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Vacancy Report Finds Homeland Security and Continuity of Government at Risk

July 9, 2007 – Today, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, identified in a staff report that nearly one quarter of the senior leadership positions located in the Department of Homeland Security are vacant. The overall senior leadership vacancies, termed “executive resources,” total 24%, and refer to positions in the highest salary bands (including political appointments) of the Federal government.

In addition to the critical leadership vacancies, the report finds that an unusually high number of critical national security jobs at the Department of Homeland Security are filled by political appointees. This identifies an enormous security vulnerability should an attack or disaster occur during the upcoming presidential transition.

“Homeland Security was bruised when the country learned that Michael Brown, an Arabian horse aficionado, was running FEMA. But what’s worse than a Homeland Security organization with poor leadership is a homeland security organization with no leadership,” commented Rep. Thompson. “Not just a national security concern, DHS’s lack of leadership has triggered record-low employee morale, an immeasurable disservice to the hundreds of thousands of men and woman working on the front lines to protect our country,” added Rep. Thompson.

Breaking down the numbers:

• As of May 1, 2007 there were 575 “executive resource” positions at DHS. 138 of these were vacant (24%).

• These vacancies can be found throughout the Department in a number of critical components and administrative functions. Just a few examples:

• 48% leadership vacancies at the Asst. Sec. for Policy (11 of 23 leadership slots vacant).
• 47% leadership vacancies at the Office of Gen. Counsel (9 of 19 leadership slots vacant).
• 36% leadership vacancies at the Asst. Sec. for Intelligence (8 of 22 leadership slots vacant).
• 34% leadership vacancies at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (16 of 47 slots vacant).
• 31% leadership vacancies at FEMA (24 of 77 vacant).
• 31% leadership vacancies at ICE (19 of 62 vacant).
• 29% leadership vacancies at the Coast Guard (4 of 14 slots vacant).

A link to report is below

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Please contact Dena Graziano or Todd Levett at (202) 225-9978.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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