Securing the Homeland through Improved Collaboration and Engagement

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This is the inaugural survey of the five-year 20/20 Project on the Homeland Security Enterprise, sponsored and led by the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council (the Council) and Grant Thornton Public Sector.

This inaugural survey presents a snapshot of the current state of the homeland security enterprise and establishes a baseline for use in assessing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operations, from front-line activities to mission support functions. This initial survey does not answer broad or deep organizational process questions, but rather is a conversation starter. The survey’s value is to gain insights from DHS and industry participants that provide more than anecdotal observations. The survey and the analysis in the report capture progress made since DHS’s establishment and assess the Department’s ability to confront challenges in the future.

Over the course of the summer and early fall of 2015, 67 DHS leaders and industry executives participated via in-person interviews and web-based surveys. Respondents include senior leaders of every DHS component, DHS headquarters, and executives from leading firms that support the homeland security enterprise.

As we assessed the many interviews and responses, some trends became apparent:
  • Threats and challenges to DHS mission accomplishment are complex and changing at a rapid pace. There is general consensus between industry and government that risks related to cyber attacks and lone-wolf, homegrown terrorism present significant threats.
  • Broad support exists for unity of effort as a concept, but fewer see direct application to their immediate organizational units. Work remains to clarify and operationalize broader application of this initiative.
  • Management and operations have vastly improved since the Department’s establishment. The challenges have shifted from an uncertainty of mission to those of a maturing organization focused on breaking down barriers, increasing efficiencies, and improving coordination.
  • While progress has been made, the vast majority of respondents think management challenges are inhibiting the mission.

Other topics discussed include:
  • Unity of Effort
  • Internal Operations
  • Workforce
  • Industry Engagement

Read the full 2015 Homeland Security Executive Survey