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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 Personnel either were unaware the channel existed, could not find it, or switched to an outdated channel inherited from the Treasury Department.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?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    And the reasoning for the $14 trillion debt becomes clear

    *facepalm*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    And this is just the kind of reason why we are so far in Debt.
    Tons of Mis-Management, Corruption, and Government Stupidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    It happens all the time when there isn't a specific person/position that's accountable. Simple as that.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    droozilla (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    Then let's hold them ALL accountable and destroy this waste of a program once and for all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    AG Wright (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Not mismanagement

    Don't think of it as mismanagement think of it as stimulus.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Someone, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Oh really?

    "So, in a normal business, when you screw something up this badly, people get fired. Lots of them."

    Really? What fantasy world does this "normal" occur in? We have been bailing out companies for years due to major screw ups worse then this. Wall Street anyone? And they still keep screwing up.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    SCH, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Not mismanagement

    Indeed, all that money spent must have created a lot of jobs, improved the health of millions of Americans, and built a dozen small businesses.

     

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  8.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    Terrorists!!!!!

    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?

    But, but, but... Terrorists!!!!!
    Ho khay.

     

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  9.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

    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.

     

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  10.  
    icon
    Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Oh really?

    To be fair, people get fired in businesses that don't fail. If you screw up spectacularly enough to fail your entire business, then your company gets a bailout, at which point you get a bonus. So the moral of the story is if you're going to fail, fail big.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    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)

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except the office they set up to go over everyone's budget would become a pit of waste by itself, and be just as ineffective at doing their job as all the other departments seem to be.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Who's accountable for that department, and who would be accountable for releaseing personel or the whole department?

    If it comes back to a politician, we're SOL on a resolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Not the Way It Works

    3. People who screwed up in the first place are promoted as a 'reward'.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Not the Way It Works

    There is a reason that people "fail upwards" in large-scale businesses.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Re: And the reasoning for the $14 trillion debt becomes clear

    >And the reasoning for the $14 trillion debt becomes clear.

    If the whole $14 trillion were wasted as harmlessly as this, I'd be a lot happier.

    ($430M is less than 1 part in 32,000 of $14 trillion.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Toot Rue (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Terrorists!!!!!

    Oh, but he will answer to the public. Of course the answer will be pointing out that they were underfunded and if only they could get more money all the problems would go away...

     

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  19.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    WHO? not the music

    WHO is in charge of Over sight??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Forget giving us the money back

    I want a job in THAT department! get paid to do NOTHING? Sounds perfect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    LDoBe (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Not mismanagement

    Indeed, all that money spent must have been lining the pockets of defense contractors and paying for hookers and blow. FTFY.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re:

    This same Government is about to enter the business of health care.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    What's the frequency? Can we hear it on normal scanners?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    cosmicrat (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    cosmicrat (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    Maybe hire some experts...

    It's a sad situation when a loosely knit hacker group like Anonymous can set up more effective communications channels with practically no budget than a supposedly elite arm of the U.S. government can with a budget larger than the entirety of some 3rd world governments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:24pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re:

    but ... but ... but ... JOBS!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Not mismanagement

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    *munches on popcorn*
    DHS once again pushing the limits of how far one can take "but but but terrorists" to the outer reaches.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

    Re: WHO? not the music

    "WHO is in charge of Over sight??"

    NO! WHO is on first. Get it straight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 6:38pm

    11

    Another case of..."But this one goes to 11".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Oh really?

    Hint: That business isn't normal either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Reality Check, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 7:28pm

    Re:

    Um, Mike wasted $430 Million taxpayer dollars?

    Did he waste ANY taxpayer dollars?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 12:11am

    Re: Re:

    Government Stupidity

    Tautology

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Jake, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 4:53am

    How the fuck do you spend four hundred and thirty million dollars, more than the entire budget of some entire police departments, on picking a common radio frequency and sending out a memo about it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    who said the US was broke?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    jilocasin, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    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.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    EW-90, Apr 23rd, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    hello m8 the information on this site is just incredible it keeps me coming back time and time again ,personally i met my wife using this site so i couldnt love it any more i have done my best to promote this site as i feel that others need to see this thang ,thankyou for all the time spent in making this fabulous site ! ok,nice one Billy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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