Homeland Security spent $430M on radios its employees don't know how to use

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Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

But according to a recent report from the department's inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished. DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.

Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general's office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed—72 percent—didn't even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren't able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.