Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the Department of Homeland Security blog
Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order entitled “Promoting Efficient Spending” as part of the administration-wide Campaign to Cut Waste. I am proud that one of our DHS colleagues, Celeste Steele, from the Management Directorate, was able to join the President as he highlighted the Administration’s efforts to more effectively and efficiently use taxpayer dollars, including through the DHS Efficiency Review, which Vice President Biden recently highlighted as a model effort for other agencies.
Celeste, a DHS employee since 2004, with more than 30 years of federal experience, is committed to cutting costs and finding efficiencies in her day-to-day work. “I try to find better ways of doing things every day. I am always looking for innovative value added solutions that will save taxpayer money. Efficiency and cutting costs is what drives me,” says Celeste.
In response to the ThinkEfficiency Campaign, in which DHS employees provide suggestions on ways the Department can avoid costs, streamline processes, and improve customer service, Celeste proposed that rather than using multiple smaller contracts, DHS leverage the purchasing power of the entire Department for commonly used items such as intelligence services, fleet management, and aviation parts, which will save the Department tens of millions of dollars. Building on this idea, as part of the DHS-wide Efficiency Review, we now look to leverage the Department’s buying power on many other commonly-used items, such as office equipment and uniforms which will save the department more than $370 million over the next five years.
Through the Efficiency Review, other Department-wide efforts, and component initiatives, DHS has identified more than $1 billion in cost avoidances and implemented 36 efficiency initiatives across the agency. Behind each of these initiatives are the employees like Celeste from across DHS who propose efficiency ideas, implement them, and fundamentally change the way the federal government operates.