Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DHS's Decision to Procure and Deploy the Next Generation of Radiation Detection Equipment Is Not Supported by Its Cost-Benefit Analysis

GAO-07-581T Published: Mar 14, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 2007.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for addressing the threat of nuclear smuggling. Radiation detection portal monitors are key elements in our national defenses against such threats. DHS has sponsored R&D and testing activities to develop a "next generation" portal monitor, known as the advanced spectroscopic portal monitor. However, each one costs 6 times more than a current portal monitor. In March 2006, we recommended that DHS conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the new portal monitors are worth the additional cost. In June 2006, DHS issued its analysis. In October 2006, we issued our report that assessed the DHS study. GAO's statement, based on our October 2006 report, addresses whether DHS's cost-benefit analysis provides an adequate basis for its decision to purchase and deploy the next generation portal monitors.

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