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US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs highlights ten challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security

In an article published on its website the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has listed ten challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security. These include:

  • DHS has spent more than $35 billion on homeland security grants, but cannot measure whether the US is any safer from terrorist attacks.
  • Mission creep has expanded DHS from its original focus on counter-terrorism to become an ‘all-hazards’ preparedness agency. In an era of a $17 trillion national debt, high unemployment and unsustainable spending, DHS cannot afford to continue to expand its mission, particularly when it’s unclear that the agency’s original mission is being executed. Recent years have seen the department provide local police with equipment to protect the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire, sno-cone machines in Michigan and drones in Seattle.
  • Despite DHS’s growing responsibilities for cyber security, the Department is struggling to fulfill its cyber and information technology missions, including securing its own networks. The DHS has not addressed nearly four dozen recommendations for bringing the Department’s cyber security up to required standards. A new report from the Office of Inspector General found that DHS’s “inadequate continuity and contingency planning increases the risk that the Department may not be able to respond effectively in case of an emergency or disaster.”
  • A growing share of DHS’s budget is being spent on natural disasters, but FEMA’s process for declaring disasters is outdated and arbitrary.
  • Despite its broad mandate to protect critical infrastructure, DHS has struggled when given a mandate to regulate chemical facility security. Since 2007, despite spending nearly half of a billion dollars, it is not clear the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program has improved security at chemical facilities. To date, only five percent of all covered facilities have approved security plans and no facility has undergone a compliance inspection – more than five years after the program was to be up and running.

Read the full list of DSH challenges.

•Date: 12th September 2013 • US •Type: Article • Topic: Terrorism

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