During the next four months, the Homeland Security Department will kick off more than 700 initiatives that are expected to save millions of dollars, including a shift from paper to electronic documents and the purchase of enterprise software licenses to cut IT costs, said Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Napolitano provided details about the initiatives at a briefing on Friday at the Transportation Security Administration's Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The plans are the result of a review that Napolitano announced in February, which sought to identify ways to save money and improve operations. TSA opened the systems integration facility recently to test new explosives screening systems before deploying them to airports across the country. Napolitano said the facility is a perfect example of the improved efficiency the plan seeks to achieve.
DHS will phase in 700 new programs in six categories: acquisition, asset and property management; hiring and credentialing of employees; and information technology.
In the next 30 days, for example, the department will begin using electronic documents rather than paper whenever possible to streamline operations. "No reports or documents will be printed that can be sent electronically or shared online," Napolitano said. The department also will invest in equipment that performs multiple tasks -- such as all-in-one printer, fax and copier machines -- to save money and space. In addition, it will require more conference calls and Web-based training to minimize employee travel that isn't mission critical.
In another initiative, DHS will transition over the next 60 days from an independent software procurement model, which allowed agencies to purchase individual licenses, to enterprise software licensing. The new approach will standardize software products across the department to encourage deeper discounts from vendors. The strategic sourcing program is expected to save up to $47 million annually and $280 million over the next six years.
DHS can't control floods or volcanoes, Napolitano said at the event, after detailing response efforts to flooding in Minnesota and the volcanic eruption in Alaska, "but we do control how we operate, how we manage money and how we manage systems."
Other initiatives that DHS will roll out include volume purchasing to save money on office supplies, improving background checks to better identify disqualifying factors, consolidating employee orientations and mandatory training, and shifting its fleet of vehicles to hybrid or alternative fuel models -- which is expected to result in 30 percent greater fuel efficiency.
The department also expects to save $3 million by using only the primary DHS seal and eliminating all other branding for individual offices and agencies. That, when combined with standardization of IT and consolidation of headquarters in Southeast Washington, will help not only to save money, but to unify a fractured department, Napolitano said. When DHS was created in 2002, it immediately faced the challenge of combining dozens of agencies with varied management cultures and missions.
"We need to do things as an entire department -- not component by component," she said.
Napolitano led a similar initiative when she was governor of Arizona, focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiency in procurement, energy conservation, travel, fleet management, training and electronic communications. The programs saved the state more than $1 billion, according to DHS officials.