Are You Confident About National Security Choices?

I’m all for national security. Nothing like going out on a limb there. But when I read a rather inconspicuous news brief about three cities being upgraded to the hish-risk tier for terrorist attacks (providing them a combined $67 million in federal funding for 2010), my mind harkened back to the 2006 Homeland Security Department list that included nearly 8,600 terrorist targets in Indiana — more than any state in the nation.

It seems a bit more logical that Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas (the cities upgraded) would rank higher than the popcorn distributor in Berne, Indiana, (one of the 2006 target entries) but it still makes you stop and think. The three additions bring the top-tier category to 10. The total pot of money across the country is $2.7 billion.

The quote attributed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. It read: "What it represents is an assessment of risk versus looking at some other factors, such as population densities and other things of that sort."

At the same time, Omaha, Nebraska and Bakersfield, California, were added to the second-tier list for the first time. A portion of the funding from two New York cites — Albany and Syracuse — was cut to make room for the additions.

Here’s another lackluster quote from a "lucky" recipient. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, who represents Dallas, said drug and gang activity in the city adds to its risk profile. "Of course nobody likes that but I’m glad to have the attention given to it."

Just makes you wonder how these evaluations are made and how the money is being spent. Security, yes. Government decision-making, I’m not so sure.