THE DHS ACQUISITION WORKFORCE: THE THREAT'S NOT LEAVING, WHY ARE YOU?
Dumais, Wayne A.
Brown, Shannon A.
Jones, Raymond D.
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To mitigate threats to our nation, homeland security operators depend on the acquisition workforce in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop, field, and sustain the technologies that help them accomplish their mission. Instability in the acquisition workforce can delay readiness of those technologies, giving adversaries a distinct advantage. This study defines the acquisition workforce, establishes a benchmark for instability, and determines whether the DHS acquisition workforce is unstable. The study uses data from DHS, industry, and other government sources to determine attrition rates and the primary causes leading to attrition during the last five years. Overlaying additional data, the study includes a comparative analysis and trend identification, and discusses staffing requirements, shortages, time to deliver an initial operational capability, and time to hire as critical contributors to instability. The results show that, based on the established benchmark, the acquisition workforce is stable; however, the same methodology applied at the component level shows that two DHS components are unstable. Finally, the thesis presents simple recommendations, such as establishing career models for the acquisition workforce, as well as more complex ways forward, such as consolidating the acquisition workforce.
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