Leadership Journal

Friday, March 27, 2009

Efficiency Review

Today the Department took a major step forward to advance one of President Obama's most important goals – improving efficiency and transparency across the Federal government.

Efficiency is essential to effective governance. It helps reduce costs and ensure taxpayer money isn’t wasted. It improves performance and customer satisfaction. And it strengthens employee morale.

Over the next 120 days, we will begin implementing nearly two dozen initiatives to trim costs, streamline operations, eliminate duplication, and better manage resources across the Department.

This effort is the result of a comprehensive assessment by our Efficiency Review team, which worked with DHS components, offices, and employees to identify more than 700 initiatives – some immediate, some long-term – to improve efficiency and transparency.

Among the immediate changes we will make over the next 30 days:
  • Eliminating all non-mission critical travel for employees and maximizing our use of conference calls and web-based training and meetings;
  • Reducing subscriptions to professional publications and newspapers to lower costs and avoid duplication;
  • Eliminating printing and distribution of all reports and documents that can be sent electronically or posted on-line.
Over the next 30 days, we will also begin using purchasing agreements to substantially save on office supplies. This may sound like a small matter, but by leveraging the Department's collective buying power, we can save up to $52 million on office supplies over the next five years.

We're also going to take action to improve how we track and monitor fuel usage for our vehicles. Over the next 60 days, we will begin implementing a new electronic tracking system that will help increase alternative fuel usage; guard against waste, fraud, and abuse; and optimize how we manage our fleet.

In addition, we will begin acquiring hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles over the next 120 days. We expect a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency in large vehicles, and even greater efficiency in smaller vehicles as a result of this change.

To become more energy efficient, we will also begin implementing energy efficiencies at DHS offices across the country. Over the next 120 days, we will initiate a process to identify and move toward renewable energy technology and greater energy conservation, with a goal of saving $3 million per year.

Over the next 60 days, we will also implement a process to purchase computer software licenses as a single Department – as opposed to individual agencies. As a result, we expect to save over $47 million per year and $283 million over the next six years.

Finally, we’re going to take steps to streamline employee training and orientations, and reduce costs and backlogs associated with background checks for new employees.

This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we’ll announce even more initiatives to improve efficiency. I look forward to keeping you updated as we make these changes, which will result in a stronger, more effective DHS.

Janet Napolitano

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  • I think it's so important to cut back on unnecessary travel expenses. I'm so glad that is one of the budget cuts. It just makes more sense in these economic times to travel less and use technology to communicate more. Right on!

    By Anonymous HDTV Reviews, At March 27, 2009 5:11 PM  

  • Your efforts to increase efficiency at your department is admirable and congratulations are in order.

    Another area you should examine is the immigration process and the paperwork involved. I can't begin to count the redundancies involved. There's the I-129F, the I-130, the G-325a, I-134, DS-156, DS-230, I-864, and that's just to get into the country. These documents all ask essentially the same questions and then add a few new questions.

    The burden on the applicants is tremendous, as is the burden upon your system, and this is why in some cases you are running backlogs of 5+ years.

    By streamlining the process, your agency will be able to process cases faster, reduce the amount of paperwork, and allow your agency to concentrate more upon its primary responsibility- keeping our country safe.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 27, 2009 8:00 PM  

  • Hooray for you, Ms. Napolitano,
    Please follow through with these objectives. If you are not already aware, employee tickets are purchased through a contract agency at a prohibitive price. The average citizen can bid for their tickets online for a fraction of the cost. Secondly, take a look at the so-called "layers of security," like the BDO program and gate screening, which are simply redundant, duplication and a major waste of personnel and money. It is inspiring to hear the term "common sense" in conjunction with TSA since they have been mutually exclusive until your arrival.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 28, 2009 2:16 AM  

  • I do not think the DHS should spend taxpayer money on NEW vehicles just because they would be fashionably "hybrid". That's a waste of our money.

    You should use the current vehicles & trucks that you already have until they wear-out. Most of them WILL operate just fine on ethanol fuel instead of gas (Flexfuel).......if that is what you’re really worried about. Or is it just a fashion statement you’re trying to make?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 29, 2009 4:41 PM  

  • A good way for the DHS to cut down on spending is to completely do away with the DHS.

    The Federal government cannot possibly protect the thousands of bridges, airports, malls, and subways or the hundreds of buildings, factories, power plants, and infrastructure systems. Security should be the responsibility of local law enforcement and above all owners. The Federal government should only aid in domestic security by relaying information on intelligence and vulnerability to proper local authorities.

    This posts suggests that projected millions of dollars saved by the DHS is a success. In September of 2008 The House Committee on Homeland Security reported that the DHS had wasted over 15 billion dollars in failed contracts. Billions of dollars were spent on over-budgeted projects only to be delayed or canceled.

    By doing away with the DHS, the government will be able to save more of the tax payer's money in these financially troubling times.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 29, 2009 9:40 PM  

  • Continue the "Worksite Enforcement Raids" that were working so well! Do not use your political ideology to stall a winning program. Do not slow or stop worksite enforcement raids as an "excuse" for so-called streamlining...........you are not supposed to cutback/streamline out the things that work!

    All those jobs need to be opened up for American citizens and legitimate workers ONLY. Our government/DHS/ICE should see that they are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 30, 2009 1:49 PM  

  • I have been an employee of the LA ICE office for the past 5 years. I am shocked at the number of miles logged on our U.S. Gov't cars in the name of home to work usage. We are not the only office that is guilty. It seems that office heads think it is a right or a privilege of their office to have a gov't car to take home. Some drive hundreds of miles a day round trip on their commute. I can tell you too that they are the last person called out to do real work. You should audit the use of home to work cars across the department-- that in itself will save you multi-millions in fuel and more by not wearing out our vehicles on supervisory commuting rather than doing our jobs--
    Keep up the good work

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 31, 2009 5:46 PM  

  • How about start using open source softwares on nonessential projects; lots of good ones out there.

    Accelerate the transition from paper based system to electronic system, especially for USCIS. Simply implementing an online payment system would save the department tons of money on staffing, processing checks and fixing mistakes.

    If you really want to save money, allow H-1B workers and F-1 students to legally bid and work on USCIS projects. I bet many of them will do it for free, if they have a chance to improve processing efficiency (sigh)

    By Anonymous immigrant, At April 7, 2009 3:31 AM  

  • "I think it's so important to cut back on unnecessary travel expenses. I'm so glad that is one of the budget cuts" I agree

    By Anonymous أطياف مصر, At April 7, 2009 8:44 AM  

  • I think that corporate, non-profit and government organizations should always be looking for ways to save money. Though hindsight is 20/20, I am glad that there are measures being considered on how to save money now.

    And I, by no means, believe that getting rid DHS will solve that problem. We are in billions of dollars of debt. Getting rid of DHS now as a short-term fix will pose long-term problems to the US.

    We should be looking at lasting ways to save money, not quick fixes.

    By OpenID J Rizzo, At April 7, 2009 4:36 PM  

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