"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) includes an amalgamation of organizations that work together to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other threats. Such collaboration requires that components establish effective communication among external and internal partners during operations. DHS established an internal goal of developing interoperable radio communications and identified common channels, and its components invested about $430 million in equipment, infrastructure, and maintenance to meet communication requirements. We performed this audit to determine whether DHS' oversight ensured achievement of Department-wide interoperable radio communications. DHS did not provide effective oversight to ensure that its components achieved Department-wide interoperable radio communications. It did not establish an effective governing structure that had the authority and responsibility to oversee its goal of achieving Department-wide interoperability. Without a governing structure, DHS had limited interoperability policies and procedures, and component personnel did not have interoperable radio communications. As a result, only 1 of 479 radio users tested could access and communicate using the specified common channel. Further, of the 382 radios tested, only 20 percent (78) contained all the correct program settings for the common channel. Until DHS develops an effective governing structure and makes a concerted effort to attain Department-wide interoperability, overall progress will remain limited. We made two recommendations to improve DHS' oversight of interoperable radio communications. DHS did not concur with the first recommendation and concurred with the second and is taking action to implement the recommendation."
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Report No. OIG-13-06
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General: http://www.dhs.gov/xoig