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HOMELAND SECURITY

11 Sep 06. Is It Safer Now? 5 Years of Homeland Security Spending Brings Few Quantifiable Results. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is getting ready to spend $2bn to build a high-technology fence along the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. The contract is likely to be awarded to one of the giant U.S. defense contractors. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Raytheon are among the bidders. But the fence, part of an elaborate Secure Border Initiative that features infrared cameras, ground sensors, computers, software that recognizes humans, broadband requirements and an assortment of other technologies, will generate a bonanza of sales for companies that make products ranging from wireless networks to barbed wire. Five years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, homeland security is among the top concerns of the American public. But security experts say the United States is substantially less secure than it should be five years after the fact. The nation still lacks a comprehensive homeland security strategy — even administration officials concede that a new strategy released Sept. 5 is short on “tactical details of implementation and execution.” Moreover, homeland security spending is fraught with waste, according to the House Government Reform Committee. With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorists popping up around the globe, security experts contend it is impossible to say whether the United States is safer now than it was Sept. 10, 2001. The U.S. government is spending about $55bn on homeland security this year and will increase that to more than $58bn in 2007, according to Steven Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Spending by the Department of Homeland Security accounts for about $27bn of this year’s total. The Defense Department is the second big spender on homeland security, allocating about $16.7bn. The departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Energy and State also spend between $4.5bn and $1.2bn each annually on homeland security. Between 2003, when it was created, and 2005, procurement spending by the Department of Homeland Security increased 189 percent — from $3.5bn a year to $10bn annually — according to the House Committee on Government Reform.
But that’s just a fraction of U.S. government spending on homeland security.
Analysts and industry officials estimate homeland security spending — from bomb detection equipment at airports to biological agent detectors in cities to cameras along the Mexican border — at up to $250bn. Whether that is enough, and whether it is being spent well, are matters of ongoing debate. (Source: Defense News)

08 Sep 06. DHS plans major data fusion project. The Homeland Security Department is building a major intelligence program that will use data mining and state-of-the-art analysis tools to discover and track terrorism threats against the United States. The new initiative is laid out in a report from DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner. The purpose of DHS’ new Intelligence and Information Fusion (I2F) system, which the report said is in early development, is to provide the agency with an integrated intelligence and information capability, the report said. The system will use advanced computer processes for collecting, tagging, classifying and organizing data to gather and analyze information about potential terrorists. I2F will “enable intelligence analysts to understand relationships that would otherwise not be readily apparent,” the report said. It will use commercial software and integrate government programs, the inspector general stated. The report, which is a survey of datamining activity at DHS, describes nine programs already in operation and three more in development within the agency, including the intelligence fusion system. The report does not mention political controversies about datamining. Several previous counter-terrorism datamining programs init

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