DHS Cancels $6 Billon Program To Detect Bioweapons, With No Plan B

Jared Serbu | Federal News Radio | June 11, 2014

Six weeks ago, amid cost overruns and technological miscalculations, the Department of Homeland Security canceled a $5.8 billion program intended to upgrade the biological weapon detection systems it deployed in the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks in cities thorough America. While DHS says it has fixed the management problems that ultimately doomed that program and several other large acquisitions over the past decade, how the department will screen for bioterrorist attacks going forward remains far from clear.

The Government Accountability Office stated the April cancellation of the BioWatch 3 program was the inescapable result of DHS eventually following its own acquisition policies, and if it had done so from the start of the program in 2008, things likely would have been very different. DHS never conducted a clear-headed analysis of alternatives that took into account the costs and benefits of the technology it ultimately settled on, because DHS components already had reached an internal consensus on the bioweapons system they wanted to deploy, not bothering to take into account whether it was affordable or achievable...