The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at another questionable use of Homeland Security funding–$2 million spent for a school “cyber-security” program. The money bought computer equipment and paid for community college faculty members from California to train at the Community College of Allegheny County. The program was a new cyber-security curriculum, developed for use at community colleges nationwide under a Defense Department award of nearly $2 million that went to CCAC and Carnegie Mellon University.
The grant, part of a widening flow of Homeland Security dollars earmarked by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was supposed to safeguard America’s businesses from threats to their computer systems and databases. But after faculty training was complete, the colleges were told the program was shutting down and that curriculum updates and support were no longer guaranteed. No reason was given. The government expected to build a program for at least 1,000 students. The actual enrollment was about 70 over three years. The institute formed at CCAC to fuel the program’s spread has shut down. Five of the eight charter colleges said they either suspended the classes for lack of interest or gave up trying to implement them amid confusion and delays.