The cost of security: 7 years of spending by the DHS

here’s an interesting paper out by Veronique De Rugy of George Mason University, with some disturbing statistics as to how much money we’re spending right now as a nation on security.

This does not included DOD spending — just the Department of Homeland Security:

TSA will receive $7.1 billion this year, most of which it will spend on screeners at all US airports.

However, the probability of attacks in the style of 9/11 dropped close to zero in the few months after the attacks when airlines installed—at relatively low cost—simple cockpit barricades. In theory then, another 9/11 type of attack cannot happen.

Since September 2001, however, screening every bag of every airline passenger to prevent another 9/11 type of attack will cost taxpayers over $34 billion by the end of FY2009.

Furthermore, screening checked bags does not necessarily reduce the probability of the destruction of airplanes since screeners do not systematically check carry-on bags, air freight, or people for explosives.

This year CBP officers processed over 422.9 million individuals at the ports and found 209,000 aliens to be inadmissible. As this number represents 0.05 percent of all the people being processed, it means that the cost of stopping one person at the border is enormous.

While the cost might be worth it, DHS makes no attempt to measure the performance of this program and determine whether it is giving Americans an efficient use of their homeland security dollars.

and…The absence of any furtherattacks on American soil does not necessarily mean that the country’s security has significantly improved.

It could just mean that we have not been attacked. Unfortunately, many studies have shown that the government is using a substantial portion of new homeland security spending for politically motivated items that are unlikely to have any effect on terrorism.

Six years after the 9/11 attacks, homeland security contains as much pork barrel spending as any program in Congress.

Both Congress and the states spend homeland security grants on pet projects that have nothing to do with homeland security.

As state officials fight over who will get the biggest share of the money and Congress fights yesterday’s battles, who is planning for tomorrow?

It is extraordinary to me that Jack Welch, a revered and supremely accomplished business executives, worked very hard to effectively run a conglomerate with 50,000 employees (and it took him years to get it right).

Michael Chertoff, whose management claims prior to running DHS was largely as a lawyer, is expected to run an organization with over 100,000 employees. How this can even possibly run efficiently is beyond me.

Furthermore, with constant fear-mongering, Congress is happy to continue to fund so much waste that it would make even ill even the most wanton and dissolute spendthrift.

This is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Link here (pdf).