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                                                      Calendar No. 201
116th Congress     }                                     {      Report
 1st Session       }                                     {      116-97




                              R E P O R T

                                 of the


                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                               H.R. 2590



               September 10, 2019.--Ordered to be printed 

89-010 *(Star Print)      WASHINGTON : 2019 

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                   Joseph C. Folio III, Chief Counsel
            Christopher S. Boness, Professional Staff Member
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
   Christopher J. Mulkins, Minority Senior Professional Staff Member
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk

                                                      Calendar No. 201
116th Congress     }                                     {      Report
 1st Session       }                                     {      116-97



               September 10, 2019.--Ordered to be printed


 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2590]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H.R. 2590) to require 
a Department of Homeland Security overseas personnel 
enhancement plan, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment (in the 
nature of a substitute) and recommends that the bill, as 
amended, do pass.


  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................5
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................5
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................6
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................6
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Act, as Reported.............7

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 2590, the DHS Overseas Personnel Enhancement Act of 
2019, requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the 
Department) to provide Congress with a briefing within 90 days 
of submitting its comprehensive multi-year strategy on DHS's 
overseas personnel deployments, and annually thereafter. Among 
other things, DHS is required to brief Congress on any barriers 
impeding information sharing and collaboration across DHS 
components and stakeholder entities to advance its mission. 
Within 90 days of the first overseas personnel briefing, the 
Act requires the Department to submit to Congress a plan to 
improve the effectiveness of personnel located at foreign 
    \1\On June 13, 2018, the Committee approved H.R. 4567, DHS Overseas 
Personnel Enhancement Act of 2017. That bill is substantially similar 
to H.R. 2590. Accordingly, this committee report is in large part a 
reproduction of Chairman Johnson's committee report for H.R. 4567, S. 
Rept. 115-308 (115th Cong.).


