Federal Manager's Daily Report

A DHS contract aimed at addressing recruitment issues in DHS components could result in spending some $40,000 per individual hired after the firm took over the preliminary work, according to Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

GAO and others have pointed to recruitment shortfalls at Customs and Border Protection and the Border Patrol, in light of the difficulties that law enforcement positions in those agencies involve such as remote and dangerous assignments. The result has been a high number of vacancies at a time when the administration is additionally seeking to boost employment at both.

The CBP currently employs some 43,000 agents and officers but has more than 8,000 vacancies, she said, adding that border patrol staffing is decreasing as attrition is outstripping the hiring rate.

She asked DHS for details of, and the reasoning behind, a contract worth nearly $300 million to a recruiting firm to support hiring activities including testing, suitability screening and process improvements. Given the hiring projections, the cost would amount to about $40,000 per individual–about the same as a year’s salary for an entry-level position–and even that would not cover the full cost of hiring since DHS still would be responsible for final adjudication in the various stages of the process.