
                Efforts Should Be
                Strengthened




GAO-13-65
                                               December 2012

                                               DHS STRATEGIC WORKFORCE PLANNING
                                               Oversight of Departmentwide Efforts Should Be
                                               Strengthened
Highlights of GAO-13-65, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                         What GAO Found
With more than 240,000 employees               The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken some relatively recent
doing diverse jobs, DHS’s workforce            steps to enhance strategic workforce planning across the department. These
supports the department’s multiple             steps are generally consistent with leading principles, but the department has not
missions to prevent terrorism and              yet implemented an effective oversight approach for monitoring and evaluating
enhance security, secure and manage            components’ progress. Specifically, recent steps DHS has taken to develop and
the nation’s borders, and ensure               implement strategic workforce planning efforts are consistent with the leading
resilience from disasters, amongst             principles GAO has reported that include involving management and
others. Strategic workforce planning           stakeholders, identifying skills and competencies, developing strategies to fill
focuses on developing long-term
                                               gaps, and building capability through training. For example, the department
strategies for acquiring, developing,
                                               demonstrated stakeholder involvement by including component-level
and retaining an organization’s total
workforce, including federal staff and
                                               stakeholders in the development of the DHS Workforce Strategy. Though DHS
contractors, to meet the needs of the          has taken steps to implement strategic workforce planning, recent internal audits,
future. GAO has previously identified          as well as GAO’s previous work, identified challenges related to workforce
workforce-related challenges faced by          planning at the component level that could impair the continued implementation
DHS components. In light of these              of recently initiated strategic workforce planning efforts. For example, GAO
ongoing challenges, GAO was asked              reported in July 2009 that the Federal Protective Service’s (FPS) workforce
to review DHS’s strategic workforce            planning was limited because FPS headquarters did not collect data on its
planning efforts. This report assesses         workforce’s knowledge, skills, and abilities and subsequently could not determine
whether DHS has incorporated                   optimal staffing levels or determine how to modify its workforce planning
strategic workforce planning leading           strategies accordingly, amongst others. GAO recommended that FPS take steps
principles into the department’s               to address these issues. FPS officials agreed with our recommendations, and in
management of strategic workforce              June 2010 drafted a staffing plan consistent with our recommendation, but as of
planning efforts. GAO reviewed DHS             November 2012, FPS has not gained approval of its staffing plan.
strategies and guidance related to
strategic workforce planning,                  Although DHS began taking positive steps for managing strategic workforce
compared them with leading principles          planning in 2011, DHS officials have not yet taken steps to implement an
identified in previous GAO work, and           effective oversight approach for monitoring and evaluating components’ progress
discussed ongoing strategic workforce          in implementing strategic workforce planning. According to this principle,
planning efforts with officials from the       agencies should measure the effectiveness of the workforce plan and help
seven components selected because              ensure that the strategies work as intended by monitoring and evaluating the
they constitute the majority of DHS            contributions workforce plans make to strategic results. To do this, agencies
personnel.                                     should determine how well the agency implemented its workforce plan and the
                                               contribution that its implementation made toward achieving programmatic goals.
What GAO Recommends                            However, the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) has developed
                                               limited performance measures to provide a basis for monitoring and evaluating
GAO recommends that, among other
                                               departmentwide strategic workforce planning efforts. GAO’s analysis identified
actions, the Secretary of Homeland
                                               performance measures that reported on only 2 of the 15 elements in DHS’s
Security (1) identify and document
additional performance measures to
                                               strategic workforce planning model. OCHCO relies on an informal process to
assess workforce planning efforts and          evaluate component workforce planning, though processes exist that it could
(2) document policies and procedures           leverage to provide oversight. For example, OCHCO performs internal audits and
regarding the use of internal audit            requires components to develop annual operations plans to implement the
results. DHS concurred with our                department’s workforce strategy. However, the results of the audits are not used
recommendations.                               to evaluate components’ workforce planning. Without (1) performance measures
                                               that more comprehensively address DHS’s strategic workforce planning process,
                                               and (2) policies and procedures for ensuring monitoring and evaluation of
View GAO-13-65. For more information,          departmentwide workforce planning, DHS’s OCHCO does not have reasonable
contact David C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or   assurance that such efforts will be institutionalized. Further, the department will
maurerd@gao.gov.                               not be able to produce departmentwide evidence of component alignment with
                                               DHS strategic workforce planning guidance.
                                                                                       United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                  1
              Background                                                                5
              DHS’s Recent Efforts to Manage Strategic Workforce Planning
                Reflect Leading Principles, but Increased Oversight of
                Component Planning Would Enhance Efforts                               9
              Conclusion                                                              25
              Recommendations for Executive Action                                    25
              Agency Comments                                                         26

Appendix I    Comments from the Department of Homeland Security                       28



Appendix II   GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                   30



Table
              Table 1: The Five Steps and 15 Elements of DHS’s Workforce
                       Planning Model, and Related Performance Measures.              18


Figure
              Figure 1: Strategic Workforce Planning Process Incorporating
                       Leading Principles                                               7




              Page i                                      GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
Abbreviations:
BWPMO           Balanced Workforce Program Management Office
CBP             Customs and Border Protection
CHCO            chief human capital officer
DHS             Department of Homeland Security
DOD             Department of Defense
FEMA            Federal Emergency Management Agency
FPS             Federal Protective Service
HCPP            Human Capital Policy and Programs
HROA            Human Resources Operations Audit
ICE             Immigration and Customs Enforcement
MCO             mission-critical occupation
OCHCO           Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer
OPM             Office of Personnel Management
TSA             Transportation Security Administration
TSI             transportation security inspector
USCG            U.S. Coast Guard
USCIS           U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
USSS            U.S. Secret Service


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Page ii                                                GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   December 3, 2012

                                   The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
                                   Chairman
                                   Committee on Homeland Security
                                     and Governmental Affairs
                                   United States Senate

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

                                   With more than 240,000 employees doing diverse jobs—for example,
                                   aviation and border security, emergency response, cybersecurity
                                   analysis, and chemical facility inspection—the Department of Homeland
                                   Security (DHS) is the third largest cabinet-level department in the federal
                                   government. DHS’s workforce supports the department’s multiple
                                   missions to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage
                                   the nation’s borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard
                                   and secure cyberspace, and ensure resilience from disasters. DHS’s
                                   Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) works to support the
                                   department’s employees and managers to achieve DHS’s missions.
                                   Human capital leaders across the government face workforce challenges
                                   such as increased turnover—for example, throughout the government,
                                   retirements have increased approximately 25 percent from a year ago—
                                   which may remain high for a while because of the combined impact of an
                                   aging workforce and a 2-year pay freeze with possible extensions, as well
                                   as ongoing operational and fiscal challenges. For example, a recent
                                   governmentwide survey of chief human capital officers (CHCO) found that
                                   over half of the 53 CHCOs originally surveyed 5 years ago have since left
                                   government. 1 Further, more than half of the 25-member CHCO Council




                                   1
                                    Partnership for Public Service, Bracing for Change: Chief Human Capital Officers Rethink
                                   Business as Usual, (Washington, D.C.: August 2012).




