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Columnist: Ego and Low Morale Hurting Dept. of Homeland Security

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano- Will She Change the Agency?
DHS Chief Janet Napolitano- Will She Change the Agency?

By Douglas Doan
Security DeBrief Guest Columnist

The ancients believed that the sin of Pride was the most serious of the seven deadly sins, and would have little trouble seeing the havoc caused by the sin of pride at DHS. Pride (back to Sunday school for moment) was defined as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self. The Sin of Pride is the most corrosive problem within DHS, causing a multitude of challenges and throttling performance. Here are three examples:

• Innovation has been stifled. All organizations struggle to be more innovative and finding better solutions to systemic problems, but DHS has actively opposed innovation. Indeed, the most creative efforts are almost always squashed by a culture of “not invented here”. “Not invented here” is a prideful ideology that values no other opinion than one’s own.

• Morale in DHS is lowest in Government: As a direct result of the “not invented here ” culture and the singular inability of senior management to encourage and reward innovative solutions from the rank and file, employee morale at DHS is, consistently, the lowest in the federal government. DHS employees quickly understand that management does not welcome new ideas. External input is not sought, desired, or welcome.

• DHS is unable to retain federal border agents. The government loses approximately 12% of federal border officers annually.

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