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Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use

Only one of 479 Department of Homeland Security employees surveyed were able to find the designated secure channel on their radios.

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U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Getty Images

Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But according to a recent report from the department’s inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished.

DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.

Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general’s office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn’t even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren’t able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.

The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.

The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.

DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions from ProPublica about what effect the radio problems could have on how the agency handles an emergency.

The $430 million paid for radio infrastructure and maintenance as well as the actual radios.

In a response letter to the report, Jim H. Crumpacker, the Department of Homeland Security’s liaison between the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general, wrote that DHS had made “significant strides” in improving emergency communications since 2003. But he acknowledged that DHS “has had some challenges in achieving Department-wide interoperable communications goals.”

The recent inspector general’s report is the latest in a string of critical assessments DHS has received on its efforts to improve communication between federal, state and local agencies. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security had “generally not achieved” this  goal.

DHS has assigned a blizzard of offices and committees to oversee its radio effort since 2003, which the inspector general’s report claimed had “hindered DHS’ ability to provide effective oversight.”

Also, none of the entities “had the authority to implement and enforce their recommendations,” the report concluded. Tanya Callender, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the current office overseeing the effort hadn’t been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even to provide instructions for programming the radios.

The inspector general recommended DHS standardize its policies regarding radios, which DHS agreed to do. But it rejected a second recommendation that it overhaul the office overseeing the radios to give it more authority.

“DHS believes that it has already established a structure with the necessary authority to ensure” that its various agencies can communicate, Crumpacker wrote in his response letter.

This should be the nail in the coffin for DHS.
That entire operation is a sham.

Fire every last one of these idiots!!!

And this is the same ‘sector’ that just took-over 1/6 of the USA’s economy. Can’t wait for Obamacare to fully ‘kick-in’.
Guess the real objective was never to ‘change’ anything, just ensure uniform misery for all…

Stephanie Palmer

Nov. 21, 2012, 5:34 p.m.

Hey, there was money to be made. This is the United States and the easiest way to steal big money is to bilk the government. That’s the way the free market works.

Montgomery Powell

Nov. 21, 2012, 5:37 p.m.

Why doesn’t PP name the company that sold the radios to DHS? Because PP is a Wall Street Journal-style operation. Blame the government, spare Big Business.

Might a one page memo be able to tell how to use the radio? The solution seems simple but then I am not part of a bureaucracy/

ONE WORD:  I N C O M P E T E N C Y !!!!!!!

Just another example of government waste. I bet that one could find cronyism in the selection/buy of the radios. How difficult is it to learn how to use handheld radios? Could it be that those receiving just didn’t bother? Perhaps the design of the radio discouraged folks from carting them around.

Committees to monitor committees, bureaucracy up the wazoo, no one it seems willing to think out-of-the-box, no one it seems willing to make decisions when a rule or regulation is not in their handbook. Is the DHS culture one that does not promote reporting of abuses and systemic issues? 

Over nine years, $450 million to date, where is Senate over site? Where was GAO in the past 9 years?

Janet and her reports had their heads in a cloud and that I think intentional,

DHS budget needs to be cut by the 450 million at minimum and those on the committees, management, procurement fired and their salary’s returned to the Treasury. Senate committee for over site of DHS should be replaced by other members. Could the Senate members be complicit in acts of cronyism? Let’s fire Janet.

9 years! How difficult is training. Simple instructions—if employees unable to understand the instructions perhaps they should not be in the positions that require the use of the radios and what about those employees managers?

Out of control, crooked Government!

This is really surprising and it does reflect poor management process and procedure. *HOWEVER*.... it is quite easily remedied with a brief, Three Step Training Process: Training Session 1.) Train the Trainers for each department; Session 2.) Train the Troops. Step 3.) Conduct random tests to evaluate user competence and feed the results back to the trainers.  One, 4 hr session at each step should do it -except for the mandatory ongoing random testing.

