Homeland Security Spent $430-Million To Tune Its Radios To A New Frequency, And Failed

from the taxpayer-money-at-work dept

The incompetence of Homeland Security when it comes to actually doing things is well documented — though, they’re often so clueless that they take credit for successfully misleading Congress about their own failings. So I guess it should come as little surprise that a new report shows that DHS spent about $430 million of your taxpayer dollars to get all of its radios to communicate on the same frequency and it doesn’t work. At all.


Of 479 radio users the DHS inspector general tested, only one knew how to tune into the common channel, the report stated. Personnel either were unaware the channel existed, could not find it, or switched to an outdated channel inherited from the Treasury Department.

“Personnel do not have interoperable communications that they can rely on during daily operations, planned events and emergencies,” acting IG Charles K. Edwards wrote in the report.

So what was the problem? Apparently no one in top management at DHS ever thought to tell the various departments that they should be using this common channel that they were spending so much money on getting ready for this usage:


The root of the disconnect, according to the report, is top department leaders have provided little guidance and no enforcement to ensure personnel use the channel. The shift to a single frequency began when the department formed in 2003.

“Components independently developed and managed their own radio programs with no formal coordination from DHS,” and as a result, “internal interoperability was not a priority for DHS components,” Edwards reported.

The report suggested that there should be someone in charge of actually coordinating all of this (what an idea!), but DHS officials shot back that they already have a “Joint Wireless Program Management Office.” Of course, this only makes the situation worse, in that they basically admit that they have an entire office set up to work on this issue… and it’s now apparent that the office did little to nothing in terms of actually accomplishing what needed to be accomplished. The author of the report pointed out that it’s a bit silly to point to the office that failed to do its job as proof that they’re now ready to deal with this issue.

So, in a normal business, when you screw something up this badly, people get fired. Lots of them. Who’s getting fired for this? Shouldn’t the head of DHS have to answer to the public as to why $430 million was spent under what appears to be totally incompetent management? What are they doing over there other than seizing domains and making up terrorist plots?

In the meantime, can we get our $430 million back?

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Comments on “Homeland Security Spent $430-Million To Tune Its Radios To A New Frequency, And Failed”

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42 Comments
Chosen Rejectsays:

Re: Re:

I wonder if it were possible to remove this kind of waste, how much of our budget could be cut without cutting a single program. If we could reduce waste, could we cut the military budget without decreasing the number of bullets, jets, soldiers, etc? If we could eliminate this kind of waste, could we cut social security without reducing the payouts to a single person?

People like to talk on grand scales of cutting programs, but I’d like to see every budget gone over with a fine toothed comb first. Eliminate all the waste and unnecessary expenses, then worry about which programs to ax. If I want to reduce my personal budget, I first make sure I’m turning off lights and closing windows in the winter before deciding to disconnect from the power grid.

Chris Rhodessays:

Not the Way It Works

So, in a normal business, when you screw something up this badly, people get fired. Lots of them. Who’s getting fired for this?

That’s not the way government works. This is the proper method:

1. The government completely fails at something.
2. This complete failure is touted as an obvious reason to expand the scope of the government in that area. (See: Banking Regulation)

cosmicratsays:

Re: Not the Way It Works

“1. The government completely fails at something.
2. This complete failure is touted as an obvious reason to expand the scope of the government in that area. (See: Banking Regulation)”

Actually that’s a pretty bad distortion of how the government failed at banking regulation. It really went more like this:

1. Starting with Carter, and ramping up massively under Reagan, the government agencies regulating banking practices were dissolved, defunded and generally eliminated.
2. In the absence of meaningful oversight, the big banks get away with murder, destroying the economy in the process.
3. Sane people (many of whom warned about this decades ago) renew calls for government regulation of speculative banking to be restored to appropriate levels.

FTFY

jilocasinsays:

Re: Not the Way It Works

Nice thought, but I think your example is off the mark.

The failure of the government in the banking mess, wasn’t too much regulation, but not enough. In that case more regulation, or simply getting back to the level that existed prior to the greed induced orgy of death and despair would probably be sufficient.

Brief history lesson;

Few and ineffective regulations of the financial sector coupled with greed and avarice leads to “Great Depression”.

Regulations added by government and enforced (mostly) lead ,if not to prosperity, to reasonable stability in the financial markets.

Years pass, greed and avarice and corporate “free speech” (contributions) aided by misguided individuals and organizations who believe government regulation == bad cause the erosion of financial regulation.

When enough of the previously stabilizing regulations have been done away with, greed and avarice once more lead to the collapse of the financial markets, the “Great Recession”. The only thing keeping it from sliding into another “Great Depression” is the liberal application of government (read tax payer) money.

The reckless businesses use tax payer money to give themselves large bonuses and try to screw the very taxpayers that “bailed” their businesses out with questionable foreclosures and creative fees.

Now when saner heads suggest that returning to a more effective level of government regulation of the financial markets, the same people that argued for deregulation point to the near collapse of the financial world as a reason why government regulation is bad. (wtf?!@#$!?)

In their mind;
Government regulation == bad.
Government bailout money == good.

We’ve nearly completed our transition from a Republic to a Corporatocricy. Government by the corporation for the corporation.

We socialize risk and privatize profit. Is it any wonder we now have a stagnant economy and the wealth distribution of a third world dictatorship?

Welcome to America, where socialism is “bad” (unless it benefits them) and companies make most of their money suing others with their government_granted monopoly rights…..

Mike Masnicksays:

Re:

Wow! What egg on their faces! The gov’t is so stupid. Not perfect like Mikey.

You know, there is medicine you can take which helps make “the voices” in your head that you think are “Mike” go away. Then, perhaps, you can try reading what I actually write.

Might help you seem less insane if you stop pretending I said shit I didn’t.

LDoBesays:

Re: Forget giving us the money back

They don’t do nothing. They do lots of stuff. They just don’t have to tell anyone what they’re doing, as long as there’s a good cover story. It is DHS after all. They’re busy soothing the public with sweet lies of how they’re working to preserve our freedoms, while simultaneously wiping their asses with the fourth amendment.

Anonymoussays:

Perhaps this obvious idea is patented by some patent troll, but maybe instead of (or next to or within the) full dots, empty dots, and squares to denote post responses, why not have numbers. 1 (or 0) means first/original node, 2 (or 1) means second node (first response), etc… That way keeping track of which post a post is a response to is easier.

Anonymoussays:

Open Says Me

This story is a bit peculiar. The report correctly condemns DHS for its incompetence in getting its people to know how to select a common channel (think, “Open channel D”), which is a management and education failure of the first magnitude.

I don’t know where the $430 million figure comes from, though. If that’s the purchase price of new radios, it’s only partly relevant, as they would be usable once the Channel D memo starts being followed.

Much as I dislike DHS, I think this one is being spun.

Anonymoussays:

Open Says Me

This story is a bit peculiar. The report correctly condemns DHS for its incompetence in getting its people to know how to select a common channel (think, “Open channel D”), which is a management and education failure of the first magnitude.

I don’t know where the $430 million figure comes from, though. If that’s the purchase price of new radios, it’s only partly relevant, as they would be usable once the Channel D memo starts being followed.

Much as I dislike DHS, I think this one is being spun.

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