The U.S. Department of Homeland Security began to take shape five years ago this month. It involved the unprecedented merger of two dozen agencies and 200,000 federal employees. More than $200 billion later, the department faces low morale, missed deadlines, and continued questions about its effectiveness, National Public Radio reports in the first of a three-part series.
High employee turnover and low morale continue to hound DHS. Last year, it had the lowest job-satisfaction rating of 36 agencies. The department says it is trying to improve, with more training and opportunities for advancement. Critics say radiation-detection equipment at ports is better at detecting kitty litter than dangerous weapons. Borders are so porous that congressional investigators carrying simulated nuclear materials walked across unchallenged. “Often they will cite as an accomplishment simply the fact of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Well, it takes more than a department called Homeland Security to secure the homeland,” said ex-inspector general Clark Kent Ervin. “The department has to work, and the department doesn’t work.”