Crenshaw Opening Statement at Diverse and Workforce Hearing

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Oversight and Management Accountability Subcommittee ranking member, today delivered the following opening statement at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce to Meet the Homeland Security Mission.”

Thank you, Chairwoman Torres-Small.

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss diversity at the Department of Homeland Security. As we all know, the more than 200,000 people that work at DHS carry out a wide-ranging and increasingly difficult mission to protect Americans and our way of life. It is their dedication to protecting the homeland and the American people that drives the success of DHS as a whole. It is for that reason, that we must continue to ensure the DHS workforce is prepared for the job at hand.

America is a diverse country and American citizens have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. DHS has stated that to perform its mission well, it must rely on a workforce as diverse as our country itself. DHS has put in place many initiatives and programs to accomplish that goal.

Fostering a sense of inclusion within DHS helps the agency promote collaboration, creativity and innovation, high performance. This helps detect blind spots, empowers employees to lead and trust their teammates, and foster a devotion to the mission of DHS.

Since its creation in 2003, DHS has come a long way in fostering a diverse workforce that includes strong representative populations from all minority groups, as well as women and veterans. As of January 2020, the DHS workforce was made up of 22% Hispanic or Latino, 16% Black or African American, and 8% American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Of the nearly 200,000 employees, 35% are women and more than 25% are veterans.

Current efforts at DHS – like developing robust internship programs, recruiting at minority serving institutions, and veterans hiring initiatives will all help in continuing this progress, especially at Senior Executive Services level. I look forward to hearing more about recruitment efforts and how the Department is working to promote diversity throughout its policies from the Chief Human Capitol Officer.

The policies and procedures at DHS are also a part of a holistic approach to diversity at DHS. The Government Accountability office has reviewed how DHS manages equal employment opportunity policies that include training, leadership development, and other efforts to create an inclusive workplace. Their review included six recommendations to DHS, and DHS concurred with all six. The implementation process for these recommendations at DHS is currently underway and I look forward to discussing the progress today.

Diversity in the workforce can help DHS with its underlying mission of protecting Americans. Congress has an important role to play in ensuring DHS has the tools its needs to meet this goal. But we must also recognize that painting DHS employees as bad people, uncaring, or saying that the department should be dissolved altogether, is counter to this goal. Mean-spirited politics and demonization of the DHS workforce undermines the goal of hiring a more diverse workforce. I hope that we can work together, productively, to identify opportunities for improvement across DHS’ efforts at today’s hearing. I yield back my time.

 

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