Chip Fulghum, deputy under secretary for management at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will depart the agency this summer, according to statements from leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee issued today in connection with a subcommittee hearing to review the Trump administration’s FY2020 budget proposal for DHS’ Management Directorate.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the full committee, thanked Fulghum in a statement for his “extraordinary service” to DHS over the past six-plus years. Fulghum assumed his current title in 2015.

Rep. Thompson also bemoaned the impact of Fulghum’s departure, saying, “I would be remiss however to not express my concern regarding what Mr. Fulghum’s departure means for the direction of the Department. The Deputy Under Secretary for Management (USM) alongside of the USM, oversees all aspects of the Department’s management programs, including financial, human capital, information technology, procurement, security, and asset management.”

“The current USM, Ms. Claire Grady, is also performing the duties of the Department’s number two official–the Deputy Secretary. DHS has been without a Deputy Secretary for a year now–and no nominee has been named for the position. Without a Deputy Secretary and with a departing Deputy USM, I am genuinely concerned about the day-to-day management of the Department. These vacancies undoubtedly hamper the Department’s ability to run effectively and efficiently. I urge the President to quickly nominate a Deputy Secretary and hope that someone as committed as Mr. Fulghum will soon be appointed to fill his shoes.”

Rep. Xochtil Torres Small, D-N.M., chairwoman of the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee, also thanked Fulghum for his service, and said his departure “speaks to the challenges the Department continues to face in terms of unity, vision, and morale.

Elsewhere during today’s subcommittee hearing, Thompson in a written statement hammered DHS for its failure to deliver a required updated of its Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR).

Thompson said the most recent QHSR was due in December 2017, and lamented that 15 months later, “the Trump administration has yet to supply Congress with its vision and priorities” for DHS. He quoted DHS as saying it expects to issue the report early in 2019, and that the document would help support DHS’ FY2020 budget request.

“Yet, we still do not have the QHSR,” Thompson said. “While the Management Directorate is not specifically responsible for drafting the QHSR, I am unsure what was used to formulate DHS’ budget proposal in its absence. I sincerely hope that the QHSR is delivered before the Full Committee hearing on the overall Department budget request with Secretary Nielsen next month.”

Regarding individual budget lines, Thompson said he hoped DHS would use “a decent portion” of its requested $126 million in funding for the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer to fund efforts to improve employee morale at DHS, and to increase diversity in the agency’s workforce.

In his testimony, Fulghum noted several technology-related items in the FY2020 budget request including $120 million for financial systems modernization, which he said will pay for “ongoing work to improve systematic internal controls, standardize business processes, strengthen cybersecurity, maintain audit sustainability, and provide accurate and timely financial reporting.”

He said another $10 million requested would pay for better human resource IT, and that an $11 million request would fund work on a Cyber Management Talent System (CMTS) “to create a new personnel system that will provide the cyber workforce this country needs through an update of the current classification system.” He said the CMTS will “position DHS to compete for top talent in the ever-changing field of cybersecurity, likely serving as a model for future civil service reform.”

Read More About
More Topics
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.