IG challenges DHS grants' value

Although the Homeland Security Department has awarded more than $560 million for 1,200 projects to increase seaport security nationwide, the current grants process "compromises the program's ability to direct resources toward the nation's highest priorities," according to a new inspector general audit.

Of $515 million in grants awarded between June 2002 and December 2003, only $106.9 million , or 21 percent, of the funds had been spent. Awarded to state, local and private-sector organizations, many of the grants include funding for IT-related projects.

The IG identified major problems with the port security grant program, including how funds were distributed, changes in qualifications from round to round and a lack of a clear security merit of some projects.

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