    Protecting the homeland against threats posed by 
international terrorist groups and transnational criminal 
organizations requires efficient and effective management of 
the nation's homeland security resources. Because many threats 
to the homeland originate overseas, DHS works closely with 
international partners and deploys personnel and resources to 
foreign locations to interdict potential security threats at 
the earliest possible point.\2\ DHS overseas personnel are 
often responsible for sharing information with foreign and 
domestic partners and establishing collaborations with foreign 
allies to prevent the spread of terrorist and other criminal 
activity to the homeland.\3\ As of December 2017, the 
Department deployed an estimated 2,000 personnel to over 70 
    \2\The Office of International Engagement, Dep't of Homeland Sec. 
(July 24, 2018),; 
International Engagement, Dep't of Homeland Sec.,
topic/international-engagement; U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-
17-216, Border Security: CBP Aims to Prevent High-Risk Travelers from 
Boarding U.S.-Bound Flights but Needs to Evaluate Program 
Performance,1, (Jan. 2017), available at
    \3\International Engagement, supra note 2.
    \4\Ron Nixon, Homeland Security Goes Abroad. Not Everyone is 
Grateful., N.Y. Times (Dec. 26, 2017), available at https://
    The Department's global reach advances its mission by 
preventing nefarious actors from entering the country.\5\ While 
stationed overseas, DHS personnel engage in a range of programs 
and activities in fulfillment of its counterterrorism, trade 
and travel missions.\6\ DHS components, including Customs and 
Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
(ICE), Transportation Security Administration, and Customs and 
Immigration Services, deploy personnel abroad to engage in 
interdiction and criminal investigation activities.\7\
    \5\International Footprint, supra note 2.
    \6\Id.; U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-13-681, Combating 
Terrorism: DHS Should Take Action to Better Ensure Resources Abroad 
Align with Priorities 6-7, (Sept. 2013), available at https://; GAO-17-216, supra note 2 at 1.
    \7\International Footprint, supra note 2; GAO-13-681, supra note 6; 
GAO-17-216, supra note 2.
    DHS's overseas activities have led to the denial of the 
entry of known or suspected terrorists, seizure of drugs, 
interdiction of narcotics, and disruption of human smuggling 
rings.\8\ Among DHS components, CBP deploys the largest number 
of personnel, approximately 1,000, to overseas locations for 
the purposes of screening and vetting passengers at airports, 
conducting inspections of U.S.-bound cargo shipments, and 
training foreign customs officials at international airports to 
institute screening procedures consistent with those used by 
U.S. customs officials.\9\ Through its Immigration Advisory 
Program, CBP identifies ``high-risk'' travelers prior to 
boarding U.S.-bound flights.\10\ In Fiscal Year 2015, the 
program prevented ``8,100 known or suspected terrorists, or 
individuals with connections to known or suspected terrorists'' 
from boarding U.S.-bound flights.\11\
    \8\GAO-13-681, supra note 6 at 13-14; GAO-17-216, supra note 2 at 
    \9\Ron Nixon, supra note 4; GAO-13-681, supra note 2, at 11-13; 
GAO-17-216, supra note 6 at 21-22.
    \10\GAO-17-216, supra note 2 at 2, 6.
    For its part, ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) 
division deploys nearly 300 investigators to 50 countries.\12\ 
HSI advances the Department's mission overseas by coordinating 
with foreign counterparts on investigations, interdicting 
transnational criminal organizations seeking to smuggle drugs, 
traffic humans and wildlife, and building international 
outreach and training partnerships.\13\ HSI's International 
Operations Division is responsible for executing a number of 
activities and programs.\14\ For instance, within its 
Transnational Criminal Investigative Units, HSI investigators 
work on teams with foreign law enforcement officials.\15\ The 
Visa Security Program (VSP) deploys HSI special agents to U.S. 
embassies determined to be high-risk to advise Department of 
State consular officers.\16\ Through the VSP, HSI investigators 
advance DHS's mission by screening visa applications and making 
recommendations to consular officers regarding visa refusal and 
    \12\International Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs 
target-id; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Dep't of Homeland 
Sec., Budget Overview (Feb. 27, 2018), available at https://
    \13\International Operations, supra note 12.
    While DHS's overseas functions are critical to achieving 
its mission and protecting the homeland, the U.S. Government 
Accountability Office (GAO), among others, have raised 
questions about the effectiveness of the programs and the 
activities supported by the deployment and use of personnel 
stationed abroad.\18\ According to a 2017 report by GAO, 
although CBP's pre-departure programs have resulted in the 
identification and interdiction of high-risk travelers, ``CBP 
has not fully evaluated the overall effectiveness of these 
programs using performance measures and baselines.''\19\ DHS 
concurred with GAO's recommendation to develop and implement 
performance measures, including the establishment of 
performance baselines, as a means of assessing the 
effectiveness of its programs.\20\ DHS has created a working 
group comprised of individuals from each of its pre-departure 
programs to address this recommendation.\21\ However, the 
recommendation remains only partially addressed.\22\ Absent 
appropriate measures, CBP and relevant stakeholders cannot 
assess whether pre-departure programs are achieving their 
intended goals.
    \18\GAO-17-216, supra note 2.
    In the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Homeland 
Security Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018, the Senate 
Committee on Appropriations encouraged HSI to prioritize its 
efforts to collaborate with CBP on investigations supporting 
trade enforcement activities.\23\ In doing so, HSI will be 
better positioned to assess the cost and benefits of expanding 
its overseas investigative activities.\24\ The Senate Committee 
on Appropriations acknowledged the importance of impeding the 
flow of individuals posing a threat and illicit contraband, but 
encouraged HSI to continue reviewing the cost and benefit of 
overseas agents, noting that ``the annual cost of an overseas 
agent can be four times the cost of an agent deployed 
    \23\S. Comm. on Appropriations, Explanatory Statement for the 
Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, 2018 (Nov. 21, 2017), available 
    Oversight of DHS's international programs has raised 
questions about the need for additional overseas personnel.\26\ 
Specially, during a September 2017 hearing before the House 
Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Transportation 
and Protective Security, Mr. Anthony Reardon, National 
President of the National Treasury Employees Union, expressed 
concerns with the Department's proposal to increase the number 
of CBP personnel stationed abroad in support of the 
Department's efforts to expand its Preclearance Program citing 
``critical staffing shortages at the nation's ports of 
    \26\Raising the Standard: DHS's Efforts to Improve Aviation 
Security around the Globe: Hearing before the Subcomm. on Transp. & 
Protective Sec. of the H. Comm. on Homeland Sec. (Sept. 26, 2017), 
available at
HMTG-115-HM07-Transcript-20170926.pdf; Securing Air Cargo: Industry 
Perspectives: Hearing before the Subcomm. on Transp. & Protective Sec. 
of the H. Comm. on Homeland Sec. (July 25, 2017), available at https://; 
The Future of the Transportation Security Administration: Hearing 
before the Subcomm. on Transp. & Protective Sec. of the H. Comm. on 
Homeland Sec. (Feb. 2, 2017), available at
hearing/future-transportation-security-administration/; Examining TSA's 
Global Efforts to Protect the Homeland from Aviation Threats and 
Enhance Security at Last Point of Departure Airports: Hearing before 
the Subcomm. on Transp. & Protective Sec. of the H. Comm. on Homeland 
Sec. (Dec. 8, 2015), available at
    \27\Raising the Standard: DHS's Efforts to Improve Aviation 
Security around the Globe: Hearing before the Subcomm. on Transp. & 
Protective Sec. of the H. Comm. on Homeland Sec., supra note 26, at 30.
    DHS should deploy its personnel and resources in a manner 
that is consistent with both the nation's homeland security 
priorities and assurance to U.S. taxpayers that Federal funds 
are appropriately spent. In January 2017, the President issued 
a series of Executive Orders aimed at strengthening the U.S. 
border with Mexico.\28\ Under these Executive Orders, CBP and 
ICE, DHS components with large international footprints, are to 
execute hiring plans that would significantly increase the 
number of Border Patrol and ICE agents.\29\ The Department 
should give due consideration to whether proposed staffing 
increases advance current homeland security priorities and 
provide intended security benefits as it develops its staffing 
models and budget requests for international programs.\30\
    \28\Exec. Order No. 13,767, 82 Fed. Reg. 8793 (Jan. 2017); Exec. 
Order No. 13,768, 82 Fed. Reg. 8799 (Jan. 2017).
    This Act provides transparency into the use and 
effectiveness of overseas personnel. Specifically, the 
briefings and plan required by this Act will enable Congress to 
hold the Department accountable for ensuring that the costs 
associated with overseas personnel do not outweigh the derived 
security benefits.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Representative John Katko (R-NY-24) introduced H.R. 2590 on 
May 8, 2019. The House of Representatives passed the Act under 
suspension of the rules with a 394-2 vote on June 10, 2019, and 
it was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered H.R. 2590 at a business meeting on 
July 24, 2019. Chairman Ron Johnson offered a substitute 
amendment that broadens the scope of the briefing to include 
the entirety of DHS' missions, and reduces the frequency of the 
briefings from biannually to annually. Ranking Member Gary 
Peters offered an amendment to remove language that could allow 
DHS to avoid required congressional briefings if the Department 
explained why it could not meet the requirement.
    The Johnson and Peters amendments were adopted by voice 
vote and the bill, as amended, was reported favorably by voice 
vote en bloc. Senators present for the vote were Johnson, 
Portman, Paul, Lankford, Romney, Scott, Enzi, Hawley, Peters, 
Carper, Hassan, Sinema, and Rosen.