                                   Page 1                                                GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
have served in that position for less than 2 years, including DHS’s own
CHCO, who has occupied that position since August 2011. 2

Under the authority of DHS’s OCHCO, departmental workforce planning
is managed by the Balanced Workforce Program Management Office
(BWPMO). DHS’s components operate within the human capital
framework established and overseen by OCHCO. 3 There are also
component-level OCHCOs, or their equivalent, that work with the DHS
OCHCO to manage human capital efforts at each of the components.

Within OCHCO, BWPMO provides management and oversight of the
department’s workforce planning efforts and develops policies to guide
departmentwide implementation of strategic workforce planning efforts.
Strategic workforce planning focuses on developing long-term strategies
for acquiring, developing, and retaining an organization’s total workforce,
including full- and part-time federal staff and contractors, to meet the
needs of the future. Strategic workforce planning also requires defining
the critical skills and competencies that an agency will require in the
future and developing strategies tailored to address gaps in the number,
skills and competencies, and deployment of the workforce. 4 We
previously reported that the five leading principles of strategic workforce
planning include involving top management and stakeholders; conducting
workforce gap analysis; developing strategies to fill those gaps; building




2
 The CHCO Council advises and coordinates human resources activities governmentwide
and is composed of the director of the Office of Personnel Management, the Deputy
Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget, the CHCOs of the 15
executive departments, and the CHCOs of eight additional agencies designated by the
OPM Director. CHCOs serve as their agencies’ chief policy advisors on all human
resources management issues.
3
 The human capital framework includes the development of strategic goals and an
implementation plan that are achievable, realistic, and focused on strategic priorities. It
also ensures integration with related DHS business cycles, particularly the DHS Planning,
Programming, Budget, and Execution cycles.
4
 Critical skills are those skills critical to achieving strategic goals including those skills that
the agency will need to acquire, develop, and retain to meet its goals. A competency is an
observable, measurable set of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors, and other
characteristics an individual needs to successfully perform work roles or occupational
functions.




Page 2                                                      GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
capability to support strategies; and monitoring, evaluating, and revising
those strategies. 5

Moreover, we previously reported on workforce planning–related
challenges at DHS and its components. These challenges include
collecting and analyzing workforce data, determining optimal staffing, and
identifying gaps in workforce needs, amongst others. For example, we
reported in September 2012 that most of DHS’s major acquisition
programs experienced workforce shortfalls—specifically a lack of
government personnel—increasing the likelihood their programs will
perform poorly in the future. 6 We also previously reported that a lack of
adequate staff in DHS program offices—both in terms of skill and staffing
levels—increased the risk of insufficient program planning and contractor
oversight, which is often associated with cost growth and schedule slips. 7
At the component level, we reported in April 2012 that the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had not developed processes
to systemically collect and analyze agencywide workforce data, and made
recommendations that the agency take steps to do so. 8 FEMA officials
agreed with our recommendations and in May 2012 said that senior
FEMA officials convened a group to discuss ways of addressing some of
the recommendations.

In light of DHS’s ongoing human capital challenges, you asked us to
review DHS’s strategic workforce planning efforts. This report assesses
whether DHS has incorporated the five strategic workforce planning
leading principles into the department’s management of its workforce
planning efforts.



5
 GAO, Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning,
GAO-04-39 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 11, 2003). These principles are discussed in more
detail later in this report.
6
 GAO, Homeland Security: DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to
Help Meet Mission Needs, GAO-12-833 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 18, 2012). DHS
generally defines major programs as those expected to cost at least $300 million over
their respective life cycles, and many are expected to cost more than $1 billion.
7
 GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Assessments of Selected Complex
Acquisitions, GAO-10-588SP (Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2010).
8
 GAO, Federal Emergency Management Agency: Workforce Planning and Training Could
Be Enhanced by Incorporating Strategic Management Principles, GAO-12-487
(Washington, D.C.: Apr. 26, 2012).




Page 3                                               GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
To address this objective, we assessed DHS’s workforce planning
strategies and guidance against strategic workforce planning and related
leading principles previously identified in our work. We also reviewed
DHS strategies and guidance including the following: the Balanced
Workforce Strategy, the department’s effort to identify the appropriate
balance of federal and contractor employees; the Integrated Strategy for
High Risk Management, which addresses our designation of the
department’s implementation and transformation as a high-risk area and
includes multiple human capital initiatives, among others; the DHS
Strategic Plan 2012-2016; and the DHS Workforce Strategy 2011-2016 to
determine whether the department’s workforce planning strategy and
guidance aligned with the department’s missions and goals. We also
reviewed Human Capital Resources Audits—internal audits performed by
OCHCO to assess component compliance with DHS’s Human Capital
Accountability Plan—and the Office of Personnel Management’s Human
Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework. 9 To determine the
reliability of the audits, we reviewed the guide used by internal auditors
that included descriptions of the steps taken and information collected
during these audits. We also reviewed component-specific workforce
planning documents and discussed ongoing strategic workforce planning
efforts with officials from the seven operational components that
encompass the vast majority of DHS personnel. 10 We also interviewed
officials from DHS’s OCHCO as well as their component-level
counterparts to assess to what extent strategic workforce planning had
been implemented.

We conducted this performance audit from April 2012 to December 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 that


9
 The DHS Human Capital Accountability Plan establishes policy as well as a framework
for assessments to evaluate current human capital activities in the department. The Office
of Personnel Management’s Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework,
developed in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget and GAO, defines
standards for success for the federal government and can serve as a road map for human
capital transformation.
10
 The seven operational components, as defined by DHS, are Customs and Border
Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the U.S. Secret Service.




Page 4                                                 GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
             the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
             conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             Strategic workforce planning addresses two critical needs: aligning an
Background   organization’s human capital program with its current and emerging
             mission and programmatic goals and developing long-term strategies for
             acquiring, developing, and retaining staff to achieve programmatic
             goals. 11 This process includes the determination of critical skills and
             competencies—such as the identification of mission-critical occupations
             (MCO)—to meet both current and future programmatic needs. Once skills
             and competencies are identified, strategies should be tailored to address
             gaps in number, deployment, and alignment. The development and
             implementation of strategic workforce planning should be collaborative,
             involving employees and other stakeholders. Further, organizations
             should monitor and evaluate progress of their workforce plans and the
             contributions that their implementation made toward achieving
             programmatic goals.

             In 2002, we reported that a consistent approach to the government’s
             management of its people—its human capital—was the critical missing link
             in reforming and modernizing the federal government’s management
             practices, noting that many agencies faced challenges in key areas,
             including leadership, strategic human capital planning, and creating results-
             oriented organizational cultures, amongst others. 12 We also suggested
             actions to be taken, such as workforce planning to support the skilled talent
             needs of the government, the identification of solutions to skills gaps, and
             the measurement and evaluation of the performance of key initiatives.

             In 2003, we designated implementing and transforming DHS as a high-
             risk area 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. 13 Human capital
             was among the challenges we identified that DHS faces in implementing


             11
              GAO-04-39.
             12
               GAO, A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management, GAO-02-373SP (Washington,
             D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002).
             13
              GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278 (Washington, D.C.: February 2011).




