Homeland Security Starts at Home
Why do we not feel suddenly more secure?President Bushs successful drive for a department of Homeland Security is groundbreaking on many levels, not the least of which is the scope of the undertaking. Creation of the new department has been described as the largest overhaul of the federal government in 50 years, producing a new organization with a $38 billion budget and an estimated 170,000 employees assembled from 22 agencies, all focused on stopping terrorism, including attacks of the cyber variety. So why do we not feel suddenly more secure?
The same week Congress was haggling over the details of the new department, another agency, the General Accounting Office, reported that for the second year in a row, most major branches of the federal government had earned failing marks for their efforts to secure internal systems. Nearly two-thirds of the agenciesincluding the Justice Department, Treasury Department, Department of Defense and Federal Emergency Management Agencyhad failed to put even basic security processes in place. Many of the same agencies failed the same GAO review a year ago, including the Interior Department, which, last December, suffered the indignity of having a federal judge order its Web site temporarily offline.