Congress: $15 Billion in Failed DHS Contracts
The Post's Dana Hedgpeth reports today that $15 billion in contracts given out by the Department of Homeland Security have been plagued by cost overruns, delays or cancellations, according to data gathered by the House Committee on Homeland Security. The committee is holding a hearing with homeland security experts today on its findings.
Several of the problems with the contracts were first exposed by Washington Post investigations.
Details of the contracts after the jump...
* In the U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater program, where ships were built and then scrapped, about $351 million was wasted or not subjected to proper oversight. In December 2006, Post reporters Renae Merle and Spencer S. Hsu reported: "A multibillion-dollar effort to modernize the Coast Guard's fleet has suffered delays, cost increases, design flaws and, most recently, the idling of eight 123-foot patrol boats that were found to be not seaworthy after an $88 million refurbishment."
* A $10 billion program called US VISIT, a computer system designed to record the entry and exit of visitors to the United States at airports and border crossings, is behind schedule and not well managed. In May 2005, Post reporters Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr. reported: "Documents and interviews with people familiar with the program, called US-VISIT, show that government officials are betting on speculative technology while neglecting basic procedures to ensure that taxpayers get full value from government contractors."
* The airport baggage screener project. Higham and O'Harrow reported in May 2005 that the contract to hire airport passenger screeners grew to $741 million from $104 million in less than a year. In June 2005, O'Harrow and Higham reported that Eclipse Events Inc., a company formed by two women with ties to the travel industry that received a $1.1 million no-bid subcontract for the screener program, saw their contract balloon to $24 million within a year, including $5.4 million to pay the salary of one of the principals for nine month's work. A Defense Contract Audit Agency report obtained by The Washington Post said auditors could not substantiate $15 million of the work invoiced by Eclipse. A subsequent Post story in October 2005 revealed that DHS officials had no documentation to justify a change in the screener contract that increased its cost by $343 million.
Here is the congressional committee's summary of the flawed contracts:
By The Editors |
September 17, 2008; 5:01 PM ET
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