             Page 5                                            GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                        and transforming the department. For example, we identified the need for
                        DHS to link workforce planning efforts to the department’s strategic and
                        program-specific planning efforts to identify current and future human
                        capital needs, including the size of the workforce; the deployment of the
                        workforce across the department and its components; and the
                        knowledge, skills, abilities, and diversity needed for the agency to meet its
                        goals and objectives. In our most recent update of the high-risk list in
                        February 2011, we reported that the department needed to link workforce
                        planning to its strategic and program-specific planning efforts to identify
                        current and future human capital needs to address DHS’s challenges
                        within the department’s management functions and in integrating those
                        functions across the department. 14

                        In January 2011, DHS issued its initial Integrated Strategy for High Risk
                        Management, which included key management initiatives (e.g., Workforce
                        Strategy, Workforce Planning and Balanced Workforce, and Outreach
                        and Targeted Recruitment) to address challenges identified for each
                        management area—human capital, financial, information technology,
                        acquisition, and management integration. DHS provided updates of its
                        progress in implementing these initiatives in later versions of the strategy
                        in June 2011, December 2011, and June 2012. We reported in
                        September 2012 that successfully achieving and sustaining progress in
                        these management areas would demonstrate the department’s ability and
                        ongoing commitment to addressing its high-risk designation in this
                        implementation and transformation area. 15


Leading Principles of   We have reported that strategic workforce planning includes five leading
Strategic Workforce     principles that address aligning an organization’s human capital program
Planning                with its current and emerging mission and programmatic goals, and
                        developing long-term strategies for acquiring, developing, and retaining
                        staff to achieve programmatic goals. 16 The process for strategic workforce
                        planning, along with a description of the five associated leading
                        principles, is shown in figure 1.


                        14
                         GAO-11-278.
                        15
                          GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Continued Progress Made Improving and
                        Integrating Management Areas, but More Work Remains, GAO-12-1041T (Washington,
                        D.C.: Sept. 20, 2012).
                        16
                         GAO-04-39.




                        Page 6                                           GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
 Interactive graphic Figure 1: Strategic Workforce Planning Process Incorporating Leading Principles

Move mouse over the phase title to get more information on the phases.




                                                                         Set strategic direction




                                 Monitor and evaluate
                                                                                                   Workforce gap analysis

                                                                   Involvement of
                                                                  management and
                                                                     employees




                                                        Workforce strategies to fill the gaps




                                                                   Build capability




                                                  Source: GAO.




                                               Page                                                              GAO-13-65'+6:RUNIRUFH3/DQQLQJ
OCHCO Manages Strategic   The department created BWPMO within OCHCO in March 2010 and
Workforce Planning for    issued its Balanced Workforce Strategy in 2010. The Balanced Workforce
DHS                       Strategy refers to the department’s effort to identify the appropriate
                          balance of federal and contractor employees required to support critical
                          agency functions. For example, we reported in December 2011, as a
                          result of the balanced workforce efforts, the Transportation Security
                          Administration (TSA) hired 12 individuals in watch officer support
                          positions, which involve collecting information and monitoring domestic
                          events that affect air passenger security, positions that had previously
                          been filled by contractors. 17 Program officials said they plan to convert the
                          remaining contractor positions to positions for federal employees in the
                          near future. Further, we reported that DHS developed the Balanced
                          Workforce Strategy in response to congressional concerns about the
                          department’s use of contracted services and our 2007 report on its use of
                          professional and management support services. 18 BWPMO issued the
                          Balanced Workforce Strategy in 2010 and subsequently developed an
                          automated tool to help components perform the necessary analysis to
                          determine the appropriate mix of federal employees versus contractors.

                          With the balanced workforce effort established, in January 2011, BWPMO
                          began preparing for a Workforce Planning Summit to focus on Strategic
                          Workforce Planning within DHS that it held in May 2011. From February
                          through May 2011, DHS held four meetings featuring presentations from
                          TSA, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), FEMA, and Customs and Border
                          Protection (CBP) to discuss workforce planning best practices. DHS also
                          revised and reissued the department’s Workforce Planning Guide in
                          March 2011.

                          Another office in OCHCO, the Human Capital Policy and Programs
                          (HCPP) office, also plays a role in the oversight of component workforce
                          planning efforts. Specifically, HCPP performs Human Resources
                          Operations Audits (HROA) to determine components’ compliance with
                          DHS’s Human Capital Accountability Plan and the Human Capital
                          Assessment and Accountability Framework. Along with ensuring



                          17
                           GAO, Managing Service Contracts: Recent Efforts to Address Associated Risks Can Be
                          Further Enhanced, GAO-12-87 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 7, 2011).
                          18
                            GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Improved Assessment and Oversight Needed
                          to Manage Risk of Contracting for Selected Services, GAO-07-990 (Washington, D.C.:
                          Sept. 17, 2007).




                          Page 8                                             GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                       compliance with statutes and regulations, these internal audits assess the
                       degree to which policies, programs, and practices provide efficient and
                       effective support of the components’ respective missions.

                       The HROAs assess components in five areas related to human capital
                       using a three-point scale (having met, partially met, or not met desired
                       outcomes). Specifically, the five areas of the HROAs are (1) strategic
                       alignment, (2) leadership and knowledge management system, (3)
                       results-oriented performance culture system, (4) talent management
                       system, and (5) accountability system. Within each of the five areas there
                       are a total of 44 outcomes that, taken together, provide a basis for the
                       assessment. Depending on the results of their findings, auditors can
                       either require actions or make recommendations to the components for
                       further action, which are included in the final report sent to the
                       component.


                       While DHS has recently taken steps that are generally consistent with
DHS’s Recent Efforts   leading principles in managing departmental strategic workforce planning,
to Manage Strategic    OCHCO has made limited progress in developing an oversight approach
                       for monitoring and evaluating component-level efforts. As a result, and
Workforce Planning     since OCHCO’s efforts are in the relatively early stages, it is too early to
Reflect Leading        determine the potential impact of its strategic workforce planning policies
                       and initiatives on the departmentwide implementation of these efforts.
Principles, but        Since January 2011, DHS has developed and disseminated guidance and
Increased Oversight    procedures to guide workforce planning at the component level and has
                       taken steps to enhance workforce planning across the department. These
of Component           steps are generally reflective of some leading principles we have
Planning Would         identified for strategic workforce planning. However, the performance
                       measures contained in various DHS strategies primarily focus on
Enhance Efforts        monitoring progress in implementing a single aspect of strategic
                       workforce planning—that is determining whether staff performing certain
                       jobs should be federal or contract employees. In addition, OCHCO
                       officials have not developed a documented evaluation system to
                       institutionalize its oversight efforts. Further, internal audits and our
                       previous work have identified component-level challenges related to
                       workforce planning.




                       Page 9                                        GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
DHS Has Taken Steps for   DHS has taken steps relatively recently that are generally consistent with
Managing Strategic        strategic workforce planning principles. Specifically, since January 2011,
Workforce Planning, but   DHS has taken steps to develop and implement strategic workforce
                          planning efforts that are generally consistent with the leading principles
Challenges Remain         including involving management and stakeholders, identifying skills and
                          competencies, developing strategies to fill gaps, and building capability
                          through training.

