Homeland Security Spends $430M on Radios...

...but nobody knows how to use them

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 21, 2012 4:31 PM CST

(Newser) – The good news is that the Department of Homeland Security has invested $430 million into making sure federal agencies can communicate with each other in emergencies by using special radios tuned to a secure common channel. The bad news, according to a report by the department's inspector general picked up by ProPublica:

  • Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed was able to use the channel
  • 72% didn't know the channel existed
  • 25% knew it existed but couldn't find it
  • 3% could find an older channel, but not the new one

  • Only 20% of radios tested had all the correct settings programmed into them
  • A DHS official acknowledges “some challenges in achieving department-wide interoperable communications goals.”
Read the full story here.

2008 file photo: Then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks at a press conference.
2008 file photo: Then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks at a press conference.   (AP Photo/Alex Jones)
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano talks to the media in a 2009 file photo.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano talks to the media in a 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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