Nuclear Detectors at the Border: Goodbye to $4 Billion

Saturday, September 18, 2010
One would think when spending $4 billion to develop new technology that would prevent terrorists from smuggling nuclear weapons into the country, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have at least made sure the equipment could fit at border crossings.
Apparently not.
After four years of working on the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography Systems (CAARS), homeland security officials are nowhere close to installing the detection system designed to spot nuclear bombs or material being shipped across the Mexican or Canadian borders.
One of the key stumbling blocks: The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) disregarded the concerns of the Customs and Border Protection about the size of the new machines.
An investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that the border patrol told DNDO officials the CAARS technology was too big for inspection lanes and that the scanning would slow down the flow of commerce and cause delays at the entry points.
It also didn’t help that the software for CAARS still hasn’t developed to the point where it actually works.
Despite the almost $4 billion spent since 2003 on its nuclear detection program, DHS has not yet even produced a strategic plan to implement a workable system.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Nuclear Detectors a $4 Billion Bust, GAO Says (by Jeff Stein, Washington Post)
Report Criticizes Nuclear Detectors (by Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post)


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