By Rich Cooper, Homeland Defense Journal

Jan 15, 2009

Following the 9/11 and Anthrax attacks, we as a nation were forced to make a number of investments that were not on any of our national shopping lists. We made drastic improvements to our aviation security; initiated new biological surveillance capabilities and countermeasures; upgraded first responder equipment and interoperability; overhauled the missions of the FBI and US intelligence agencies, and made countless other high-tech expenditures. Nearly eight years after those events, the incoming Obama Administration, Congress, media and taxpayers are asking, “What are we getting for our money?”

While we’ve established a new cabinet-level department – DHS, and spent over $300 billion since 9/11 on homeland security efforts in the public and private sectors, there are few metrics available to measure our success.  The fact that we’ve not had another successful terrorist attack in the US since 2001 is one performance measure to herald but crediting all of our expenditures to date as the reason that something hasn’t happened can never be proven. Could we have achieved the same with less? Can we cut back, or tighten our focus over the next eight years?

That’s the call the new Administration and Congress are going to have to make in the worst federal budget environment since the Great Depression. As DHS and other federal components assemble and defend their requested budgets to the White House and Congress, the challenge before them will be proving their value. From advocating for new programs and reinforcing current ones, to developing and testing new technologies, many promises will be made but few will provide any immediate return.

But what will give us payoff now?

Read the whole story here.


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