Much of the media has been reporting in recent days on the new report out on the abject failure of DHS to meet congressionally-mandated goals. Most of these were put in place after the creation of the Department following the September 11th disasters in 2001.
Giving DHS some credit, they have tried to make something out of the patch quilt the Bush Administration created under its umbrella. The real questions, though, lie in what has really been achieved by DHS since their creation. They take credit for getting rid of the private inspectors guarding the Nation's airports (You remember them--they got us through secuity in about one-third the current time), and replaced that patchwork with the Transportation Security Agency--arguably one of the most incompetant federal agencies out there. TSA did manage to briefly drain the unemployment backlog at the local employment offices in their search for employees in the new organization. That is certainly creditable. Then, of course, there is their virtually immediate response to the great shoe scare. If everybody takes of their shoes for inspection, then any bomb will blow up in the center of the crowd, rather than simply blow off the person's feet.
Some may also remember that Secretary Chertoff promised two months ago to eliminate the shoe removal--it still hasn't happened, and the local TSA storm troopers say it never will--not on their watch.
The only reall shining light in the merger is between the old Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs. Still some kinks there, but at least they are on relatively friendly terms. Otherwise, the great DHS merger has been a dismal failure, propped up only by the inability to return to status quo, because the Government does not know how to dismantle failing organizations.
In fairness, not all of this is DHSs fault. The members of the Congress and the Senate went to great lengths to insert goals and requirements into DHS legislation, and that has caused significant problems. it was the House of Representatives that gave us the Bic lighter ban. That has really proven to be a real fighter against terrorism. Add to that the small screwdriver ban; the extra laptop battery ban, and others, and you have an agency that can't even start to develop coherent national policy, because the Congress is keeping it busy with useless and stupid trivia.
Perhaps if the administration made a practice of appointing professionals to organizations such as this, instead of Wall Street Lawyers, and horse breeders, we might have an effective national homeland security policy in place, with real objectives, and goals, and real plans for the future. Instead we have FEMA, still planning how to get supplies to New Orleans.