Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 12, 2006

Missouri audit critiques state’s homeland security

Filed under: State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on May 12, 2006

The St. Louis Post Dispatch published an interesting story yesterday about a state audit of homeland security activities in Missouri:

Missouri’s homeland security program relies on law enforcement agencies that still can’t communicate with each other, protective equipment that remains stored in warehouses, and a terrorist-monitoring center that’s shut down at night and on weekends.

Those were the chief findings of an audit released Thursday by state Auditor Claire McCaskill….

The findings show that Missouri lags behind many of its Midwestern neighbors in preparedness when it comes to homeland security and intelligence monitoring, McCaskill said.

The audit covered the state’s two most recent fiscal years, 2004 and 2005, ending last June 30. All but six months were during Holden’s tenure.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Missouri has received $175 million for homeland security measures but has spent only $72 million, McCaskill said. The audit said that some money had not been well-spent.

It noted that the state has distributed almost 19,000 pieces of protective suits or equipment to local law enforcement around the state. But McCaskill said that most equipment was not readily available and still in boxes stored in warehouses.

This is a solid report, and a model for what all states should be doing to audit and assess their homeland security performance. Too many states are not transparent when it comes to the questions of what are they doing to prepare and how are they spending federal homeland security grant money – I’ve run into many dead-ends trying to research these topics over the past few years. States have the right and duty to complain about DHS, but they need to also be accountable for their actions. Any lack of public accountability creates risks that states are lagging in their efforts or spending money unwisely, both of which have the effect of undermining security.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 13, 2006 @ 3:58 am

Having taught Missouri police and fire chiefs (local government) last fall I am sure they would agree with your comment. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations is putting out news releases stating that $37.5B has been sent by the FEDS to first responders since 9/11. If this is true, then something is happening at the state level and not just Missouri because the money has not shown up at the local level. The states are allowed to manipulate overhead charges through OMB Circular A-87 (that circular should be repealed and a statutory overhead rate for all federal grants administered by the states should be adopted) but in the meantime disclosure is very important in facilitating accountability at the state level. And by the way most states don’t really have many first responders at the state level. State Fire Marshall’s for example are administrators not responders. This means without mutual aid agreements, local governments have to rely on themselves with little or no resources or personnel from the state level. This is not a federalism issue so-much as one of competing bureacracy.

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