                          •    Involving top management and stakeholders: We have found
                               efforts that address key organizational issues, like strategic workforce
                               planning, are most likely to succeed if, at their outset, agencies’ top
                               program and human capital leaders set the overall direction, pace,
                               tone, and goals of the effort, and involve employees and other
                               stakeholders in establishing a communication strategy that creates
                               shared expectations for the outcome of the process. We reported in
                               March 2012 that DHS has demonstrated top leadership commitment
                               by identifying roles and responsibilities at the departmental level for its
                               key management initiatives, including those in the human capital
                               management area, it included in the December 2011 Integrated
                               Strategy for High Risk Management. 19 At the component level,
                               BWPMO began efforts in 2011 to obtain input from component
                               stakeholders and communicated information departmentwide via
                               councils and committees, such as the Workforce Planning Council,
                               which meets monthly. 20 In addition, from June through October 2011,
                               BWPMO regularly held committee meetings of its Workforce
                               Indicators Working Group to incorporate component input into new
                               strategic workforce planning initiatives, such as providing common
                               definition of terms so that human capital data, such as rates of
                               attrition, reported by components are uniform. 21 DHS also included
                               component input in the development of the DHS Workforce Strategy
                               Fiscal Years 2011-2016. Internal audits found evidence that


                          19
                            GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Continued Progress Made Improving and
                          Integrating Management Areas, but More Work Remains, GAO-12-365T (Washington,
                          D.C.: Mar. 1, 2012).
                          20
                            For example, officials from CBP presented information at the January 2012 Workforce
                          Planning Council meeting on the progress the agency had made in identifying mission-
                          critical occupations, such as Customs and Border Protection officers, and how these
                          occupations aligned with DHS mission areas, in this case, its mission known as Securing
                          and Protecting the Borders.
                          21
                           The DHS Workforce Indicators Working Group was a series of workshops composed of
                          OCHCO and component officials.




                          Page 10                                               GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
     components are taking steps to involve top managers and
     stakeholders. For example, internal audits of CBP in December 2011
     found that agency workforce planning officials meet with their
     program-level counterparts at least three times a year to discuss
     changes within their workforce, develop strategies to retain the
     workforce, and to provide updated workforce analysis statistics.

•    Identifying critical skills and competencies: Our work has shown
     that in order to effectively meet department challenges, agencies must
     identify the workforce skills and competencies that are critical to
     achieving strategic goals and identify how the agency will obtain these
     requirements. OCHCO began working with components in 2011 to
     help identify critical skills and competencies needed to achieve their
     current and future workforce needs to achieve the department’s
     missions. OCHCO provided components guidance for identifying
     critical skills and competencies, among other things, and DHS also
     developed a common framework for DHS competencies to be used
     across all components through DHS’s Competency Working Group.
     Specifically, this framework includes a standard set of
     departmentwide competencies that would apply to all staff, which
     would be augmented by two further sets of competencies within each
     component: one set specific to all occupations and the other set
     specific to individual jobs. OCHCO also worked directly with
     components to identify MCOs. Internal audits found evidence that
     components are taking steps to identify critical skills and
     competencies, as well as the gaps that exist. For example, auditors
     found in their March 2010 audit that TSA identified mission-critical
     positions throughout its organization and that information related to
     the competencies necessary to fill mission-critical positions was
     housed in a tool utilized as part of a midlevel leadership development
     program. 22

•    Developing strategies for addressing gaps: Our work on strategic
     workforce planning principles indicates that once an agency identifies
     the critical skills and competencies needed, strategies should be
     developed to address gaps in the number, skills and competencies,
     and deployment of the workforce needed for the future. Developing
     such strategies creates a road map for an agency to use to move from


22
  HCPP, Final Report from the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer Regarding the
Human Resources Operations Audit at the Transportation Security Administration
conducted September 20-24, 2010.




Page 11                                              GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
    the current to the future workforce needed to achieve program goals.
    In September 2011, OCHCO began participating in the
    governmentwide Executive Steering Committee and Integrated
    Product Team as part of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
    and Department of Defense (DOD)-led Strategic Human Capital High
    Risk Initiative to develop strategies for addressing workforce skill
    gaps. 23 According to BWPMO officials, its efforts on this
    governmentwide initiative supplemented the gap analysis detailed in
    the DHS Workforce Planning Guide, which BWMPO officials planned
    to update with additional tools and templates developed based on
    information from the governmentwide initiative. BWPMO officials
    reported they plan to complete the update by the end of November
    2012. In addition, DHS required components to develop an initial
    assessment strategy for developing plans to address the skill gaps by
    the end of fiscal year 2012, and the department reported in June 2012
    that 100 percent of its components had developed an initial
    assessment strategy. For example, officials at the U.S. Secret Service
    (USSS) said they developed a series of action plans to ensure full
    staffing of the Uniformed Division officer position, a position
    designated as a high-risk MCO through efforts related to the work of
    the governmentwide high-risk initiative. This included the identification
    and analysis of staffing gaps and the development of action plans to
    close them.

•   Building workforce planning capability: Our work on strategic
    workforce planning principles indicates that agencies should build the
    capability needed to address administrative, education, and other
    requirements important to supporting the workforce strategy. BWPMO
    leadership hosted the May 2011 Strategic Workforce Planning
    Summit, which involved human capital officials from each component.
    The summit provided training for component officials on strategic
    workforce planning to identify workforce indicators, competency and
    skill gaps, and revise MCOs. The training also included building
    components’ planning capability to address current and future
    workforce needs using alternative futures scenarios. Officials at FEMA
    credited the summit with providing them the training they needed to


23
  The OPM-DOD Strategic Human Capital Management Government-Wide High Risk
Initiative is a governmentwide committee led by the Office of Personnel Management and
the Department of Defense whose primary objective includes institutionalizing a
comprehensive strategic human capital management approach to reduce high-risk skill
gaps in targeted governmentwide and agency-specific mission-critical occupations.




Page 12                                              GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
     better define their MCOs. In addition, representatives from each of the
     seven major components we interviewed said that OCHCO staff
     provided multiple opportunities for building their workforce planning
     capability through shared knowledge, including leading principles,
     identifying challenges and solutions, and general sharing of
     information between DHS and the components and also among the
     components. OCHCO has also provided resources for components to
     work directly with each other regarding sharing workforce leading
     principles. For example, BWPMO manages a shared website that
     allows officials at each component to share information and utilize
     resources, such as presentations or leading principles shared by other
     components. 24 Internal audits found evidence that components are
     also building workforce planning capability. For example, in March
     2012, internal auditors reported that Immigration and Customs
     Enforcement (ICE) had established communities of practice
     composed of eight offices tasked with addressing the strategic
     direction of human capital and improving communications for
     accuracy and timeliness among the ICE human capital leaders.

While DHS has taken relatively recent steps, since January 2011, to
implement strategic workforce planning, recent internal audits, as well as
our previous work, identified challenges related to workforce planning at
the component level. Specifically, these audits, as well as our previous
work, have reported findings of component-level deficiencies that could
impair the continued implementation of recent OCHCO efforts. For
example, internal audits and our previous work found challenges related
to the following.