You have to judge this in the right context.  The point is not to have security, communications, or weapons that work—the point is spend lots of money, funneling that money to crony capitalists who kick back some of it as bribes (aka campaign contributions) to Congress.  Now, doesn’t that make sense??

Especially sad when the old analogue clunkers were deemed to be obsolete and outdated. Police, Fire and Security agencies from SF/Oakland to NY and everyone inbetween have been complaining that the new super-advanced, super-expensive, super-digital two-way radios are where it’s at. Problems abound but all’s good because a million here and 5 million there can fix any problem.

For some entertaining reading, check out this link:

http://blog.tcomeng.com/index.php/2011/once-upon-a-time-in-a-land-far-far-away/

James T. York

Nov. 21, 2012, 8:01 p.m.

I am in a communication batallion and deal with emergency radios every day (also retired DHS & former police/fire).  Most people think radio is the magic “Dukes of Hazard” CB radio that works on all frequencies, all modes, all power settings and then speaks only to the desired recipiant.  Radio is very complicated and requires much study and licensed skill to use.  A simple, “Push to Talk” radio works fine for non-licensed users but when you try to make a radio system that will talk around the world to everyone, you are building a very complicated system. These radios are dependant on repeaters and computer centers just like cell phones.  Programming these Advanced Land Mobile radios requires an advanced programming technician and an advaced user.  If the user is not clear on what is meant by “frequency” or “Peak Envelope Power” it is like expecting a teenager to shift gears on a 16 speed Kenworth.  There is no substitute for training and practice. However, many people have no interest in com and so never master the radios.  Give classes and next month it is the same thing all over again—“How do I turn this on?”—No interest-no Practice-no mastery.  This is why the military relies on communications people with special qualifications and does not expect other personnel to use anything beyond a cell phone.  (Technically, some systems work exactly like a cell phone with all the attendant limits like “NO BARS!” and no “Roaming!!”.) —- “Can you hear me now?”  (Ever try to get 200 cops to pistol qualify to minimums?  Only about 5% will qualify “MASTER”, but they work at it. Some never qualify and lose their billet.  Same thing for radio communications.  There is no simply way. Train, practice, credential.  —Jim, “Wolfpack 7” or KL3CJ

James T. York

Nov. 21, 2012, 8:22 p.m.

To Stephanie,

James T. York

Nov. 21, 2012, 8:36 p.m.

To Stephanie,

Private corporations as well a public agnecies need com.  This was usually handled with simplex radio—one channel—push to talk.  The problem is in communication with other corporations and agencies. That is difficult and requires “Multiplex” radios.  At this point training gets intense. I am tired of corporate adminstrators telling me no to"bother them” with “Details.  This is not a government vrs private thing—thay are all the same on this issue.  The desire to have every radio talk to every other radio is just not technically practical.  In fact, there is limited programming memory availible so when an agent travels outside his area, his radio may not properly programmed to connect with repeaters and computers in another state or jurisdiction.  People who are not technically qualified usually expect more than can be delivered.  These advanced systems work well but only when used by people who understand the technology.  The more you try to make it simple, the more complicated it gets.  Corporations spend millions on systems that don’t work as their administrative staffs won’t train either.  Jim

Sandra Sutphen

Nov. 21, 2012, 8:37 p.m.

Thank you, Mr. York, for your informed and thoughtful comment. Refreshing after the knee-jerk anti-government tirades.

Steven JF Scannell

Nov. 22, 2012, 12:09 a.m.

The president runs the executive branch.  The DHS is just a harebrained scheme leading to more confusion than we had already.  Fewer layers of management is best. I see it’s no surprise to anyone that the handling of Hurricane Sandy, wasn’t the greatest.  Back to the drawing board.

Anonymous Coward

Nov. 22, 2012, 12:14 a.m.

Accept that yes, there really are over 120,000 DHS employees with radios. Raise you hand if you think they should all be using the same channel at the same time. Raise your hand if you think anyone would be able to communicate ANYTHING if they were all using the same channel.

