POLITICS
01/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Homeland Security Department In Total Disarray

As the Department of Homeland Security prepares for its first transition, a series of major projects - including a communication network linking state and locals officials in a crisis, a system to scan shipping containers for terrorist weapons, and a massive border-control initiative - face serious technical delays or cost overruns.

In addition, the agency is struggling in its relationship with Congress, where it answers to dozens of committees with jurisdiction over its operations - a chaotic structure that requires a large number of personnel simply to respond to lawmakers' requests. ...

The result, they say, is disarray at the federal department responsible for developing the nation's defenses against terrorism and natural disasters. With a variety of key security measures in limbo - the department has yet to implement laws requiring that maritime cargo be scanned for nuclear materials and that hazardous materials be rerouted around urban areas - the incoming Obama administration is facing what one adviser to the president-elect described as a "superhuman task."

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