Rogers Opening Statement at DHS Vacancies Hearing

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on DHS vacancies and mismanagement.

Before we start, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the lives lost in the recent terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka and on Passover in San Diego.  Places of worship should be sanctuaries where people, regardless of faith, can worship without fear.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on ways to stop these despicable acts.     

Mr. Chairman, I’m glad that you called this hearing today. Management vacancies, mismanagement, and poor employee morale have plagued the Department of Homeland Security since it was created. 

Today, 17 DHS leadership positions lack a permanent leader.  In 2013, during the Obama Administration, when 18 leadership positions lacked permanent leaders, then Chairman McCaul convened a hearing to examine the issue.

At that hearing, then Ranking Member Thompson –

  • blamed an obstructive Senate minority for holding up key appointments;
  • questioned how the morale of 240,000 employees could be adversely affected by leadership positions being filled by acting personnel; and
  • strenuously argued that the best way to fix the morale problem at DHS was for Congress to act to reform the organizational structure of the Department.

Nearly six years since that hearing, Chairman Thompson’s statement stills hold true.  To truly address the ongoing problems with poor employee retention and morale, Congress must act to fix the Department’s organization and structure. 

I hope we can come together to enact a meaningful authorization bill that unifies the Department and provides its employees with the funding, authorities, training, and equipment they need. 

In the interim, I would implore Members of Congress to stop vilifying DHS employees for doing their jobs and calling for the elimination of their agencies.  I am very concerned about the impact these statements have on employee morale.

Every day, DHS employees do an exceptional job carrying out their critical missions.  No one should blame the men and women of DHS for problems Congress has allowed to fester. 

I look forward to working with the Chairman on a DHS authorization bill and I thank him again for convening this hearing.

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Contact: Nicole Hager

202-226-8417

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