Well, I for one can’t think of any particular reason why this should scare the bejebus out of you:
The Bush administration has failed to fill roughly a quarter of the top leadership posts at the Department of Homeland Security, creating a “gaping hole” in the nation’s preparedness for a terrorist attack or other threat, according to a congressional report to be released today.
As of May 1, Homeland Security had 138 vacancies among its top 575 positions, with the greatest voids reported in its policy, legal and intelligence sections, as well as in immigration agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coast Guard. The vacant slots include presidential, senior executive and other high-level appointments, according to the report by the majority staff of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Well! I mean, it’s not like FEMA does anything.
No, seriously, it’s not like FEMA does anything. Remember the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina? Neither does New Orleans.
Still, I’m sure DHS has a perfectly cromulent reason why we’ve just given up on hiring people to work there:
A DHS spokesman challenged the report’s tally, saying that it is skewed by a sudden expansion this spring in the number of top management jobs. Before then, only 12 percent of positions were unfilled in a department that has always been thinly staffed at headquarters, spokesman Russ Knocke said.
So previously, only 1/8th of all positions were unfilled. Well, that’s great! And I’m sure that a “thinly staffed” headquarters is perfect for a nation facing the threat of terror. You remember, war on terror? That thing that DHS was created to fight? Yeah, neither do they.
At any rate, things can only get better:
One of the continuing problems appears to be the over politicization of the top rank of Department management,” concludes the report by the committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.). “This could lead to heightened vulnerability to terrorist attack.”
In an interview, Thompson said that vacancies have weakened morale and reflect an over-reliance on contractors. He also called the report a warning “that we can expect more vacancies to occur than what we have been accustomed to” at the close of the administration, when many top personnel will leave their posts.
Although at least if there are more vacancies, it will mean fewer Bush appointees are hanging on, and given the heckuva job they’ve done…well, I’m okay with that.