•    Involving stakeholders: In July 2010, internal auditors
     recommended that human capital professionals in the Coast Guard
     work with component and program-level human capital stakeholders
     to determine the workforce needed to meet organizational goals. 25
     Similarly, in August 2009, internal auditors recommended that U.S.


24
  DHS utilizes an online database known as the share point site to store presentations
and documents utilized for workforce planning, and a library of competency models
organized by job series for use by all DHS components.
25
  HCPP, Final Report from the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Human
Resources Operations Audit at the United States Coast Guard Conducted July 12-16,
2010. It is unclear what actions USCG officials took in response to the July 2010 HROA
since, according to DHS, no record exists of the Coast Guard’s required action plan
response to the findings of the July 2010 audit.




Page 13                                                GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
     Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) educate all managers,
     supervisors, and employees on the significance of the strategic
     workforce plan, including their roles and responsibilities in
     implementing the plan. 26

•    Identifying critical skills: Internal auditors found in March 2012 that
     ICE had performed the preliminary identification of MCOs in fiscal
     years 2010 and 2011, and recommended that ICE continue efforts to
     identify competency gaps, among other things. 27 Additionally, internal
     auditors found in July 2010 that while USCG identified a list of MCOs,
     the list was inconsistent across the functional areas of human capital
     and that a comprehensive list should be compiled and shared
     amongst the various program areas. 28 In July 2009 we reported that,
     among other things, the Federal Protective Service’s (FPS) workforce
     planning was limited because FPS headquarters did not collect data
     on its workforce’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. 29 We reported that
     without such information, FPS was unable to determine what its
     optimal staffing levels should be or identify gaps in its workforce
     needs, or determine how to modify its workforce planning strategies to
     fill these gaps, and we made recommendations that FPS take steps to
     address these issues. FPS officials agreed with our recommendations
     and in June 2010 drafted a staffing plan consistent with our


26
  HCPP, Final Report from the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Human
Resources Operations Audit at USCIS Conducted on August 10-14, 2009. It is unclear
what actions USCIS officials took in response to the August 2009 HROA since, according
to DHS, no record exists of USCIS’s required action plan response to the findings of the
August 2009 audit.
27
  HCPP, Final Report from the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer for the ICE
HROA Conducted March 5-9, 2012. The internal audit in October 2009 identified the need
for ICE to expand the mission-critical occupations it identified to include other series
included in the Office of Personnel Management’s list and utilize competency analyses to
drive human-capital strategic planning and workforce planning efforts. It is unclear what
actions ICE officials took in response to the March 2012 HROA because ICE did not
submit the required response plan to HCPP until the end of October 2012. Because ICE
did not submit the plan until the end of October 2012, we were unable to assess the plan
as part of this review.
28
   HCPP, Final Report USCG HROA Conducted July 12-16, 2010. It is unclear what
actions USCG officials took in response to the July 2010 HROA since, according to DHS
officials, no record exists of the Coast Guard’s required action plan response to the
findings of the July 2010 audit.
29
  GAO, Homeland Security: Federal Protective Service Should Improve Human Capital
Planning and Better Communicate with Tenants, GAO-09-749 (Washington, D.C.: July 30,
2009).




Page 14                                               GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
     recommendations, but as of November 2012, FPS has not gained
     approval of its staffing plan.

•    Developing strategies for addressing gaps: A March 2012 internal
     audit reported that although ICE had made significant progress in the
     development of a draft succession plan demonstrating progress in
     moving toward a strategically aligned workforce plan, the agency had
     not yet finalized a comprehensive agencywide workforce and
     succession plan, and that this area remains a source of concern. 30
     Further, we reported in February 2009 that TSA did not have a
     reasonable basis for determining the workforce needed to achieve
     inspection goals of its transportation security inspector (TSI)
     workforce. 31 According to TSA officials, planned aviation inspection
     goals were met in fiscal year 2007, but aviation cargo inspection goals
     were not met because, among other reasons, TSA did not fill all of its
     cargo TSI positions. TSA reported that it had plans to conduct a
     staffing study in fiscal year 2009 to identify the optimal workforce size
     to address its current and future program needs. In September 2011,
     we further reported that TSA had completed the workforce study in
     March 2010 to provide the agency with a more reasonable basis for
     determining the optimal workforce size needed to achieve its current
     and future inspector workload needs of its aviation and air cargo
     inspectors. 32 We did not assess the extent to which the results of this
     study were informing TSA’s resource allocation decisions as part of
     this review.



30
  HCPP, Final Report ICE HROA March 5-9, 2012. The internal audit in March 2012
identified the need for ICE to continue its efforts to identify competency gaps and develop
streamlined recruitment strategies for all designated MCOs. It is unclear what actions ICE
officials took in response to the March 2012 HROA because ICE did not submit the
required response plan to HCPP until the end of October 2012. Because ICE did not
submit the plan until the end of October 2012, we were unable to assess the plan as part
of this review.
31
  GAO, Aviation Security: Status of Transportation Security Inspector Workforce,
GAO-09-123R (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 6, 2009). Transportation security inspectors (TSI)
conduct on-site inspections of all regulated entities in the aviation, air cargo, and surface
transportation modes of transportation to determine their compliance with federal
requirements involving transportation security. For example, at airports, TSIs may check
the integrity of access control systems, alarms, security lighting, and biometric devices
used to restrict public access to secure areas.
32
  GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made and Work Remaining in
Implementing Homeland Security Missions 10 Years after 9/11, GAO-11-881
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 7, 2011).




Page 15                                                  GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                          •    Building capability: In internal audits conducted from August 2009
                               through May 2010, auditors found that three of the seven
                               components’ human capital managers and staff had insufficient
                               awareness of the linkage between human capital planning and the
                               department’s missions and goals. Specifically, as mentioned above, in
                               August 2009, auditors recommended USCIS educate all managers,
                               supervisors, and employees in Human Capital on the significance of
                               the human capital strategic plan and how its strategic objectives affect
                               the mission, including their roles and responsibilities in executing the
                               plan. 33 Audits conducted in October 2009 and May 2010 resulted in
                               similar recommendations for both ICE and USSS. 34


DHS Efforts to Monitor    Although the department recently began taking positive steps for
and Evaluate Components   managing strategic workforce planning in 2011, DHS officials have not yet
Progress                  taken steps to implement an effective oversight approach for monitoring
                          and evaluating components’ progress in implementing strategic workforce
                          planning, consistent with strategic workforce planning principles.

