What is the Inspector General’s mission?
According to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, the Inspector General’s mission is to:
- Conduct independent and objective audits and investigations relating to DHS programs and operations
- Promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in DHS programs and operations
- Prevent and detect waste, fraud and abuse
- Keep the Secretary of DHS and Congress fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies in DHS programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action.
How do I report waste, fraud, or abuse in DHS programs or operations to the Inspector General?
You may report allegations to the OIG Hotline via online form, by phone at 1 800-323-8603, or by U.S. Mail:
DHS Office of Inspector General/MAIL STOP 0305
Attn: Office of Investigations - HOTLINE
245 Murray Lane SW Washington, DC 20528-0305
For more information about our Hotline and the types of allegations that should be reported, please see our Hotline Home Page.
How is the Inspector General appointed? What qualifications are required? How can the Inspector General be removed?
At DHS and other Cabinet-level departments, the President nominates the Inspector General and the Senate must confirm the nomination.
According to the Inspector General Act, Inspectors General are appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations.
The DHS Inspector General and other Cabinet-level Inspectors General can only be removed by the President, after advance notice to both Houses of Congress.
Who is the current DHS Inspector General?
The role of Inspector General is currently filled by Acting Inspector General Jennifer L. Costello. You can read more about her here. Former Acting Inspector General John V. Kelly retired on June 10, 2019.
Who does the Inspector General report to?
According to the Inspector General Act, the Inspector General serves under the general supervision of the DHS Secretary and has a dual and independent reporting relationship to the Secretary and the Congress.
How is the Office of Inspector General different from other DHS components?
DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is an independent and objective audit, inspection, and investigative body. While part of the Department of Homeland Security, the OIG is also independent of the Department. The OIG does not have an operational role related to a specific homeland security mission, such as border or transportation security. Rather, the OIG performs oversight of the DHS components by conducting audits, investigations, inspections, and other reviews. The OIG makes recommendations to improve the programs and operations of DHS.
What are the divisions within the DHS Office of Inspector General?
The Office of Inspector General has ten divisions, or Program Offices, responsible for oversight of DHS:
- Executive Office
- Office of Audits
- Office of Investigations
- Office of Inspections & Evaluations
- Office of Information Technology Audits
- Office of Integrity & Quality Oversight
- Office of Counsel
- Office of Management
- Office of External Affairs
What is an audit?
An audit is a methodical examination of a business, government program, or financial records. The DHS Office of Inspector General conducts audits of DHS management and financial operations. Auditors examine the methods employed by DHS, components, grantees, and contractors in carrying out essential programs and activities. Audits evaluate whether established goals and objectives are achieved and resources are used economically and efficiency; whether intended and realized results are consistent with laws, regulations, and good business practice; and whether financial accountability is achieved and the Department’s financial statements are not materially misstated.
Audits are conducted in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS).
There are two offices within the DHS Office of Inspector General that conduct audits of DHS programs and operations: the Office of Audits and the Office of Information Technology Audits.
What is an inspection or evaluation?
An inspection is an independent review and assessment of DHS programs, results, and/or resource management. Inspections can be very narrowly focused, looking at a single transaction within a large system or can look at overall system controls. Inspections are designed to provide information to decision makers in a timely manner. Evaluations take a broader, multi-disciplinary approach to reviewing and assessing DHS programs, results, resource management and policies. Inspections typically include well-defined criteria, while evaluations require more in-depth analysis and professional judgment. Both review types are designed to be flexible and to result in reports that provide meaningful and persuasive information and recommendations.
The Office of Inspections and Evaluations is the lead OIG office for reporting on DHS intelligence, international affairs, civil rights and civil liberties, and science and technology.
How long does an audit, inspection, or evaluation take?
While it depends on the individual project, we generally issue our final audit, inspection, and evaluation reports within a year after the initiation date.
Between October 1, 2014 and July 31, 2015, the DHS OIG issued 93% of its draft reports and 79% of its final reports in 12 months or less.
After we decide to perform an audit or inspection, we generally follow this process:*
- Issue an announcement memo to DHS and/or the DHS Component being audited or reviewed;
- Hold an entrance conference;
- Conduct fieldwork;
- Hold an exit conference;
- Prepare draft report;
- Issue draft report to DHS and/or DHS Component – response due from DHS within 30 days;
- Prepare and issue a final report to the Department;
- Distribute final report to Congress and release publicly on the website; and
- Recommendation follow-up and close-out.
*Processes vary slightly among DHS OIG Program Offices. For example, our Office of Inspections and Evaluations prepares the draft report before holding the exit conference. Our Office of Emergency Management Oversight does not issue draft reports and allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency 90 days to respond to final reports.
How do I find a recently issued audit or inspection report?
All final DHS OIG audit and inspection reports are available on our website.
Are ongoing DHS OIG audits and inspections announced to the public?
Yes. DHS OIG publishes an Ongoing Projects list of all current projects. It can be accessed under the "Reports" menu option. The list is updated monthly.
How are audits, inspections, and evaluations selected?
Some reviews of DHS Components and programs are required by law. Others are requested by important stakeholders such as Congress or the DHS Secretary. Finally, we also set our own priorities for audits, inspections, and evaluations weighing issues such as risk, the past experience of the Department and Components, the cost to the U.S. taxpayer, and impact to the DHS mission.
Each year, we create an Annual Performance Plan outlining our planned audits, inspections, and evaluations for the year. During the year, we adjust our plan to add reviews based on new issues and requests and remove items that cannot be started due to lack of resources.
What type of work does the Office of Investigations conduct?
The Office of Investigations investigates allegations of criminal, civil, and administrative misconduct involving DHS employees, contractors, grantees, and programs. These investigations can result in criminal prosecutions, fines, civil monetary penalties, administrative sanctions, and personnel actions. Additionally, the Office of Investigations monitors the investigative activity of DHS’ various internal affairs offices.
DHS Office of Inspector General investigators have statutory law enforcement authority, including the power to make arrests, execute warrants, and carry firearms.
Investigators prepare a Report of Investigation (ROI) regarding the findings in each case. If there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the investigators work with federal or state prosecutors as appropriate. If an investigation shows evidence of administrative wrongdoing on the part of a DHS employee, the ROI is presented to the Department which will take whatever personnel action it deems appropriate.
What is CIGIE?
The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) was established by the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 to be an independent entity within the Executive Branch to:
address integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues that transcend individual government agencies; and
increase the professionalism and effectiveness of personnel by developing policies, standards, and approaches to aid in the establishment of a well-trained and highly skilled workforce in the offices of Inspector General.
For more information about CIGIE, please see its website.