Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chrony Capitalism? Chrony HS?

Well thank to Bernard Sanders, Socialist/Independent Representative of Vermont we now know better how an unelected FEDERAL RESERVE spent $12 Trillion rescuing its version of chrony capitalism. Imagine if the investment had been in productive sectors of the economy or even infrastructure. The shocking story did make me think however about HOMELAND SECURITY and DHS.

In reality, a cogent argument could be mounted that DHS and the Homeland Security effort was in fact also chrony capitalism with mostly large-scale DOD contractors getting the bulk of the DHS money without much to show for it except for the incomes and pensions of the corporate types leading that sector.

The most specific example I can give is the almost $60 Billion largely wasted by DHS on IT systems and its destruction of legacy systems (in some cases it has returned to those systems in desperation) and ineffective development and operation of new systems. Hey the vaunted FBI has also partnered in this nearly criminal activity in mishandling its IT systems development and operations.

So now that the picture is becoming clearly out of control then what specific examples of fixes could be adopted.

Here is one! Eliminate TSA and instead develop an Airport Access Control funded also by the travelers but in addition the users of Airports and their owners. This would also elimate the liklihood of ground mounted attacks agains aircraft while on the ground or awaiting takeoff. No longer long passneger lines in the terminal but instead total access control and inspection of cargo and luggage long before it reaches the actual terminal. This also makes for smaller targets for terrorists. And keeps the crowd control and potential for riots or other disturbances to a minimum. The objective of course is reducing the size of the population capable of being targeted at any one time. And of course the airline industry did the best thing of all the chrony capitalists--it got the taxpayer to pick up the total costs of its security burden. No even a single user fee for the service of airline security by TSA. And I estimate not only the total cost of TSA since its inception a direct subsidy to the airlines but almost another $60 Billion subsidy.

Of course their are smaller savings efforts that could be mounted and in retrospect decisions in DHS and FEMA that I would decry. We actually do not know the exact funding of the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery and who the beneficiaries of that "free" disaster relief are and were! This would be a good example for GAO or DHS/OIG to document so that better disaster policy could be made.

Another smaller example is the very very large contract for the NFIP for flood map revision given to Michael Baker/IBM over 5 years that really developed no NEW technical information as required by the National Flood Insurance Act (42 USC 4001 and following) but was just a reflection of better display of mapping data and improved contour intervals. Another example of what could be usefully documented now that NFIP reform is in the air. And by the way I submitted 25 NFIP reform proposals to the NFIP reform website.

Another example would be who benefits from the current system of TAC assistance contracts under the disaster program. Have they really provided the value engineering skills I hoped for in pushing these contracts over 20 years ago.

And how much waste, fraud, and abuse has occurred in the evolution of the FRP (Federal Response Plan) into the National Response Framework (NRF)! Perhaps this was the equivalent of chrony capitalism but for the HS/EM community including the STATES and their local governments.

Well much to be done and very very glad the largely ineffective reign of Congressman Thompson of Mississippi is ending as Chair of the Homeland Security Committee in the HOUSE. A rather unproductive Chairmanship in my opinion that actually hurt HS/EM in the long run.