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the short title of Act, the ``DHS 
Overseas Personnel Enhancement Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Overseas personnel briefing

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of the DHS to brief 
Congress regarding personnel stationed abroad. The first 
briefing is to occur 90 days after the submission of the 
strategy required under section 1910 of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, P.L. 114-328. 
Subsequent briefings are to be provided to the named 
congressional committees annually.
    Subsection (b) specifies the content requirements for the 
briefing required in subsection (a). The briefing is to include 
information on the types of overseas positions, including how 
the geographical and regional locations and position-specific 
training provided to overseas personnel support the Departments 
mission. The briefing is also to include information on the 
challenges impeding the sharing of information between DHS 
personnel at foreign locations and DHS personnel within the 
United States. The subsection also requires the Department to 
provide a status update on the implementation of the strategy 
in subsection (a) and the enhancement plan discussed under 
section 3.

Section 3. Overseas personnel enhancement plan

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary, within 90 days of 
the first briefing required in section 2, to submit to Congress 
an effectiveness enhancement plan for DHS overseas personnel.
    Subsection (b) outlines the contents required to be 
included within the plan. The plan is to include proposals to 
improve foreign partner capacity development; the use of threat 
information to redeploy personnel; enhance coordination with 
partners, including DHS entities within the U.S. and foreign 
partners; and practices for preventing counter-espionage 

Section 4. Termination

    This section sunsets the briefing required under section 2 
of this Act four years after the submission of the strategy 
required in Public Law Number 114-328.


    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.


                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, August 6, 2019.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for the H.R. 2590, the DHS 
Overseas Personnel Enhancement Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,



    H.R. 2590 would require the Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS) to devise a plan to improve the effectiveness of DHS 
personnel who are stationed at foreign locations. The act also 
would require DHS, over the next four years, to annually 
provide briefings to the Congress on department personnel whose 
primary duties are outside the United States. Using information 
from DHS, CBO estimates that implementing those provisions 
would cost less than $500,000 over the 2019-2024 period; such 
spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated 
    On May 22, 2019, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
2590 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Homeland 
Security on May 15, 2019. CBOs estimates of the budgetary 
effects of the two versions of the legislation are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.


    Because this legislation would not repeal or amend any 
provision of current law, it would make no changes in existing 
law within the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 
of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.