Monitor Progress          According to leading principles, agencies should measure the
                          effectiveness of the workforce plan and help ensure that the strategies
                          work as intended by evaluating the contributions workforce plans make to
                          strategic results. To do this, agencies should determine how well the
                          agency implemented its workforce plan and determine the contribution
                          that the implementation made toward achieving programmatic goals.
                          Periodic measurement of an agency’s progress toward human capital
                          goals and the extent that human capital activities contributed to achieving
                          programmatic goals provides information for effective oversight by
                          identifying performance shortfalls and the need for appropriate corrective


                          33
                            HCPP, Final Report of the HROA at USCIS Conducted on August 10-14, 2009. It is
                          unclear what actions USCIS officials took in response to the August 2009 HROA since,
                          according to DHS officials, no record exists of the USCIS’s required action plan response
                          to the findings of the August 2009 audit.
                          34
                            See HCPP, Final Audit Report Immigration and Customs Enforcement October 19-23,
                          2009; Final Report ICE HROA March 5-9, 2012. The required action plan developed by
                          ICE did not respond to this recommendation, though auditors did not make a similar
                          recommendation in their 2012 audit of ICE. See also HCPP, Final Report from the Office
                          of the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Human Resources Operations Audit at USSS
                          Conducted May 17-21,2010. In its required response plan, USSS reported that its Human
                          Capital Strategic Plan was in the final stages of publication and that the Director of the
                          USSS Office of Human Resources and Training would lead an effort to communicate the
                          publication to all USSS employees.




                          Page 16                                                GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
actions. 35 Further, OPM’s Human Capital Assessment and Accountability
Framework calls for agencies to develop a system for monitoring and
evaluating the results of its human capital management policies,
programs, and activities, and identifying and monitoring necessary
improvements based on the principle that agency human capital
management decisions should be guided by a data-driven, results-
oriented planning and accountability system.

OCHCO has developed limited performance measures to provide a basis
for monitoring and evaluating departmentwide strategic workforce planning
efforts. 36 Our analysis shows that DHS had three performance measures
related to strategic workforce planning and that two of these three
measures gauge components’ efforts to determine whether positions
should be filled with federal or contract employees. 37 Determining whether
a function should be staffed by either a federal employee or a contractor is
one element of the first of five steps (strategic direction setting) in DHS’s
workforce planning model, which includes five steps made up of a total of
15 elements. The five steps and 15 elements of the DHS Workforce
Planning Model, as well as whether there are any related performance
measures for these elements, are described in table 1. 38




35
 GAO-04-39.
36
 We identified these performance measures in two different strategy documents, DHS’s
Workforce Strategy and its Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management.
37
  Specifically, one of the three performance measures assesses the “proportion of
component contract work that has been analyzed and documented using the balanced
workforce methodology to determine appropriate balance” regarding federal and contract
employees. Additionally, a second measure monitors the percentage of major contracts
that have been evaluated by the components to determine whether the positions should
be converted to ones held by federal employees or remain as ones held by contractors.
38
 BWPMO officials reported that some of the elements in the DHS Workforce Planning
Model are to be modified in the next update of the DHS Workforce Planning Guide.




Page 17                                              GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
Table 1: The Five Steps and 15 Elements of DHS’s Workforce Planning Model, and
Related Performance Measures.

    Workforce planning model           Workforce planning                   Related performance
    step                               elements                             measures
    Step 1—strategic direction         •    Linking strategy to the         •    No
    setting                                 workforce
                                       •    Defining and evaluating         •    Yesa
                                            work to be performed
                                       •    Defining the source to          •    Yesa
                                            perform the work
                                       •    Consider the workforce          •    No
                                            planning scope
    Step 2—supply, demand              •    Supply analysis                 None
                  b
    discrepancies
                                       •    Demand analysis
                                       •    Discrepancies and gap
                                            analysis
    Step 3—develop action plan         •    Design a workforce plan         None
                                            to address gaps
                                       •    Identify strategies and
                                            action items
    Step 4—implement action            •    Management, leadership, None
    plan                                    and support
                                       •    Conduct recruitment,
                                            hiring, training, and
                                            placement
                                       •    Implement retention
                                            strategies
                                       •    Other important
                                            considerations
    Step 5—monitor, evaluate,          •    Monitor, evaluate, and          None
    revise                                  revise workforce plan
                                       •     Monitor, evaluate, and
                                            revise process steps
Source: GAO analysis of DHS data.
a
 Both elements relate to efforts to determine whether positions should be filled with federal or contract
employees. There are two different performance measures related to these elements in the DHS
Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management. One of these performance measures is essentially
duplicated in the DHS Workforce Strategy.

b
 There is a single performance measure in the DHS Integrated Strategy for High Risk Management
that relates to this step. However, because it measures components’ progress in developing an initial
skill gap assessment strategy, it is not actually a measure of any of the elements included in this step.


The remaining performance measure gauges the percentage of
components that have developed an initial assessment strategy for
determining skills gaps for an analysis of workforce supply, which is a


Page 18                                                         GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
precursor to step 2 of the workforce planning model. OCHCO also uses
what it refers to as the Human Capital Dashboard to monitor and report to
senior DHS officials regarding targeted indicators of workforce health,
such as attrition, aligned with the MCOs. 39 For example, in DHS’s first
mission area, Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security, the
Dashboard identifies workforce information such as number of staff and
attrition rates for job series identified as MCOs, including transportation
security officers from TSA and special agents from USSS.

Thus, on the basis of our evaluations, OCHCO has established
performance measures that monitor only 2 of the 15 elements in the
department’s workforce planning model. When we asked BWPMO
officials about developing performance measures for other steps or
elements of the DHS Workforce Planning Model, officials agreed that the
existing measures did not adequately report the state of strategic
workforce planning at the component level. BWPMO officials said that
they intended to include additional performance measures in revising the
Workforce Strategy, sometime in 2016. In subsequent discussions,
BWPMO officials said that, in response to our inquiries, they planned to
discuss how to accelerate their efforts to incorporate additional
performance measures for reporting components’ progress implementing
strategic workforce planning at a future Workforce Planning Council
meeting. 40 However, as of November 2012, OCHCO had no plans in
place to develop and implement additional workforce planning-related
performance measures. Without performance measures that provide
BWPMO a basis to monitor all aspects of departmentwide strategic
workforce planning, DHS has limited means of determining components’
progress toward achieving human capital goals or the contribution of
human capital activities toward achieving programmatic goals. Additional
performance measures that monitor additional steps and elements of
DHS’s workforce planning model could enhance the department’s
oversight of these efforts.



39
  The Human Capital Dashboard report is given to DHS leadership and provides the
status of the DHS workforce overall, as well as changes to the workforce in mission-critical
occupations that may signal potential mission risk. Further, though the dashboard
presents information on items such as attrition, DHS has not yet established, for example,
any criteria or standard for what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” attrition.
40
 BWPMO officials also discussed applying a governmentwide measure in fiscal year
2012 to measure staffing gaps as part of its annual reporting to OPM.




Page 19                                                 GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
Evaluate Progress   BWPMO officials rely on an informal management approach to assess
                    component workforce planning, which provides it with a limited means of
                    evaluating components’ progress in implementing departmental policies
                    and procedures governing workforce planning. BWPMO’s reliance on an
                    informal management approach to evaluate components’ progress in
                    implementing departmental policies and procedures governing workforce
                    planning provides limited oversight of components’ efforts because it fails
                    to leverage and institutionalize existing processes.

