Reacting to criticism that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s spending has been unfocused and at times wasteful, Secretary Michael Chertoff vowed yesterday to send more money to cities and other targets most likely to be hit by terrorists, reports the New York Times. “Our philosophy, our decision-making, our operational activities and our spending must be grounded in risk management as we determine how to best organize to prevent, respond and recover from attacks,” Chertoff told a House appropriations panel considering the $41 billion 2006 budget for the department, up 7 percent from this year.
Chertoff said he would not hesitate to restructure formulas for distributing more than $2 billion a year in local and state grants. “We will analyze the threats and define our mission holistically and exhaustively, then seek to adapt the department to meet those threats,” he said. Committee chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said, “Whether you are from rural or urban areas, we want the money distributed based on an objective assessment of the risk and the threat.” Subcommittee members of both parties said they were losing patience with the two-year-old agency, which one member described as dysfunctional. “The honeymoon is probably over,” said Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee. “They are going to expect us to start to hold you more accountable.”