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September 12, 2016

DHS CBRNE Reorg. Request Not Ready for Action

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he requested on the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Program consolidation proposal:

“The GAO’s review of the Department of Homeland Security’s proposal to consolidate certain activities related chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) defense confirms many of the concerns I had when Congress directed the Department to consider consolidating the programs in 2013 and again last year when the House moved legislation authorizing the consolidation.”  

“As I have cautioned in the past, reorganizations can be disruptive, and the impact on workforce morale can sometimes jeopardize the very programs the reorganization is intended to improve.”

“Despite reservations about legislation authorizing the Department’s proposed CBRNE reorganization, I did not oppose the bill, the Department of Homeland Security CBRNE Defense Act of 2015, as amended, because the Department assured us that the reorganization, and any unintended consequences, had been thoroughly vetted.”

“A key practice of successful reorganizations within federal agencies should be to establish a consistent mission and cohesive strategic goals to guide the makeover. Instead, GAO found that the Department proposed this consolidation without fully assessing potential problems, without documenting associated costs and benefits, and without conducting thorough stakeholder outreach.”

“DHS’s CBRNE mission is too important to be handled this haphazardly, and I am disappointed that the Department submitted a reorganization request to Congress that was not ripe for action.  The House-passed Department of Homeland Security CBRNE Defense Act is currently pending in the Senate, and I urge my colleagues there to weigh the GAO’s findings carefully should they choose to move forward in authorizing the proposed CBRNE reorganization.”

Link to Report - DHS's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Program Consolidation Proposal Could Better Consider Benefits and Limitations (GAO-16-603)

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978