Inspector general: Homeland Security spent millions on underused vehicles

The Department of Homeland Security spent at least $35 million in 2012 on vehicles that the agency rarely used, according to federal auditors.

The DHS inspector general’s office said in a report this week that the department lacks a centralized management system for its 56,000 owned and leased vehicles, the second-largest civilian fleet in the federal government.

“DHS cannot ensure its vehicle fleet composition is cost-efficient, complies with department requirements and has the correct number of motor vehicles to accomplish its mission,” the report concluded.


The U.S. Border Patrol is one of the agencies that falls under the Department of Homeland Security. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

President Obama issued a memorandum in 2011 directing all federal agencies to reduce their fleet sizes and justify the need for retaining vehicles that they drive fewer than 12,000 miles annually.

In a sample of 753 vehicles from three DHS components, auditors found that nearly 60 percent were underused in fiscal 2012 under the definition laid out in Obama’s memo, and that the department kept nearly 90 percent of those underused vehicles in 2013 without offering an explanation.

The inspector general’s office recommended that DHS develop and implement a centralized system for managing its the entire fleet and expanding the fleet manager’s authority. The agency agreed with the suggestions and said it will make the changes by 2015.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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