California’s efforts to improve homeland security are uncoordinated and piecemeal, and the agencies in charge are falling behind in using hundreds of millions of dollars in federal antiterrorism grants, said a Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis reported by the Sacramento Bee. The study found that the state spent only 31 percent of the $869.3 million in federal funds it has received in the past five years to defend against potential terrorist attacks. “The implication is that we have wasted an opportunity here with federal dollars to be prepared,” said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre. Money that sits unspent may be forfeited.
The Rand Corp. and Trust for America’s Health, in independent studies last year, found California lagging in preparing for bioterrorism. Ken August, a spokesman for the state Health Services Department asserted that, “The department is better prepared today than ever before to respond to a terrorist attack. We continue to improve in all areas of our bioterrorism activities.”