Oversight

IG wants Secret Service to modernize its radio gear

Shutterstock. Copyright: David Stuart Productions

A recent audit by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general recommends that the U.S. Secret Service upgrade the radio systems used around the White House, the vice president's residence and foreign embassies.

The IG said the radios, which are the Secret Service's primary means of communication, are old and in some cases obsolete. "Not upgrading these systems could significantly impact the effectiveness of Secret Service's protective operations," the report states.

Although 97 percent of the 186 radio tests the IG observed were successful, a review of the Secret Service's Radio Trouble Log revealed more than 100 instances of technical issues in an 11-month period.

"Secret Service's top priority, protecting the president and other high-ranking national officials, allows no room for error, and this means its technology cannot fail," the report states.

The audit specifically notes that when multiple officers tried to use their radios at the same time, the transmissions disrupted one another and resulted in incoherent or unheard messages. In those situations, officers would have to wait their turn for air time.

The systems also lack the ability to successfully interoperate with those used by other law enforcement agencies, restricting the ability for efficient coordination.

Additionally, repairing the aging infrastructure could be difficult because manufacturers no longer make important components of the radio network.

The Secret Service concurred with the recommendations and plans to invest about $54.2 million to improve its communication systems in the Washington area.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.