WASHINGTON – The completion of a consolidated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters project at the St. Elizabeths West campus would save taxpayers $1.2 billion dollars over 30 years and enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s coordinated national security efforts according to a new report released by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The full report, released today, can be found here: “DHS Headquarters Consolidation at St. Elizabeths: Better Results for Less Money.”
“The headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeths is crucial to the success of the department and to realizing the unified, cohesive DHS envisioned by Congress when it created the department 14 years ago,” said Senator Carper. “Bringing together key leadership and agency personnel in one, centralized location is critical to supporting DHS’s mission, reducing management challenges, and making the department’s operations more efficient. Bringing together multiple DHS entities on one campus will enhance national security and allow for a swift, coordinated response across the department when emergencies occur. It will also save taxpayers $1.2 billion over the next 30 years, which cannot be overlooked.”
Carper continued, “Completion of the St. Elizabeths campus makes good financial and managerial sense and will build on recent efforts, including provisions passed in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, to help make the department more than just the sum of its parts. Given its importance to the safety and security of all Americans, the completion of the St. Elizabeths consolidation project must remain a priority in the coming years for both Congress and the Administration.”
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, which pulled together 22 different agencies to form the Department of Homeland Security in order to foster a more unified and coordinated effort to defend our homeland. In 2006, the Bush administration proposed consolidating more than 50 DHS offices, many onto the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast Washington, D.C. Construction began in 2009 but has significantly slowed in the face of inconsistent and inadequate funding from Congress.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request fully supports timely completion of the St. Elizabeths project and includes $225.6 million for DHS and $266.6 for GSA to construct a new federally-owned headquarters for FEMA, as well as renovate the Center Building Complex buildings, which would house additional leadership staff. To date, St. Elizabeths has received nearly two-thirds of the total funding needed and requires only three years of additional funding, including FY 2017 funding, to be finished. If fully funded, the project will be completed in 2021. The delays associated with failure to fully fund the project in FY 2017 will force the government to pay roughly $70 million in unnecessary expenses which would not be incurred if the construction was funded so it could remain on schedule.
Specifically, the report released today recommends:
Ø Congress should fully fund the Fiscal Year 2017 President’s budget request.
Ø If Congress is not able to fully fund the project in Fiscal Year 2017 or if the federal government remains under a Continuing Resolution, DHS and GSA should be provided maximum flexibility to make the most efficient use of the funding provided.
Ø The new Administration should make sure finishing DHS’s headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeths remains one of the highest construction priorities given how the project will improve the Department’s ability to accomplish its mission and save taxpayer money in the long run.
You can read the full report here: “DHS Headquarters Consolidation at St. Elizabeths: Better Results for Less Money.”