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Agency Spotlight: Department of Homeland Security

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Catherine Emerson,
Chief Human Capital Officer
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Vicki Brooks,

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is focused on protecting the American people, reducing the risk of terrorist attacks, securing our borders, enforcing immigration laws, safeguarding cyberspace and ensuring resilience to disasters.  The Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) develops solutions to support employees and managers in successfully achieving our mission and goals. 
Ensuring that DHS has the programs, policies, processes and resources to recruit, hire, train and retain this workforce is the highest priority for OCHCO.  The office is responsible for Department-wide policy development, planning and implementation.  Human capital programs and initiatives are supported, developed and implemented through cross-component councils, efficiency-focused initiatives, and implementation of the DHS strategic human capital goals and priorities. 
OCHCO works collaboratively with components and other partners to accomplish Secretary Janet Napolitano’s One DHS vision.  The following priorities are currently critical aspects of our strategic human capital agenda:

  • Improving the hiring process
  • Recruiting a diverse workforce and expanding Veterans hiring
  • Creating opportunities for leader development
  • Consolidating and developing policies and guidance
  • Implementing Efficiency Review efforts and better use of resources
  • Supporting and expanding work/life initiatives for employees
  • Expanding performance management training and efforts
  • Creating career path opportunities for DHS employees
  • Building and expanding labor relations

OCHCO’s efforts support and enable the more than 230,000 employees that jointly work to secure and protect America.  More information on the DHS mission and the workforce can be found at

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