Newly offered legislation in the Senate (S-2359) would permanently authorize the Joint Requirements Council within DHS to coordinate on identified needs among the department’s components to avoid duplicative or other wasteful purchases.

Sponsor Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that DHS spent $33 billion in fiscal 2017 on contractual services and supplies as well as acquisition of assets. She cited as an example of the need for such coordination an IG report finding that CBP and the Coast Guard had separately contracted for similar upgrades to helicopters, missing a potential saving of $126 million.

The council was initially established in 2003 but never became fully operational until it wa reestablished in 2014, she said. “Since then, both the Government Accountability Office and DHS inspector general have found that the council plays a key role in improving agency purchases and reducing duplication and other waste,” she said.