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DHS replies to the WaPo’s employee turnover story

DHS issued a lengthy statement this afternoon in reply to the story in the Washington Post on DHS turnover that I commented on last night. The bulk of the statement is a long list of the senior DHS officials who have been confirmed or appointed in the last year, complaining that the Post ignored “this remarkable and unprecedented change to new and stable leadership.” The last paragraph lists key initiatives to address some of the problems featured in the piece including the “Unity of Effort” initiative and unnamed activities related to employee morale, hiring, promotion and training.

My take: DHS is absolutely right to be proud of the progress that they have made to address the senior-level vacancies problem in the last nine months; what had been a significant management risk has been largely eliminated. But the Post story is about much more than vacancies at the top of the organization; the general findings on organizational culture, excessive bureaucracy, and employee morale are the core issues at the heart of the story, not the data points on employee turnover. These are issues that the DHS leadership team has increased its focus on in recent months, but will require persistent efforts over a period of years to fix.

Also worth reading in response to the Post story: HSPI Senior Fellow Rich Cooper’s post at Security Debrief this afternoon.