Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Coast Guard, its equipment, and the Great Lakes

The New York Times (registration required) featured a stunning story this morning about another multi-billion dollar Homeland Security security screw-up -- this time a Coast Guard fleet-building program that has resulted in unsafe ships and has "compromised the Coast Guard's ability to fulfill its mission....The service has been forced to cut back on patrols and, at times, ignore tips from other federal agencies about drug smugglers. The difficulties will only grow more acute in the next few years as old boats fail and replacements are not ready."

The Coast Guard's modernization program turned into a fleet fiasco after program management was turned over to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, two large military contractors.

My question is this: why does the Coast Guard think dumping thousands of lead bullets into the Great Lakes during live fire exercises will keep us safer when its most fundamental equipment -- its fleet -- is screwed up? And why should we trust one major Homeland Security contractor, CH2M Hill, when it assures us thousands of bullets won't harm the lakes' water quality when Homeland Security has proved itself so inept and/or corrupt in the contracting process?

No comments: