WASHINGTON - As the Department of Homeland Security prepares for its first transition, a series of major projects - including a communication network linking state and locals officials in a crisis, a system to scan shipping containers for terrorist weapons, and a massive border-control initiative - face serious technical delays or cost overruns. Above, President Bush spoke at a ceremony marking the first day with then-Secretary Tom Ridge (second from left). He said Americans "have spent billions on the development of a bio-defense stockpile but they don't have much to show for it."Specialistrs in the field have criticized the process by which the Department of Homeland Security determines which biological threats to defend against.


The department has made some progress improving coordination with state and local officials - the so-called first responders in the event of a disaster - but still has very far to go, according to officials.The Homeland Security Advisory Council, an internal body headed by Judge William L.
Current funding for the government ends today, and the measure would finance most of the government through September 2015.
But major elements of the project, including a network called SBInet to ensure different agencies can coordinate, have been put on hold pending further testing and development.Meanwhile, although recent intelligence assessments have warned that a biological attack poses the greatest terror threat, signature defense measures - including the multibillion-dollar Project Bioshield to stockpile antidotes - have made only limited strides, according to Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security.





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Comments

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