H.R. 4567 seeks to build on existing requirements for an updated strategy for Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) overseas footprint, while identifying barriers to information sharing and collaboration among DHS components and other partner entities.
Specifically, the bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to brief the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate on personnel with primary duties that take place outside the United States. Additionally, the bill requires the Secretary to submit a plan to enhance the effectiveness of personnel at foreign locations to the respective committees.
While the role of DHS personnel stationed overseas is critical to countering threats to the United States and building counterterror capacity among foreign partners, challenges remain in the Department’s ability to ensure individuals positioned overseas are effectively sharing information. This legislation provides necessary oversight to how DHS deploys personnel overseas to counter threats to the Homeland, ensures such positions are risk-based, and improves efforts to share information among DHS components, U.S. Government agencies, and international partners.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 30, 2018.
DHS Overseas Personnel Enhancement Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), by 90 days after the submission of the 3-year strategy for DHS international programs required under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and every 180 days thereafter, to brief the congressional homeland security committees on DHS personnel with primary duties that take place outside of the United States.
The briefing shall include:
a detailed summary of each type of personnel position with such duties and how each such position contributes to DHS's counterterrorism mission, information related to how the geographic and regional placement of such positions contributes to such mission, information related to the position-specific training received by such personnel before and during placement at a foreign location, challenges that may impede the communication of counterterrorism information between DHS personnel at foreign locations and DHS entities in the United States, the status of efforts to implement the three-year strategy for DHS international programs, and the status of efforts to implement a plan to enhance the effectiveness of DHS personnel at foreign locations. (Sec. 3) DHS shall submit to the congressional homeland security committees a plan to enhance the effectiveness of DHS personnel at foreign locations, which shall include proposals to:
improve efforts of DHS personnel for purposes of providing foreign partner capacity development and furthering DHS's counterterrorism mission; redeploy DHS personnel to respond to changing threats to the United States; enhance collaboration among DHS personnel at foreign locations, other federal personnel at foreign locations, and foreign partners; improve the communication of counterterrorism information between DHS personnel at foreign locations and DHS entities in the United States; and maintain practices to guard against counter-espionage threats associated with DHS personnel. (Sec. 4) The briefing requirement shall terminate four years after the submission of the three-year strategy for DHS international programs.