The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not fully adopted risk management to help it identify, prioritize and fund national security risks, according to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The report, titled "Applying Risk Management Principles to Guide Federal Investments," reports that Homeland Security has applied these principles to some of its operations, such as using them to determine how to give grants for its Urban Area Security Initiative.
DHS began applying risk management to the UASI in fiscal year 2006, and refined the process for 2007. It streamlined the UASI risk assessment model, added intelligence about urban areas' risk levels and considered the impact of a successful attack on an area to help determine which proportion of millions of dollars in security aid state and local authorities receive.
The GAO report elaborates, however, on other areas of homeland security that could still benefit from risk management. For instance, the Transportation Security Administration has yet to finish a risk assessment for the country's transportation and port systems.
Overall, the report credits DHS for recognizing the importance of risk management, but points out that a comprehensive program is not yet in place.
"Adoption of a comprehensive risk management framework is essential for DHS to assess risk by determining which elements of risk should be addressed in what ways within available resources," the GAO concluded.
Released on February 7, the report was a written version of testimony given by William O. Jenkins Jr., director, homeland security and justice issues, at the GAO, before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security of the Committee on Appropriations for the House of Representatives. The DHS could not be reached for comment.
April 1, 2007
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