Right. If your hand is up, you’re an idiot.

Under no circumstances will a GS-7 with CBP ever jump on the radio to talk directly to FEMA. That’s not how the chain of command works, and you’re damn right the chain of command matters during emergencies. At most airports of any significance, CBP *alone* is using at least three different channels to avoid cross-talk during regular operations. Jim’s comment above is right on the money: the front line works (maybe) two channels and the inter-agency stuff goes up to the inter-agency communication center (where officers from different agencies are sitting next to each other).

We learned one thing, and one thing only from this study: the OIG can’t report statistics worth a damn. Nowhere in the report does it reveal how they created this sample of “479 DHS employees”. It might be random sample, it may include employees who have never used a radio, and it may include employees who should not be meddling with the inter-agency band. It’s not even clear whether the OIG left their offices in DC to conduct this study.

What a complete waste of taxpayer $, & crock of **** this little boondoggle has cost Americans. No one is safer either BTW, but the country sure is digging the debt hole even deeper, sadly enough for future generations.

It’s high time we got rid off all the Pork Barrel projects that the Washington, DC crowd is forcing off on the rest of the nation! Pathetic…

Meant to say “got rid of”, I added an extra f by mistake.

Granville Scott

Nov. 22, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

James T. York, thanks for an informed & thoughtful response.

I am part of a Military Emergency Response Communications Unit, and can confirm that I had 2.5 years of training in HF, VHF, UHF, Microwave and Satellite communications before I was even ALLOWED to touch STARS radio.

I can also confirm that the system works. I was called for active duty during Hurricane Sandy, and we used STARS to communicate with 15 National Guard teams that were deployed across 300 miles of coastal area.

But it is important to note that STARS is merely one of many communication tools that we use. It’s primary function is to enable communication when local power is out, landline and cellphone service are disrupted, and local Internet access is unavailable.

So there may be 123,000 DGS employees that can’t use the radios…but believe me, in a large-scale emergency, when primary communication lines are down, you don’t want them to! You want trained operators who can relay essential messages across whatever communication paths are available.

From what I have seen these yawhoos could not work two cans with a string !  It takes a year to train tobe able to work a system ! 95% of the people are not able to be trained !

It’s not uncommon for the manufacturer to pre-program these types of communications radios. All you have to do is include that as a prerequisite to the purchase order. It’s a no-brainer, but maybe that’s indicative of the problem. At any rate, all companies hold seminars for employees to gain the necessary knowledge and technical skills required to perform their jobs efficiently, as a matter of the profit-driven corporate mindset ............. but, then I realize we’re talking about a government agency. I digress.

Homeland Security severely reduces our freedom. This government agency needs to go away - along with the “Patriot Act”

I worked with the government in DC for nearly two decades. Early on, it used to drive me crazy that every single thing that I saw was hopelessly wasteful and ineffective. Then someone explained it to me. Whereas I looked on it as wasteful that countless billions were spent without achieving the stated goal, he noted that in DC, the actual goal is the spending of the money itself. Bureaucracies exist to grow and exert power - not to serve. Spending money allows them to expand their ranks, thereby allowing promotions and raises for those in charge of more workers. Spending the money offers ample opportunities for bribes and kickbacks.

Viewed in this better light, you can see that DHS is incredibly successful at achieving their real goal.If you don’t like it, leave the country; otherwise, put on a gown and enjoy the asylum.

Violet Pucsek

Nov. 22, 2012, 1:29 p.m.

DHS is a huge pool of agencies and services which have been lumped together to fight terrorism.  Many of them come with all sorts of rivalries and a whole bunch of jurisdictions.  Being able to communicate with each other, should they need to, is vital.  Having a radio which allows them to do so is a must.  Remember the firefighters in the Towers on 9/11?  Their radios didn’t work properly when they needed it the most.  There aren’t any details about the how and whys of the radio that was chosen but obviously it wasn’t the right kind.  This is a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars for something so basic.