                    Two processes exist within OCHCO that BWPMO could leverage to more
                    effectively evaluate components’ progress implementing workforce
                    planning, though these have limitations. Specifically, components develop
                    and provide to OCHCO for review, annual operational plans to report on
                    the components’ progress implementing the department’s Workforce
                    Strategy, though OCHCO has not provided timely review of components’
                    annual operational plans. Additionally, HCPP uses internal audits in its
                    evaluation of component-level human capital-related efforts, but BWPMO
                    has not used the results of these audits to evaluate the implementation of
                    the components’ workforce planning efforts.

                    The department’s Workforce Strategy requires components to submit
                    annual operational plans to OCHCO that describe, among other things,
                    how their strategic workforce planning supports the strategy’s goals and
                    objectives. 41 Specifically, the annual operational plans are the method by
                    which components report to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the
                    CHCO on component-specific actions in support of the department’s
                    goals, objectives, and associated performance measures identified in the
                    Workforce Strategy. OCHCO is responsible for overseeing the
                    implementation of the Workforce Strategy and also for providing oversight
                    and feedback on the components’ annual operational plans, among other
                    things. In order for these annual plans to be an effective tool for
                    component leadership to ensure that their workforce planning efforts are
                    aligned to the department’s Workforce Strategy, component officials need
                    departmental feedback in time to make any corrections or revisions so
                    they can fully develop the operational plans prior to the start of the fiscal
                    year and then implement them once the fiscal year begins.



                    41
                      Strategic workforce planning is referred to under goal 2, recruit a highly qualified and
                    diverse workforce, of the department’s Workforce Strategy and is one of four goal 2
                    objectives.




                    Page 20                                                  GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
However, OCHCO has not provided feedback on operational plans in
time for the components to revise and implement their plans before the
start of the fiscal year. Specifically, when we spoke with component
officials from April through May 2012, they said they had previously
provided their fiscal year 2012 operational plans to OCHCO for review,
but at that time had not yet received feedback on these plans. An official
from the OCHCO Chief of Staff’s office, the office responsible for
overseeing the implementation of the workforce strategy and for providing
feedback on the components operational plans, said that as of September
2012, nearly 1 year after the beginning of fiscal year 2012, the
components’ had not received feedback on their operational plans for
fiscal year 2012, and subsequently the department had not begun
working with components to develop their plans for fiscal year 2013.
Further, fiscal year 2013 had already begun yet OCHCO had not
completed the process for finalizing the fiscal year 2012’s plans. This
official agreed that components’ operational plans should be finalized and
in place prior to the start of the fiscal year for which they are intended in
order to guide components’ operations for the coming year.

When we asked the official from the OCHCO Chief of Staff’s office
whether the component operational plans were an effective tool for the
department to use in its evaluation of component-level workforce
planning, the official acknowledged that the plans do not serve as an
effective management tool for OCHCO to evaluate component workforce
strategy-related activities, including workforce planning. The plans do not
serve as an effective management tool because there have been delays
in preparing, reviewing, and approving component annual operational
plans, as well as in providing feedback. Such feedback serves as the
basis for revising and finalizing the plans, as well as providing baseline
information to develop the following year’s plans. OCHCO officials agreed
that they have not provided components with feedback regarding their
operational plans in a timely manner, which has delayed the
implementation of the fiscal year 2012 plans as well as the development
of fiscal year 2013 plans. OCHCO officials agreed these plans should
have been developed and implemented prior to the start of the fiscal year
for which they are to be used to evaluate the implementation of the DHS
Workforce Strategy. As a result, without timely feedback and
implementation, OCHCO is unable to use the annual operational plans to
determine the effectiveness of components’ efforts to implement the
department’s workforce strategy.

In addition to OCHCO’s requirement that components report annually on
the status of their implementation of workforce planning efforts, HCPP


Page 21                                        GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
conducts internal audits called Human Resources Operations Audits on
each operational component every 3 years. 42 Our analysis determined
that 11 out of 44 total outcomes in the HROAs related to workforce
planning. Within the first section of the HROA, strategic alignment, there
are three outcomes that explicitly assess components’ workforce planning
efforts. For example, one outcome assesses whether workforce planning
is strategically approached. In addition to the three outcomes explicitly
identified in the audits as related to workforce planning, our analysis
determined there are an additional eight outcomes within the audits that
relate to the strategic workforce planning leading principles our previous
work has identified. For example, one outcome DHS components are
assessed against is whether they have documented and communicated
human capital accountability policies, processes, measures, and results
throughout their organization. This outcome directly relates to the
strategic workforce planning leading principle regarding monitoring and
evaluating.

The most recently completed audits conducted on the seven operational
components included in our review revealed that five of the seven
components had not taken needed steps to ensure that human capital
accountability policies, processes, measures, and results are documented
and communicated throughout the organization. Additionally, four
components had not fully incorporated systems to continually assess and
improve human capital planning and investment as well as their impact on
mission accomplishment. For example, in their most recent HROAs, CBP
and TSA met all four outcomes pertaining to accountability; however,
audits of the other five components included recommendations to develop
accountability programs. For example, in March 2012 auditors
recommended that ICE officials develop a formalized accountability
program that describes a system for measuring accountability goals and
compliance with applicable legal authorities and continue developing
standardized policies and procedures that will be used to hold program
areas accountable. 43 Similarly, USCIS’s most recent audit report in


42
  OCHCO Human Capital Policy and Program Officials noted that beginning with the
planned audit of USCIS in November 2012, the HROAs will be conducted every 4 years,
on a rotating basis.
43
  It is unclear what actions ICE officials took in response to the March 2012 HROA
because ICE did not submit the required response plan to HCPP until the end of October
2012. Because ICE did not submit the plan until the end of October 2012, we were unable
to assess the plan as part of this review.




Page 22                                              GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
August 2009 recommended that USCIS officials develop and implement a
human capital accountability plan. 44

Further, HCPP and BWPMO, the two offices in OCHCO responsible for
providing oversight of components’ workforce planning, have not
coordinated their efforts. Specifically, within OCHCO, HCPP uses the
HROAs to evaluate components’ compliance with certain statues and
regulations, among other things, while BWPMO, the OCHCO office
primarily responsible for departmentwide workforce planning, had no
knowledge that HROAs included workforce planning-related required
actions and recommendations.

According to the OCHCO Human Resources Audit Manual, the guide
used by audit teams to perform HROAs on the components, the
component is responsible for preparing an action plan for the accepted
required actions and recommendations. This plan must be submitted to
the audit team lead for review and approval and must include a timeline of
activities to fulfill each action and must identify the documentation that will
be provided to the audit team lead upon completion of each item.

When we asked OCHCO officials how the required action plans were
evaluated, they said that as part of their follow-up and tracking of
component HROA responses, HCPP reviews component action plans
and closes out audit reports. This process includes issuing the final audit
results to the component and, in response, the component develops an
action plan. Once HCPP receives the required component action plan,
HCPP staff evaluates the plan to determine its sufficiency in addressing
the required actions from the audits and adds notes to the report to
indicate their final determination or provide further direction to the
component. Finally, HCPP issues a close out report to the component
documenting the status of the findings.

