Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 25, 2007

DHS S&T Under GAO Microscope

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on June 25, 2007

Sincere apologies for the absence.  Just coming up for air and noticed a new release from the Government Accountability Office taking DHS to task on yet another front.  This time the S&T Directorate is in its crosshairs.  Seems the full-speed-ahead approach taken by Under Secretary (ADM) Cohen left some knotty little details undone.  According to GAO:

The S&T fiscal year 2007 expenditure plan, including related documentation and other information provided by program officials, did not fully satisfy the conditions set forth in the Appropriations Act.

Minor detail.  

The current trajectory of S&T spending — accounting notwithstanding, apparently — represents a good start toward energizing what has been a difficult mission space to manage.  This deck used by U/S Cohen at a presentation hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science provides a quick overview of the solutions they’re aiming for.  (You can also see this post about a Congressional hearing in March at which both U/S Cohen and I testified.)  Take a look at the org chart in particular and you’ll notice the “Human Factors” division, which is led by Sharla Rausch. I’ve met her a few times and I believe she might have the most interesting portfolio of the group.

While a good portion of it deals with understanding the process of radicalization as a spectrum from sympathetic to operational, she also takes a look at leadership challenges for the stressed decision maker at the federal, state, or local level during a crisis in order to identify best practices and to support technology that can in turn support the decision maker.  We did some work at CSP on crisis leadership in partnership with Sweden’s version of DHS late last year.  Dr. Rausch attended and discussed some of her team’s interests.  I’ll be curious to see any developments on that front. 

Update 6/26: CQ’s Rob Margetta ran a piece today about the GAO report with a more technical run-down of its findings.  He notes also that U/S Cohen will testify tomorrow before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology about the Directorate’s strategic plans.

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June 25, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

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