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Homeland Security: Complex Past, Uncertain Future by Rob Margetta

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Unfinished Business

The department has met many of the mandates Congress set out since 2002 to improve national preparedness and deploy security equipment and resources throughout the country. But several initiatives that were at one time heralded by lawmakers as essential have now fallen by the wayside — some, it seems, permanently.

In one prominent case, the 2007 law implementing recommendations from the 9/11 Commission ordered DHS to scan for radiation all cargo coming into the United States. The department modeled a few different scanning scenarios, but ultimately found the requirement unworkable and has spent the past several years asking Congress to repeal it.

A year after the mandate’s 2012 deadline passed, the department was still ...

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