Despite BWPMO’s responsibility for departmentwide workforce planning,
officials in that office did not use the workforce planning-related portions
of the HCPP HROAs to evaluate component workforce planning. When
we asked BWPMO officials how they used the results of these audits for
departmental management and oversight, they said that they were not


44
  It is unclear what actions USCIS officials took in response to the HROA reported in June
2010. According to DHS officials, no record exists of USCIS’s required action plan
response to the findings of the audit.




Page 23                                                GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
aware that the HROAs included recommendations or required
components to take certain actions pertaining to workforce planning.
Thus, these officials said that they had not integrated the results of these
audits into their strategic workforce planning efforts. Because HCPP
performs the human resources operational audits and BWPMO had not
used the results to assess compliance, the BWPMO officials relied on
informal discussions with component officials to gather information on the
status of component strategic workforce planning efforts.

As a result of our inquiries, BWPMO officials said they planned to
coordinate with HCPP in the future to ensure that workforce planning
analysis conducted during the audits is consistent with BWPMO
workforce planning efforts, and that the results of required actions and
recommendations from the final audit reports related to workforce
planning are evaluated across components. However, BWPMO had no
documented plans regarding using these audits to evaluate components’
implementation of strategic workforce planning efforts. Though BWPMO
and HCPP officials stated they planned to revise the Human Resources
Audit Manual to incorporate changes, as of November 2012, BWPMO
was unable to provide specific information regarding how these audits
would be used in the future. Standards for Internal Control in the Federal
Government calls for agencies to have appropriate documentation of
transactions and internal controls, which should appear in management
directives, administrative policies, or operating manuals. Moreover, the
standards state that such policies and procedures should provide
reasonable assurance that ongoing monitoring and evaluation is
institutionalized in the agency’s operations. Without policies and
procedures in place to ensure that monitoring and evaluation is
institutionalized, OCHCO will continue to have limited oversight of the
implementation of strategic workforce planning at the component level.

In addition, although components are required to develop annual
operational plans to report on their efforts to implement the department’s
workforce strategy and the HROAs are performed on components to
assess the extent to which they are contributing to mission
accomplishment, among other things, the two efforts are not linked. In
conjunction with additional strategic workforce planning performance
measures, incorporating the results of human resources operations
audits, including the status of addressing required actions and
recommendations, in the components’ annual operational plans could
provide OCHCO with a greater ability to oversee departmentwide
strategic workforce planning. Moreover, monitoring and evaluating the
results of components’ implementation of OCHCO’s strategic workforce


Page 24                                       GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                      planning policies and procedures is essential to ensure that issues and
                      concerns identified in prior internal audits are consistently and
                      comprehensively resolved and to provide a means of assessing the
                      impact of OCHCO’s recent initiatives.


                      DHS’s ability to successfully meet its multiple, diverse, and essential
Conclusion            missions involves the efforts of more than 240,000 employees, the vast
                      majority of which work within the seven operational components. To
                      ensure DHS has the workforce it needs to accomplish these missions,
                      and effectively manage the human capital challenges it is facing along
                      with the government as a whole, such as increasing turnover, the
                      department needs to align its strategic planning with programmatic goals
                      and budgetary realities to develop long-term strategies for acquiring,
                      developing, and retaining staff to achieve these goals. DHS has recently
                      taken steps to implement more strategic, departmentwide workforce
                      planning by working collaboratively with components though various
                      committees and councils to focus the department on strategic workforce
                      planning. Nonetheless, as DHS moves forward, it will need to determine
                      how to assess its progress and ensure components are achieving
                      workforce planning goals. DHS currently has limited performance
                      measures and lacks policies and procedures regarding how to use the
                      results of audits for departmental oversight of component workforce
                      planning. Without additional performance measures related to workforce
                      planning to hold components accountable for making progress in
                      implementing these efforts, DHS’s OCHCO does not have an effective
                      means of monitoring progress. Similarly, without policies and procedures
                      for integrating the results of audits into component workforce plans and
                      annual reports, DHS lacks reasonable assurance that evaluation of such
                      efforts will be institutionalized, nor can it provide evidence of component
                      alignment with departmental strategic workforce planning guidance.


                      To help ensure that DHS strategic workforce planning is effectively
Recommendations for   implemented departmentwide, we recommend that the Secretary of
Executive Action      Homeland Security direct the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer to
                      take the following three actions to provide a basis to monitor and assess
                      the effectiveness of departmentwide strategic workforce planning:

                      •   identify and document additional performance measures, such as
                          measures to monitor component efforts to develop and implement
                          action plans to address workforce supply and demand discrepancies,




                      Page 25                                       GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                      and use them to assess and report on components’ progress in
                      implementing DHS’s strategic workforce planning process;

                  •   document policies and procedures for the Balanced Workforce
                      Program Management Office and the Human Capital Policy and
                      Programs Office to use the results of audits related to component-
                      level workforce planning; and

                  •   integrate the results of these audits with components’ annual
                      operational plans and review the plans and provide timely feedback to
                      enhance components’ implementation of strategic workforce planning
                      efforts.


                  We requested comments on a draft of this report from DHS. On
Agency Comments   November 16, 2012, DHS provided written comments, which are
                  reprinted in appendix I, and provided technical comments, which we
                  incorporated as appropriate. DHS concurred with our three
                  recommendations and described actions planned to address them.
                  Specifically, DHS stated that—-

                  •   The department has taken steps to implement an effective oversight
                      approach for monitoring and evaluating components’ progress in
                      implementing strategic workforce planning. These steps include an
                      effort by BWPMO and HCPP to develop a checklist outlining specific
                      performance measures to be used in future HROAs to determine
                      component compliance with workforce planning guidance, among
                      other things.

                  •   BWPMO plans to document oversight policies in the next update of its
                      workforce planning guidance, and that HCPP will provide audit
                      findings to BWPMO staff in order to ensure appropriate internal
                      control processes and component compliance with workforce planning
                      guidance. The procedures outlined in the planned update to the DHS
                      Workforce Planning Guide will also be used by BWPMO to monitor
                      and provide workforce planning oversight of components.

                  •   OCHCO will use HROA audit results as a source of component
                      information as OCHCO conducts reviews of component annual
                      operational plans. OCHCO will begin this integration of HROA
                      information and component operational plans with the issuance of
                      HCPP’s next HROA audit report scheduled for the end of November
                      2012.


                  Page 26                                      GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland
Security, selected congressional committees, and other interested
parties. In addition, the report is available at no charge on the GAO
website at http://www.gao.gov.

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. Key contributors to this report are listed in
appendix II.




David C. Maurer
Director, Homeland Security
  and Justice Issues




Page 27                                        GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
             Appendix I: Comments from the Department of

Appendix I: Comments from the Department
             Homeland Security




of Homeland Security




             Page 28                                       GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
Homeland Security




Page 29                                       GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
                  Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff

Appendix II: 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, Chris Keisling, Assistant Director;
Staff             Scott Behen, Analyst-in-Charge; David Garcia; Steve Lozano; and
Acknowledgments   Katherine Davis made significant contributions to the work. Mary
                  Denigan-Macauley, Tracey King, and Amanda Miller also contributed to
                  this work.




(441065)
                  Page 30                                      GAO-13-65 DHS Workforce Planning
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