I don’t think leaving the country or joining the asylum is a good idea.  I do think that changing the constitution will help change the status quo.  For example, a amendments that:
1. balances the budget
2. reduces career politicians to 12 years in office
3. allows direct vote - eliminating Electoral College
4. eliminates all advertising during a very limited election period (like 3 weeks)
5. specifically states the corporations are not people
6. forces lawmakers to make null and void one law for every one they create - (we have way too many on the books now)
7. Public execution for corrupt politicians (my personal favorite)

And there’s a lot more that can be proposed see: http://www.usconstitution.net/constamprop.html

Don’t walk away from the problem - lets fix it.

Oh please this is just one more display of this administration and it’s lack of ability. Nobody is slightly surprised. Par for the course under Obama. Try telling us real news, like The Obama administration has done something, anything , close to well.

I’m afraid most of you are either missing the point of this entirely or misunderstanding what is going on with nhs generally. To compare nhs to the healthcare plan Is either disingenuous or incredibly naive. Everyone benefits (or at least will be effected by) the healthcare bill and thus will demand at least marginal service from providers. On the other hand, nhs was set up by a bunch of crooks who want the government to be, “so small you could drown it in a bath tub” so what better way to ensure this than to profoundly break it, while making tons of cash for so-called security contractors. Nhs does not improve people’s lives in any discernible way and through propagandistic media policies, the military industrial complex has convinced the people who do support it that hero worship of oppressors and murders is the only valid reaction. Surprisingly, people have grown skeptical of this mantra and with help from stories like this people will soon realize that nhs is what should be ended, and programs like healthcare for all is what we should fund.

minds me of the time a cop fired a teargas round inside the sf cop shop. most people need keepers. then there was the time at the range when a drunk cop blew a hole in the trunk of his cop car. most people cant properly use any technical material. terminal case…

Mustang Sally

Nov. 22, 2012, 3:02 p.m.

Here’s a sure bet for you. In the midst of the fiscal cliff, as we debate cuts in real programs that help real Americans, as we debate new taxes that no one can afford, our lovely Congress will find a way to spend millions more on this pork barrel program buying more stuff that doesn’t work.

Too bad,, we could have some real money to spend on real people’s real problems if we just got rid of the entire Department of Homeland Security.  And probably be more secure in the bargain without these Keystone Cops wasting our money.

The funny part is that anyone could buy radios that talk to each other at Radio Shack.  Or, there’s this newfangled invention called cell-phones they might want to investigate.

Not to worry, when the financial train wreck reaches its full crisis mode, it is apparent that the government is so corrupted and infiltrated, that it will never help ordinary Americans, who begin to riot due to hyper-inflated food prices and rampant joblessness due to 30+ years of out-sourcing to the new NWO economy, led by China, these radios and their discreet and secure radio settings will come into use…

Come on now, the main reason DHS bought these radios wasn’t to facilitate communication within DHS but to transfer $430 million from taxpayers to the supplier.  They can dump the radios in the ocean now, they’ve fulfilled their primary purpose.

WITH $60 MILLION OF THAT $430 MILLION SPENT ON RADIOS THAT NOBODY CAN EFFECTIVELY USE, AMERICA COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE FOLLOWING:

MILLIONS OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE NOW; MILLIONS OF MORTGAGES SAVED NOW; MILLIONS OF STUDENT LOAN DEBTS CLEARED NOW; BILLIONS OF SOCIAL SECURITY COSTS SAVED NOW; AND THOUSANDS OF VETERANS THANKED NOW-INCLUDING HOMELESS VETERANS!

      THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM AND STABILITY ACT (EFSA)
                PLAN A: 
There are 50-60 million baby boomers who remain employed in the work force. We suggest that the United States government offer each of those employed baby boomers $1 million dollars each, tax free, as severance to retire from their employment within 30 days of receipt of the $1 million dollar severance with the following stipulations:

I.      The new EFSA retiree MUST cease their current employment and not hire on as an employee anywhere in America ever again. 50-60 million job openings will occur –
II.      The new EFSA retiree MUST buy a new AMERICAN made energy saving, green rated automobile. With 50-60 million new American made vehicles ordered the auto industry will once again become stable and solvent with jobs and needed resources enjoying economic growth- Employment, Environment and Auto Industry fixed.
III.      The new EFSA retiree MUST either buy an American house/condo or pay off their existing mortgage thereby increasing jobs, and stabilizing the housing and mortgage issues.
IV.    The new EFSA retiree MUST purchase a life insurance policy to insure that those who depend on them for support will be taken care of in the event of untimely death or medical setback.
V.      The new EFSA retiree MUST purchase and carry yearly medical, dental and vision coverage for themselves and their dependents, decreasing healthcare costs and burdens for the nation, and ensure continued wellbeing and quality of life.
VI.    The new EFSA retiree MUST forfeit all future Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid benefits.

  AMERICAN VETERAN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SACRAFICE ACT (AOS)

1.    20 ACRES OF AMERICAN LAND AND AN AMERICAN MADE TRUCK (NEW OR USED) WILL BE PROVIDED ALL HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERANS.
2.    VETERANS MUST GROW SOMETHING FOR THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY ON THE LAND.
3.    VETERANS CANNOT SELL, CONVEY, USE AS COLLATERAL OR TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF THE LAND
FOR 20 YEARS. 
4.    THE LAND CAN BE INHERITED BY DEPENDENTS OF THE VETERAN BUT CANNOT BE SOLD, CONVEYED, USED AS COLLATERAL OR TRANSFERRED OUT OF THE FAMILY FOR 20 YEARS.
5.    VETERANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR STEWARDSHIP OF THE LAND TO INCLUDE ALL WASTE CREATED ON THE LAND.
6.    THE LAND CANNOT BE A BLIGHT ON THE COMMUNITY, OR THE LAND CAN BE RECOVERED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

        STUDENTS TO PROFESSIONALS ACT – (STP)

THIS PROGRAM WAS CREATED TO CONNECT HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS TO EMPLOYERS WHO WILL ACT AS BENEFACTORS, MENTORS AND INVESTORS IN THE STUDENTS’ FUTURE PROFESSION.

1.    A SPONSORED STUDENT WILL WORK SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS OF EACH SUMMER ATER THEIR SOPHOMORE YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL UNTIL THEY GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL, AS AN INTERN WITH THE EMPLOYER-SPONSOR WHO HAS CONTRACTED TO INVEST IN THE STUDENT’S COLLEGE OR TRADE SCHOOL TUITION.

2.    ONCE THE STUDENT GRADUATES FROM THE COLLEGE OR TRADE SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE, THE STUDENT WILL WORK ONE YEAR FOR THE EMPLOYER-SPONSOR FOR EVERY YEAR THE EMPLOYER-SPONSOR FUNDED THAT STUDENT’S EDUCATION OR TRAINING.

3.    SAID EMPLOYMENT WILL BE AT A COMPETITIVE RATE OF PAY, WAGE, SALARY AS DETERMINED BY THE MARKET AT THE TIME OF COMPLETION OF COLLEGE OR TRAINING.

4.    CONTRACT AND NEGOTIATIONS REGARDING COLLEGE/TRAINING TUITION/EXPENSES AND EMPLOYER REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE DEFINED BY ARBITRATION AND STANDARDS DETERMINED BY THE DEPT OF LABOR.

With the implementation of these simple SEVERANCE, VETERAN & STUDENT ACTS, America’s economy, spirit, and future will exponentially expand beyond the nation’s current burdens and constraints, with prosperity and renewed -
      AN INVEST IN AMERICANS (I AM AMERICA) – SOLUTION.

Why does Janet Napolitano still have a job?

