DHS communications do not work with other law enforcement agencies

Seal of the United States Department of Homela...Image via Wikipedia
Washington Times:

Federal law enforcement officers from different agencies soon will be able to talk to each other on their own radios in the Washington area - but the Department of Homeland Security will not be a part of the new system.

The Justice Department this month is rolling out a new state-of-the-art interoperable tactical communications system in the national capital region. Called IWN, for Integrated Wireless Network, the new system addresses long-standing problems with existing legacy radio systems highlighted by communications failures on Sept. 11 and during Hurricane Katrina.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes some of the federal government's largest law enforcement agencies - and which is responsible for leading national efforts on interoperable communications - will not be a part of it, however. Officials said DHS may participate in the system in other parts of the country, but not in the capital area, a decision made in 2007.

DHS was lacking two things that are essential in the federal government for big projects like IWN to succeed, according to a former federal official with close knowledge of the issue, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivities of his current employer.

"You need someone to be in charge and you need a place to put the money," said the former official, "DHS had neither."

The component agencies within DHS, like the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), each have their own legacy communications systems, and there was no power center in the department that could force them to work together on modernization.

This sounds like a failure of leadership by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the President either of who should have been able to force cooperation. The President doesn't have much trouble jerking around oil drillers, but he can't seem to control his own employees.
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