WASHINGTON – A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators introduced bills in the House and Senate Thursday to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government’s national and homeland security missions by encouraging the government-wide integration of Executive Branch employees working in those areas. 

      The Interagency Personnel Rotation Act of 2011, S.1268 and H.2314, would promote the rotation of certain homeland and national security employees to continue the important work of breaking down government stovepipes and eliminating communications roadblocks.

      Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii introduced legislation in the Senate. Representatives Geoff Davis, R-Ky., and John Tierney, D-Mass., introduced a companion bill in the House.

      Lieberman said: “The national security and homeland security challenges our nation faces in the 21st Century are far more complex than those of the last century.  Threats such as terrorism, nuclear and biological weapons proliferation, insurgencies, failed states, and organized crime know no borders and are beyond the capability of any single agency of our government. Our government needs to integrate all instruments of national power – including military, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, foreign aid, homeland security, and public health – to counter these threats. By promoting greater understanding among the professionals who dedicate their careers to our security, that’s what our bill would help us do.”

      Collins said: “In an ever-more complicated national security and homeland security environment, data and knowledge are now being shared across what had been bureaucratic silos.  But our government needs to constantly look for ways to increase its efficiency and effectiveness.  Based on the experience of the Department of Defense in promoting “jointness,” I believe a key way to strengthen our capabilities across the government is for personnel to do rotational assignments in different agencies to share expertise and best practices so that we capitalize on the knowledge of the best and brightest minds.” 

      Akaka said: “Our country faces complex threats to its national security.  This bill enhances the government’s ability to respond to those threats by establishing a framework for information and expertise sharing between agencies and departments.”

      Davis said: “The Interagency Personnel Rotation Act is an important step toward reforming our hamstrung national security interagency process. This legislation provides for greater collaboration and professional development of those critical to our security so that these personnel will be able to more effectively participate in the planning and execution of national security interagency operations when the need arises.  I am proud to join with Congressman John Tierney as well as Senators Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins and Daniel Akaka to introduce this bipartisan and bicameral bill that will help national security professionals work together to keep America safe.”

      Tierney said: “The lack of coordination across our national security agencies is a troubling and potentially dangerous issue that must be addressed,” said Congressman John Tierney (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. “When it comes to protecting our country, we must look past the politics and partisanship, and I am proud to join a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Geoff Davis and Sens. Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Daniel Akaka, on the Interagency Personnel Rotation Act to ensure that our government works in a coordinated manner to defend our homeland and strengthen our national security.”