WASHINGTON, DC—Federal mismanagement of the St.Elizabeths' campus construction project has resulted in a$1.6 billion increase in costs, from $3.3 billionto the current estimate of $4.5 billion and delayed its delivery byover 10 years, from an original completion date of 2015 to thecurrent estimate of 2026, according to a reportreleased on Friday by the Government AccountabilityOffice.

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The project is the new headquarters for the Departmentof Homeland Security, and is meant to consolidate theagency's operations at one location rather than the multiplelocations throughout the city that it currently maintains.

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The GAO found that the planning by the Department of HomelandSecurity and General Services Administration forthe headquarters consolidation "does not fully conform with leadingcapital decision-making practices intended to help agencieseffectively plan and procure assets."

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For example, the report noted that after its initial planningfor the project department decided to reduce further the squarefootage allotted per employee. The department and GSA also analyzeddifferent leasing options that could affect consolidationefforts.

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However, GAO found that the consolidation plans, which werefinalized between 2006 and 2009, were not updated to reflect thesechanges, which was a major factor behind the funding gap and delayin delivery. Homeland Security and GSA have also not conducted acurrent needs assessment, identified capability gaps, or evaluatedand prioritized alternatives to address the gap in funding, GAOalso said.

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Another misstep GAO found was that 2013 cost estimate—the mostrecent available—does not include a life-cycle cost analysis of theproject and was not regularly updated to reflect significantprogram changes.

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That estimate also does not include an independent analysis tohelp track the budget; nor was a sensitivity analysis performed toassess the reasonableness of the cost estimate. "Because DHS andGSA project cost and schedule estimates inform Congress's fundingdecisions and affect the agencies' abilities to effectivelyallocate resources, there is a risk that funding decisions andresource allocations could be made based on information that is notreliable or is out of date."

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Homeland Security and GSA are considering changes to the plansfor the project, "but as of August 2014, they had not announcedwhen new plans will be issued and whether they would fully conformto leading capital decision-making practices to help plan projectimplementation," the report said.

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