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Inspector General Criticizes Work On Wireless

March 29, 2007  | 

The federal government has spent $195 million on a long-promised wireless radio network for the nation's law enforcement agencies that is at "high risk of failure," the Justice Department's inspector general reported yesterday.

According to the Washington Post, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine blamed delays, funding shortfalls, and infighting among the Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury departments, whose 81,000 agents are expected to use the $5 billion system when it is completed by 2021.

For example, the Justice Department has spent almost two-thirds of $772 million that Congress provided for the program over six years to maintain its existing, antiquated radio systems instead of advancing the new program, called the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN), Fine reported. The Department of Homeland Security, saying it cannot afford to wait for results, is going its own way to develop communications systems for specific regions and its immigration and Border Patrol agencies.

The federal partnership is "fractured in its approach and disjointed in its goals," Fine reported. "The system that results from this partnership likely will not be the seamless, interoperable system that was originally envisioned and . . . may not be adequate in the event of another terrorist attack or national disaster."

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