12 July 2006

Homeland Security Lacks Priorities

The Department of Homeland Security has a database of 77,069 "assets" which is used to allocate funds. All of them are given an equal ranking. It doesn't prioritize at all.

For example:

[T]he Brooklyn Bridge or Hoover Dam have the same value to the nation as the least significant asset included in the database. And what are some of those low-caliber assets? The report provides a sampling, and oh what a list it is. Some highlights:

Old MacDonald’s petting zoo
Bean Fest
Nix’s Check Cashing
Amer. Society of Young Musicians
Trees of Mystery
Kennel Club and Poker Room
Historical Bok Sanctuary
4 Cs Fuel and Lube
Kangaroo Conservation Center
Bourbon Festival
Jay’s Sporting Goods
Groundhog Zoo
Sweetwater Flea Market
High Stakes Bingo
Frontier Fun Park
Mule Day Parade
Beach at End of [a] Street
Amish Country Popcorn
[a] Pepper and Herb Company
Order of Elks National Memorial
Donut Shop
Casket Company
Muzzle Shoot Enterprise
Several Wal-Marts
Apple and Pork Festival
Yacht Repair Business
Anti-Cruelty Society

. . . . The state of New Mexico apparently contains 73% of the critical assets in IT sector nationwide, according to the database. New York has only 2% of the nation's banking and finance assets - trailing North Dakota & Missouri. Indiana has more tall buildings than Illinois, home to skyscraper city Chicago. And so on.

Not surprisingly, the main effect of this system is to shortchange New York City and Washington D.C. which have been the subject of more international terrorism incidents than any place else in the nation. How many international terrorist incidents have been aimed at "Jay's Sporting Goods" or "4 C's Fuel and Lube."

What bureaucratic ninny came up with this abomination? Alas, this is our nation's chief anti-terrorism agency hard at work protecting you and I.

The Cold War had duck and cover drills. We have homeland security grants to protect the Mule Day Parade. I guess the first decade of the 21st century needed to get some local color somehow.

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