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Feds Throw Millions At Employee Training, But Can’t Account For It

Department of Homeland Security officials can’t say how much they’re spending training employees and haven’t properly overseen that training for more than a decade, according to the agency’s official watchdog.

DHS’ chief financial officer couldn’t tell the DHS Office of Inspector General how much his agency spent in 2014 on employee training. In fact, DHS spent far more on training than it reported to the Office of Personnel Management, according to the IG.

DHS told OPM that it spent $1.9 million on employee training, an amount that is a tiny fraction of its $1.4 billion training budget. The CFO could only account for $267 million it spent on training, according to the IG.

DHS has also ignored 29 recommendations various internal working groups have made since 2004 to improve the coordination and oversight of employee training, according to the IG. DHS’ solution? Create more working groups.

“DHS has overlooked opportunities for known efficiencies and continues to create working groups,” the IG said. “This lack of action hinders DHS’ ability to improve oversight of its workforce training and ensure the most cost-efficient use of resources.”

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Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement aren’t overseeing some local training operations like they should be, because it’s unclear who is responsible for the training.

“The lack of effective governance structure further hinders DHS’ ability to adequately oversee its workforce training, which decreases opportunities for efficiencies,” the IG said.

Former President George W. Bush merged 22 federal agencies to create DHS in 2002, and it’s been discombobulated ever since.

The IG recommended that DHS develop a uniform process for recording and reporting training information, create a system for governing that employee training, and plan a way to execute its working groups’ previous recommendations. DHS agreed.

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