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GAO: DHS Needs Policy to Document Basis for Extremism Prevention Grant Awards

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) develop a policy to record the rationale for award decisions with regard to Countering Violent Extremism grant programs

DHS should also initiate steps to ensure that CVE grantees gather and submit project performance data to assess whether individual grant recipients and the overall program achieve the intended outcomes, GAO said in a report publicly released Friday.

DHS complied with the Office of Management and Budget guidance with regard to reviewing applications for its CVE grant program in 2016, but failed to document the rationale for its final award decisions.

“However, after DHS announced its selection of 31 applications for awards, it ran a new process resulting in revised selections, which was based on additional selection criteria not expressly listed in the grant announcement. While DHS officials explained to GAO how these additional criteria aligned with the grant announcement, these explanations do not appear in DHS's award documentation,” the report reads.

When it comes to data collection, the congressional watchdog found that the grant recipients did not gather the type of performance data DHS needed to assess the effectiveness of the grants.