Group charges DHS with poor contract management

In the more than four years of its existence, the Homeland Security Department has become a prime example of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars, according to a new report from a government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The report, "Homeland Security for Sale," highlights government and media investigations of billions of dollars in troubled DHS contracts and programs, including the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, the Coast Guard's Deepwater systems modernization program and Customs and Border Protection's Secure Border Initiative Network.

DHS was established through the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and began operating in March 2003. The creation of DHS, which involved assimilating various domestic security operations under one department, was the largest reorganization of the federal government since the Defense Department was created in 1947.

The report also focuses on current business dealings of former DHS officials, including former Secretary Tom Ridge, in association with companies seeking to gain government work in the intelligence, defense and homeland security fields.

"Billions have been spent on projects to secure our borders and to inspect port cargo, but the projects have been delayed and the contractors have overcharged, all under the less than watchful eye of DHS political appointees," the report states. "The stories about the agency would be comical if only our national security were not at stake."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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