In March 2009, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the Efficiency Review, a Department-wide initiative to reduce costs, streamline processes, increase accountability and transparency, and provide enhanced customer service by improving the Department’s operations. Through ongoing collaboration with all DHS component agencies, the DHS Efficiency Review has implemented 45 initiatives. These initiatives have enabled the Department to identify more than $4 billion in cost avoidances, including items in the areas of physical assets, personnel, and day-to-day expenditures.
The focus of the DHS Efficiency Review is to improve efficiency and streamline decision-making from the bottom-up and the top-down, implementing changes that individually may result in relatively small efficiency improvements, but collectively are expected to result in greater efficiency gains. The results show that little changes can make a big difference. For instance:
- The DHS Efficiency Review has identified over $7 million in cost avoidances by using government space and online meeting tools rather than renting private facilities.
- The DHS Efficiency Review has avoided an additional $7-plus million by accessing publications online and consolidating subscriptions.
- The DHS Efficiency Review has also identified significant cost avoidances by changing the way the Department buys commonly used items, such as office equipment and supplies, software licenses, and uniforms. By leveraging the purchasing power of the Department, the DHS Efficiency Review expects to save more than $407 million over the next five years.
- The DHS Efficiency Review has improved how the Department manages its assets and resources. For instance:
- We now conduct annual audits of cell phones and BlackBerrys, avoiding more than $18 million in costs by disconnecting devices are no longer in use.
- We’ve also avoided costs of $21 million by redeploying excess IT equipment, such as servers and computers, throughout the Department instead of buying new equipment.
- The DHS Efficiency Review also improved the management of resources that directly support mission-critical activities. The DHS Efficiency Review optimized the Department’s motor vehicle fleet, and has begun transitioning the fleet to hybrid vehicles. This has led to more than $93 million in cost avoidances since 2009.
The DHS Efficiency Review’s success is based on two key factors: (1) strong commitment by senior leadership across the Department and (2) involvement of all employees, from senior managers to frontline personnel, in the process. As part of the DHS Efficiency Review effort, there is a mechanism for employees to submit their efficiency ideas, similar to the President’s SAVE Award. We implement the top ideas DHS-wide. DHS has institutionalized its Efficiency Review process by standing up an Office of Efficiency Review with dedicated staff to underscore the importance of this program and ensure it has the resources it needs to succeed.
In September 2011, Vice President Biden recognized the DHS Efficiency Review as a model effort for other federal agencies. In addition, the Government Accountability Office has reviewed the DHS Efficiency Review favorably and identified a number of DHS Efficiency Review practices as model practices government-wide.