K.C Jones, writing in Information Week, describes how the Department of Homeland Security spent $2.1 billion, with not much result, to establish interoperable communications for emergencies. Despite all the money, "… emergency responders still cannot communicate with each other," according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Chertoff says the DHS wants to put forth standard to which communications vendors must adhere. From the article:
The idea is ultimately not to dictate a particular form of product or a particular vendor, but rather to lay down some standards and lay down some guidance about the requirements you think you need to develop a common technology and ensure that your investments going forward, buying your next generation of radios, will promote interoperability rather than greater barriers to communication."
"And I want to be very clear about this. It is not up to industry to come to us and tell us what we need. It is up to us to define the requirements that we need for our first responders and then tell industry, here’s the solution you’ve got to come up with," he said.
For today’s bonus point, here are Michael Chertoff’s profound words on communications during Hurricane Katrina. This quote speaks for itself:
Chertoff said interoperability was not an issue after Hurricane Katrina because emergency responders could not communicate at all.
Geez. Listen Michael, I’ll buy your story cause I’m easy. But dude, why in the world did you already give away the $2.1 billion? Next time, maybe wait till you have those little ducks lined up before you hand out the big bucks. And while I’m on a roll, there is one other thing: why no apology? I mean, isn’t there something wrong with this picture?