The Need for Modernized Financial Systems and Budget Flexibility has Never Been Greater

By Chip Fulghum

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DHS has made great strides the last 10 years modernizing their financial system and improving the budget process. Simplifying the appropriation structure from 76 to 4 was foundational to maturing the resourcing process at DHS and is proof positive that when DHS components, the CFO and other Management offices, OMB and the Congressional staff work together much can be accomplished. This streamlined structure led to simplified execution reporting, data consistency, and better analysis across the department.   


When combined with the department’s financial system modernization efforts, DHS will be poised to get even more return on each taxpayer dollar spentDHS must stay the course with financial system modernization and get its remaining components on the modernized platform. The Department has proven it can deliver on the promise of a modernized system when TSA went live on schedule and on budget late last year.  USCG is the next to get a modern system. While this is the most complex undertaking for the department yet, I am confident a modern, secure, and integrated finance, procurement, and asset system for USCG will become a reality given the strong USCG leadership, in close coordination with the DHS Acting CFO, the CIO, CPO, and their industry partnersFEMA and ICE will follow to move to modern systemand with contracts in place or planned in the near future will complete the nearly 15 year financial system modernization effort for the department. 


Next, I believe the department must turn its attention to working with OMB and the Congress to obtain relief surrounding the current rules around reprogramming. The Secretary must have the flexibility to respond to emergent crises such as the current situation on the border in real time. The current process for shifting money around is cumbersome and time consuming. The Department should work with OMB and the Congress to develop a more streamlined approach that allows the Secretary to quickly respond while keeping the Congress informed. Ultimately the power of the purse belongs to Congress and that must remain intact while at the same time allowing the Department the flexibility it needs to meet emerging mission needs.  I urge the them to work together.  

Chip Fulghum formerly served as DHS CFO and Deputy Undersecretary for Management and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Endeavors. 

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