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Friday, January 8, 2010

Damn, What Are We Paying For?

There is definite evidence that the money we spend on national security is often frittered away in the bowels of a gigantic bureaucracy over which we have no control. The recent attempt by some misguided Muslim to blow his balls and the side of a jet to kingdom come over Detroit is an excellent example. How much did it cost us to pay for the fools who missed the warning signs of that event and how much more will it continue to cost us? What kind of genius does it take to recognize that a Muslim flying alone, one way, with no luggage, and whose father had called two agencies about how radical his nutty son had become, IS A DANGER?

According to what I can discover, and it ain’t easy, there are in the neighborhood of 200,000 employees at Homeland Security. I did not find that on the website for the agency; one cannot find out stuff like how many people do you hire, what do they get paid, how much does the boss make, etc. on government websites (at least I can’t and I am a fair researcher.)

BUT here are some things I did find out: the Department of Homeland Security, according to their (our)website, has 16, count them, components including National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), The Office of Policy(TOP), Office of Operations Coordination (OOC), and the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), plus 12 more departments. The NPPD has 6 components (their term) or branches; TOP has 7 components; the OOC looks to have 2 sectors, the TSA I cannot tell how many components it has, but the site claims “ Twenty Layers of Security” including Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR),and this agency of course is made up of inspectors and air marshals.

Here’s a challenge: go to the main site of Homeland Security, http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/, and browse it. Does it seem like Homeland Security is interested more in PR than in delivering information (pay special attention to TSA), or is just grumpy old me making another naive observation. Does it appear that we are getting good value for the money spent on this multi-layered, ginormous bureaucracy? Browse the site like a L.L. Bean catalog and see if you can find what an item costs, what anyone earns.

Here’s a better challenge: download the 2009 budget of Homeland Security; it is only 3,574 pages long (you may NOT cheat and read the “budget brief”). Print it out, take it home for the weekend, and read it. Sure read it; you are a citizen and ought to know what your taxes are being spent for, and that is the only way to know if you are getting value for your dollar. Oh yes, quiz on Monday.

BTW1: Homeland Security got a 6.8 percent increase in its budget for 2010.
BTW2: Department of Defense lists 800,000 civilian employees.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is there any way that you could make it an open-book quiz??

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