Senator Coburn report on waste in Homeland Military spending
Yesterday U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma released “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impacts of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities”, described on his congressional website as a “Report on Questionable Grant Spending at Department of Homeland Security”.
In the introduction to the report Sen. Coburn writes:
If in the days after 9/11 lawmakers were able to cast their gaze forward ten years, I imagine they would be surprised to see how a counter-terrorism initiative aimed at protecting our largest critics has transformed into another parochial grant program. We would have been frustrated to learn that limited federal resources were now subsidizing the purchases of low-priority items like an armored vehicles to protect festivals in rural New Hampshire, procure an underwater robot in Ohio and to pay for first responder attendance at a five-day spa junket that featured a display of tactical prowess in the face of a “zombie apocalypse”
The report then references the highly promoted HALO Strategic Operations training event during Halloween, “a ‘zombie-driven show’ designed to simulate a real-life terrorism event … brought about ‘utilizing Hollywood magic,’” including “pyrotechnic battlefield effects”. This section of the report cites in footnote: “Fake Blood, Real Lessons” in San Diego Business Journal, Nov 2, 2012, AND “Security firm to hold zombie crisis scenario” by Gidget Fuentes in Military Times, Sept 16, 2012 AND “MMC Handles National PR for Strategic Operations @ HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit” from Merrill Marketing Nov 7, 2012, AND “Marines, police prep for mock zombie invasion” by Julie Watson of the Associated Press, Oct 27, 2012, AND links this HALO promotional video:
Incidentally, also in the report: “New York City’s 2011 budget included plans to spend over $24 million in federal homeland security grants to pay overtime to its police department.” Citing an NYC OMB link. I’d wonder how much of that overtime was #occupy related except this OMB budget is from 2010, so they couldn’t have known, right?
Then see also Mark Flatten in Washington Examiner “DHS grants ‘like winning the lottery’ for state, local officials”
Finally, Senator Coburn’s report also notes “Drones Patrolling the Skies Like Never Before” and writes:
In addition to armored vehicles, police departments now are also interested in unmanned aerial vehicles –or drones– which they are getting with the use of homeland security funds. Given the proliferation of military drones used in war operations, local police now want similar equipment in their arsenal of crime-fighting tools.
Presumably, the drone issue is why R2D2 is on the cover of the Senator’s report. Also notable is mention of Long-Range Acoustic Devices or LRAD’s “a non-letha way to repel adversaries … by making a loud and intense sound that is capable of damaging hearing.” citing “DHS helps local police buy military-style sonic devices” in The Washington Times, Oct 1, 2009. (reminds me of the Putin crowd control gun).
The report then goes on to denigrate the ineffectiveness of FEMA grants also and concludes with suggestion for more systematic oversight for DHS preparedness.