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Why Homeland Defense disaster response may be a disaster?

In any local, regional or wide-spread disaster, it is all about coordination, command and control …

During a disaster, learning how to maintain and operate high-tech equipment is not an option. So I am deeply troubled by that fact that the government has spent millions on communications devices and there may be an issue of employees not knowing how to correctly use the high-tech radios.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) includes an amalgamation of organizations that work together to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other threats. Such collaboration requires that components establish effective communication among external and internal partners during operations. DHS established an internal goal of developing interoperable radio communications and identified common channels, and its components invested about $430 million in equipment, infrastructure, and maintenance to meet communication requirements.

We performed this audit to determine whether DHS’ oversight ensured achievement of Department-wide interoperable radio communications.

DHS did not provide effective oversight to ensure that its components achieved Department-wide interoperable radio communications. It did not establish an effective governing structure that had the authority and responsibility to oversee its goal of achieving Department-wide interoperability. Without a governing structure, DHS had limited interoperability policies and procedures, and component personnel did not have interoperable radio communications.

As a result, only 1 of 479 radio users tested could access and communicate using the specified common channel. Further, of the 382 radios tested, only 20 percent (78) contained all the correct program settings for the common channel.

Until DHS develops an effective governing structure and makes a concerted effort to attain Department-wide interoperability, overall progress will remain limited.

Read the actual government audit report at http://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2013/OIG_13-06_Nov12.pdf.

Bottom line …

Not only does this particular report highlight flaws which might be exploited by our enemies in a time of national emergency – assuming, of course, that the lax hiring and screening process has not allowed our enemies to infiltrate the government agency – but it also highlights that the agency is too big, too powerful, too unwieldy, too incompetent and too bureaucratic to be allowed to survive in the coming years. And its leadership, in the form of Janet Napolitano – a former border state governor – is unqualified for the post she now holds. She has proven that she does not have the leadership skills nor the basic qualifications to head such an agency. Whereas one might expect a General Petraeus-type to lead the effort, we get a hyper-partisan political hack.

-- steve

Reference Links ...

Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use - ProPublica


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