To Graville Scott,
Yes, the system works and works well.  However, in my state, Alaska, we have only two qualified master programmers.  We also have no repeaters off the main highway system—85% of the state is without coverage and there are many blackholes even on the highway.  At one exercise, troops could not communicate even when they were in sight of each other.  We fixed this with simplex VHF radios as every man in the unit is a ham.  Command was confounded as to why our radios were booming and theirs were hash.  However, as soon as we tried to explain and train, we lost them.  I then demonstrated that I could hit a commercial repeater 67 miles away with my 5 watt HT and a few tricks while their rubber duckie 3 watter could not hit one 3 miles away. As soon as you discuss technology, their eyes glaze.

With 400 channels in 4 banks, that is a lot of programming.  That is like pre-loading the L.A. phone book in your cell phone—you have the numbers but who do you call?  This still better than the old days when calling up a federal agency was romp through a RolaDex—during normal business hours—NO federal “911!”

We spent two years training part time to get to this level but many troops denigrated “com” and like command, thought that a magic radio system can work and were non-coop with training.  Listen but not learn.

Well, our high Command does understand and “worst case” com is now the rule.  We presume all repeaters, computers and com centers will be down like 911 or Katrina or worse and it will be a simplex world.  We are now moving to major HF capability for everyone from the State and National Guard to the Red Cross.  However, we have more radios than we have qualified radiomen.  We also maintain com on every other system and work closely with the ham emergency community as they are they only ones that seem to be up when everything goes down.  We say, “The situation is BAD (the batteries are dead)!” 

We knew this advanced system needed back up. Many police agencies maintained 100 watt FM simplex in cars and 200 watt simplex base stations NOT intergrated with the “advanced” system. (Narrow banding not withstanding)

However, it still is nice to get on your own advances hand held and talk to every man in your force statewide.  All it takes is training and a will to understand the limits of technology.  But one more “X” Solar Flare and we will all be back to CW on ELF—no 20GB credit card swipers!  Jim

P.S.  To others reading this ham rag chew, this issue is a lot more complex than any politics—there is NO political solution, there is only the laws of physics.

A perfect example of a fascist police system demanding unlimited resources it can’t even MANAGE! For this we throw grandma under the train? For this we throw away education? $430 Million is chump change you don’t even need a receipt for? How about a few more drug war prisons? Surely that will give us more ‘safety!’

zap rowsdower

Nov. 23, 2012, 9:21 a.m.

the DHS is a purely Republican creation stop trying to blame Obama

Watch this time, How efficiently Brilliant Obama takes care of the balancing machine of North-American economy!

WASTE FRAUD AND ABUSE in all the defense systems - because they are funded not based on logic but based on FEAR-MONGERING.

My first time on this site.  Impressed with the investigations and content.  as to the homeland security radio story, seems like typical government ‘miscommunication and definately a breakdown between the boots on the ground and the ones who were supposed to be training others how to use these radios.  not a bad idea, but if the trainers aren’t trained on the equipment how can they train others?

Janet Napolitano is an incompetent fool and deserves to be fired. John Pistole is a sick, twisted criminal and deserves to be prosecuted. And all the Americans who fall for this fear-mongering crap need to go back to 5th grade civics. And grow a spine.

Yeah, I’m holding my breath.

Find out who manufactured the radios, who sold them to DHS,
who ordered them at DHS and see how big the kickback was and who got it.  Isn’t that what supplying government is all about?

Thanks Gary. You are getting at the heart of the issue.

Smart thinking, feasible & talented.

clarence swinney

Nov. 25, 2012, 5:46 p.m.

Bush Tax Cuts, Payroll Tax Cuts, Sequestred Spending cuts.
A great debate on each. No good solutions. People get hurt
on each. Result of tax cuts was more debt debt debt.
Spending cuts mean loss of jobs in federal government.
Each party is playing talk politics not common sense positive solutions.
Have you any?

