Department of Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security

DHS Needs to Comprehensively Assess Its Foreign Language Needs and Capabilities and Identify Shortfalls : Report to the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate

Downloadable Audiobook - 2010
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a variety of responsibilities that utilize foreign language capabilities, including investigating transnational criminal activity and staffing ports of entry into the United States. GAO was asked to study foreign language capabilities at DHS. GAO's analysis focused on actions taken by DHS in three of its largest components, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Specifically, this report addresses the extent to which DHS has (1) assessed its foreign language needs and existing capabilities and identified any potential shortfalls and (2) developed foreign language programs and activities to address potential foreign language shortfalls. GAO analyzed DHS documentation on foreign language capabilities, interviewed DHS officials, and assessed workforce planning in three components that were selected to ensure broad representation of law enforcement and intelligence operations. While the results are not projectable, they provide valuable insights. GAO recommends that DHS comprehensively assess its foreign language needs and capabilities and identify potential shortfalls, assess the extent to which existing foreign language programs are addressing foreign language shortfalls, and ensure that these assessments are incorporated into future strategic planning. DHS generally concurs with the recommendations.


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