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Long-term planning at DHS: The missing FYHSP reports

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Section 874 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (as modified by the DHS Financial Accountability Act in 2004) requires that the Department of Homeland Security produce a “Future Years Homeland Security Program” (FYHSP) report each year, and then deliver the report to Congress “at or about the same time” as it delivers it annual budget request. The law specifies that the FYHSP shall include similar information as the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) produced each year by DOD at the request of the Armed Services committees, shall set forth Departmental strategy, and shall explain how the resource allocations in the FYHSP align with this strategy.

The annual FYHSP reports have been produced for Congress on a regular basis now for over the past decade, and provide valuable information for Congressional oversight purposes, including such information as five-year projections for the budgets of the various DHS offices and components, and the projected life-cycle costs for the Department’s major acquisitions. (I was a regular recipient and user of these reports when I worked for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee). They provide information that is essential for any current or future effort to write and pass authorization bills for DHS. However, these FYHSP reports have never been made public by the Department, with major sections of the reports marked “For Official Use Only.”

As a reader of these reports, I always thought that this FOUO marking was unnecessary, especially since the marking was legally meaningless in terms of Congressional use of the information in the reports. In the last two years, the House and Senate Appropriations committees have each year directed DHS to make the annual FYHSP reports publicly available (emphasis added in the excerpts below):

From the House FY 2014 Appropriations Report for DHS:

Consistent with section 874 of Public law 107–296, the Department shall submit a Future Years Homeland Security Program budget as part for the fiscal year 2015 budget justification, reflecting anticipated spending for fiscal years 2015–2019. It shall be in unclassified form so as to be accessible to the public.

From the Senate FY 2014 Appropriations Report for DHS:

Consistent with section 874 of Public Law 107–296, the Department shall submit a Future Years Homeland Security Program budget as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget justification. The report is to display funding by appropriation account and subordinate program, project, or activity. Further the report is to provide a 5-year capital investment plan for all major acquisitions. The report shall be in unclassified form so as to be accessible to the general public. Having a forward-looking budget forecast provides a reasonable understanding of future program and acquisition needs and the proportionate resources needed to execute the Department’s mission of protection and defense of the homeland, as well as emergency planning and response.

From the House FY 2015 Appropriations Report for DHS:

Consistent with section 874 of Public law 107–296, the Department shall submit a FYHSP as part of the fiscal year 2016 budget justification, reflecting anticipated spending for fiscal years 2016 through 2020. It shall be in unclassified form so as to be accessible to the public.

From the Senate FY 2015 Appropriations Report for DHS:

A statutory provision is included requiring the Secretary to submit a Future Years Homeland Security Program budget as part of the fiscal year 2016 budget justification. The report is to display funding by appropriation account and subordinate program, project, or activity. The report shall be in unclassified form so as to be accessible to the general public. Having a forward-looking budget forecast provides a reasonable understanding of future program and acquisition needs and the proportionate resources needed to execute the Department’s mission of protection and defense of the homeland, as well as emergency planning and response.

All four of these excerpts vary slightly in their language, but they all state clearly that both Appropriations Committees believe that the annual FYHSP report “shall be in unclassified form so as to be accessible to the general public.” But in spite of this crystal clear Congressional direction, the FYHSP reports from the last two years have not been released publicly on the DHS website, or anywhere else online to date.

In the interest of transparency and public accountability, and to respond fully to this Congressional direction, DHS should publicly release the FYHSP reports, without watering them down in any way due to this requirement, and starting with these two most recent reports as the Appropriations Committees had requested.


1 Comment

  1. Can you tell me which DHS component is responsible for producing the FYHSP?
    Many thanks

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