Sen. Tom Coburn: Dept. of Homeland Security Failing Five Main Missions


[Above image: Three CBP officers and a Border Patrol agent at the Calexico, California Port of Entry, Feb. 16, 2012. Photo by: Josh Denmark]

On his way out of the door, his final day as a U.S. Senator, Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) released a blistering oversight report that finds the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) isn’t “successfully executing any of its five main missions.”

Coburn’s criticisms include, but also predate, the Obama administration. Among the key findings:

· DHS spent $50 billion over the past eleven years on counterterrorism programs but cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result.

· 700 miles of the Southern border remain unsecured.

· DHS is not effectively administering or enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. Only 3 in 100 illegal immigrants will ever face deportation.

· DHS spends more than $700 million annually to lead the federal government’s efforts on cybersecurity, but struggles to protect itself and cannot protect federal and civilian networks from the most serious cyber attacks.

· DHS has spent $170 billion for natural disasters since 2002, in part because of an increased federal role in which the costs of small storms are declared “major disasters.”

“Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.”–Sen. Tom Coburn

Coburn in part blames DHS’ problems on Congress’ “dysfunctional approach to setting priorities” for the agency.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

For its part, DHS says the nation is much safer since the 9/11 terrorist attacks as the agency has worked to implement many recommendations made in the aftermath.

“While threats persist, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11, more prepared to confront evolving threats, and more resilient in the face of our continued challenges.”–DHS Report

Last year, DHS presented its required Quadrennial Homeland Security Review that discusses challenges to the nation’s homeland security as well as the agency’s ideas for addressing them. The agency has also published its own “success stories.”

Read Sen. Coburn’s report

Read DHS Success Stories

Read DHS Progress Report on 9/11 Recommendations




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