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Staying On Track

November 15, 2007 Keeping tabs on foreign visitors as they arrive has been a surprising information technology success. Noting their departure promises to be much harder. Asa Hutchinson likes to joke about the time he had 30 days to spend $350 million. It was the end of August 2003, and Hutchinson was the...

DHS office seeks to coordinate anti-bomb efforts

November 12, 2007 Sometimes when he hears the telephone, Charlie Payne has a scary thought. "Every time my phone rings at an odd time, I wonder if it's started," he says. Payne, chief of the Office for Bombing Prevention at the Homeland Security Department, is referring to terrorist bombings in the United States....

Video: A Feel For Numbers

November 6, 2007 "What if we fought terrorism using hard data instead of gut feelings and partisan politics?" That's the question Zack Phillips asked in a feature story in the Oct. 1, 2007, issue of Government Executive. After all, the Labor Department has the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Commerce Department has the...

Erasing IEDs

November 1, 2007 The Office of Bombing Prevention doesn't cut red and green wires, but it tries to cut red tape for those who do. Sometimes when he hears the telephone, Charlie Payne has a scary thought. "Every time my phone rings at an odd time, I wonder if it's started," he says....

Homeland Security issues contract for presidential transition planning help

October 3, 2007 The Homeland Security Department has hired a Washington-based nonprofit organization to help plan for the changeover to a new presidential administration in January 2009. DHS awarded a sole-source contract to the Council for Excellence in Government to conduct a range of activities aimed at ensuring a seamless transition to new...

A Feel For Numbers

October 1, 2007 What if we fought terrorism using hard data instead of gut feelings and partisan politics? Alan B. Krueger has something that most of us do not. He calls it "numbers sense." After decades of working with data, the Princeton University economist has an intuition when it comes to statistics. He...

Watchdog finds DHS division improperly transferred funds

September 21, 2007 A branch of the Homeland Security Department improperly transferred money between appropriation accounts in 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office. DHS' Preparedness Directorate developed a complex system to pool funds from different appropriations accounts to pay for directoratewide management and administrative needs in fiscal 2006. But according to a...

Economist warns against vague statements on security threats

September 13, 2007 The government appears to be fighting a data-free war on terror, instead of using data analysis to inform policy decisions, a Princeton economist said this week. Government officials should avoid making vague statements about terrorism that have little empirical basis, said Alan Krueger, a professor of economics and public affairs...

Lawmakers concerned over slow pace of anthrax vaccine acquisition

September 11, 2007 More than three months have passed since the Health and Human Services Department closed an early solicitation for anthrax vaccine, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to know the results. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and six other panel members wrote HHS Secretary...

Watchdog finds gaps in DHS visitor tracking program

September 5, 2007 Despite "ample opportunity," the Homeland Security Department has failed to meet some congressional requirements and recommendations for a multibillion dollar system to track visitor entries and exits, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report (GAO-07-1065) stated that though DHS met some of the legislative mandates...

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