TRAC Examines Dept. of Homeland Security

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In a special report, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse uses the staffing of the Department of Homeland Security to analyze its operation and priorities.

As of March 2003, one in every twelve workers in the federal government — a total of 160,201 — was on the DHS payroll, TRAC reports.

Although the Department of Homeland Security is large, it is not the largest cabinet level agency. Currently bigger than the DHS are the Department of Defense with 654,990 non-uniformed employees and the Department of Veteran Affairs with 225,000. (Until the Treasury Department lost three of its of its major units in the recent government-wide reorganization, it ranked as the government’s third largest department.) Other departments in the same 100,000-employee range as DHS are the Agriculture Department, the Department of Justice and the now somewhat reduced Treasury Department. For a short time before the newly created Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was transferred to DHS, the Transportation Department also had over 100,000 employees.

The DHS, of course, is a totally new federal structure. But most of the people now working under Homeland Security Secretary Ridge are old hands. In fact, virtually all of DHS’s 160,000 employees already were on the federal payroll in other departments when on March 1 of this year their agencies were transferred to DHS.

According to an internal report by the Office of Personnel Management, the transfers included:

the Transportation Security Administration (66,998 employees),

the Immigration and Naturalization Service (35,761 employees),

the Customs Service (21,601 employees),

the Federal Emergency Management Agency (8,292 employees),

the U.S. Coast Guard (6,171 civilian employees), and

the Secret Service (5,929 employees).

A sizeable number of employees were also drawn from three other federal agencies: the Office of the Secretary of HHS (5,826), the Import & Entry Inspection functions of the Animal Plant and Health Inspections Service of the Department of Agriculture (2,160 employees), and the Federal Protective Service (for public buildings) of the General Services Administration (1,175 employees). The balance of DHS employees came from more than a dozen other smaller federal offices.


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