Homeland Security & Defense Business Council and Grant Thornton Unveil Second Annual Report on State of the Homeland Security Enterprise

Key Mission and Management Areas of Emphasis for New Administration

WASHINGTON--()--The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (Council) and Grant Thornton Public Sector jointly unveiled the second survey report as part of the five-year 20/20 Project on the Homeland Security Enterprise. Building off of the inaugural survey which established a baseline examination of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this report shifts focus to a mission-centric assessment of the broader Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE). The goal was to collect insights directly from leaders on those mission-focused programs and initiatives that work well, are not achieving their intended goals, or may warrant greater emphasis by the new administration.

“Our hope is that these findings will support a continued substantive dialogue between government officials and industry executives from the Homeland Security Enterprise, and help inform the incoming administration on what is working well and what could be improved,” Marc Pearl, Council President & CEO. “We look forward to continuing our work on this five-year Project and hosting National Conversations that address the processes and other essential tools needed to achieve mission success throughout the Enterprise.”

“With the current transition to a new administration, we are at a pivotal point for the Homeland Security Enterprise,” said Phil Kangas, Principal with Grant Thornton Public Sector and a leader of the survey team. “As the transition teams work to construct the leadership and policy priorities of the new administration, they should look to our findings as a key resource in understanding the unique challenges and accomplishments of those who work to protect our homeland every single day.”

Over the course of the fall of 2016, 102 government leaders and industry executives participated via five focus groups, more than a dozen in-person interviews and a web-based survey. Respondents include senior leaders of every DHS component, DHS Headquarters, Departments of State and Justice, Intelligence Community, state and local agencies, and executives from leading firms that support the HSE.

To help inform the new administration that will bring its own priorities, survey participants described a strong and maturing foundation to build on, including numerous examples of mission and management programs that they believe should continue and receive greater emphasis, as well as others that should be reconsidered.

The survey indicates key findings:

  • While the focus groups and interview participants each defined the HSE differently depending on their mission perspectives, all agreed it extends well beyond DHS.
  • Intra and interagency operations are integral to each homeland security mission. More progress can be made within and across DHS and at the interagency level—either mission-specific or cross-mission—such as a reinvigorated White House Homeland Security Council to provide renewed direction and coordination of policy and mission operations at the national level throughout the HSE.
  • Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s Unity of Effort initiative has been well received within DHS, particularly management initiatives such as the Joint Requirements Council. Numerous participants suggested that the new administration build on this initiative to continue the needed streamlining and integrated management and mission approach.
  • Overall management and oversight continue to mature and improve. There are numerous examples of excellent management practices across the HSE that should be acknowledged, examined, and replicated to continue the maturity of HSE management.
  • However, mission support activities continue to inhibit the ability to achieve mission, as reported by our focus groups and one hundred percent of online survey respondents.
  • The companies that comprise the Homeland Security Industrial Base are a significant part of the HSE, serving a valuable role that can take on many forms: innovators, thought leaders, facilitators, integrators, and solution providers of technology, services and products.

To read the survey report, please visit http://homelandcouncil.org/2020projectreport2016.pdf.

The 20/20 Project Report was released at the Council’s annual National Conversation event. Kevin McAleenan, Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Tom Atkin, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security; spoke at the event and provided their perspectives on the issues and challenges that will drive homeland security agenda moving forward.

About the Homeland Security & Business Defense Council

The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council is a not-for-profit, non-partisan membership organization comprised of senior executives and their subject matter experts from the leading large, mid-tier, and small companies that provide homeland security technology, product, and service solutions to our nation and around the world. Our mission is to bring government officials and their executive-level counterparts from industry together for an open, transparent and vital exchange of ideas and perspectives, so that we can jointly discuss the best ways to solve mission challenges. Learn more about the Council at www.homelandcouncil.org.

About Grant Thornton Public Sector

Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever tightening budgets and increased demand for services. We give clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, data analytics, and performance management. For more information, visit www.grantthornton.com/publicsector.


Homeland Security & Business Defense Council
Melissa Middlesworth, 202-470-6443



Homeland Security & Business Defense Council
Melissa Middlesworth, 202-470-6443