Department of Homeland Security churns out poorly developed schemes

In the Homeland Security Act, the department was tasked with coordinating the federal government’s homeland security communications with all levels of government, the private sector and the public.

The HSIN, costing $75 million for fiscal years 2005 and 2006, was tasked with addressing the gaps in our security efforts — effective information sharing. It is one of the department’s 11 information-sharing networks, which collectively cost, during those same two years, $611.8 million.

It is a no-brainer that improved information sharing assists our communities in responding to threats and natural disasters. It also assures that limited resources at the state and local level are used in a cost-effective manner. Ironically, it seems that the department could have benefited from some basic information sharing with state and local governments before implementing an information-sharing network to service these same entities.

Consequently, the HSIN is a system that is neither particularly useful nor trusted by state and local users, i.e., those who were to be the final users of the HSIN. The network was rushed into operation without sufficient input from those who would be using it, resulting in a system that fails to meet the needs of its users, duplicates other efforts and is not trusted.

Rep. Bennie Thompson