Typical,
waste of tax payer dolllars.
I live and work this stuff daily globaly.
HMS did not write specs for a system they let the contractor do it just as the Pentagon now does.
So you get what the contractor says you need. HMD dose not have people on staff who understand this stuff ti this level. It takes some one with hands on experince operating a system like this and then be ablr to teach it to some one else in 8th grade language level.

Problem is the DHS is full of retired Military officers from services who are suppose to be signals qualified.
Well folks signlas qualified today is 99 percent computers. some sergeant pulls up with a van hooks up computer and wola you get all those comms and more .

These offices are not trained in the use of VHF, UHF systems any more. It is called combat net radio and most military officers do not under stand it either…But give them a computer then they are comms officers; named IA Officer not signals officer any more…

The DHS needs to hire a bunch of retied Army and mMine corp Master Sergeants who are qualified communications specialist in this arena of communications like in ( Where the rubber meets the road) deqaling with people who use it, training people not a nd office desk jockey.

Ah the radios probably want even net..

Trained Frequency manager and work it daily. yea school trainned not associated trainned. 30 plus years of experince, but sell it to some office jock and computer geek???

clarence swinney

Nov. 26, 2012, 4:41 p.m.

AMERICA, WHAT CHANGED YOU SO MUCH FROM PROSPEROUS TO FAILED MIDDLE CLASS AND ALLOWED YOU TO RANK #4 ON INEQUALITY IN OECD NATIONS???

My Take:
Tax Code changes favoring wealth
Reagan + Bush II tax gifts to the top incomes
Wars—-10—- involvement initiated by 3 Republican Presidents since 1980.
Repeal Glass Steagall—10 Too Big To Fail banks to carry 80% of Deposits of 7000 Banks
Modernization of Commodity Markets—-Allow build Casino Derivative Of America
world’s largest gaming house.
Butchering of Savings and Loan Industry.
#1—Multi nationals shipping entire industries overseas for low labor costs
Decline of Manufacturing and incline of Financial Industry
Increased zoom in costs of Health Care, Military and College Education.
What is your add on or take on this problem?? clarence swinney

The Department of Homeland Security is a master plan of Fraud Waste and Abuse.  Who needs them?  The Federal Government is duplicating effort when there are so many other Law Enforcement Agencies doing the same duties as Homeland Security.  More un-wanted and un-needed bureaucracy.  As for the communications gear, did they turn the On/Off Switch to “ON”?????

clarence swinney

Nov. 27, 2012, 12:28 p.m.

Health Care Premium costs compared to USA
Australia –45%
Japan—41%
France –33%
UK—-22%
New Zealand—19%
Hong Kong—16%
Germany—15%
Canada—13%
Mexico—12%
Many below 10%

This isn’t a question of competence, is it?  I mean, I’m all for calling the TSA gorillas out when they do something wrong, but these are surely custom rigs.  If a fifth of them can be programmed to hit the right frequency automatically, why aren’t all of them?

I mean, very few of us here knows how to contact a server and interpret the resulting signal over an ethernet cable or wifi to read a webpage, but none of us HAS to do that.  Somebody at Microsoft or Mozilla or Google or wherever did it for us.

I have a lot of respect for folks like James who can work wonders with a radio, but organizationally, it’s a hell of a lot more effective to build the smarts into the equipment than train bureaucrats to do what he does.

The question isn’t why there’s a need for this (of all the things the TSA has bought, this should be as close to “beyond question” as it gets—secure, national, uninterruptable communications are clearly useful for “national security,” if we accept the premise in the first place), but why they’re garbage that needs an expert to use.

I mean, would it be a fireman’s fault if he couldn’t ride the horse that was assigned to him?  Or if he couldn’t pack enough water into the bucket they gave him to put out a large fire?  Is it the fault of the company who filled the order?  No, it’s whoever selected the tools.

And I note that the TSA’s report is mysteriously quiet about that part of the deal.

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