During his campaign, Obama noted that securing nuclear weapons and bio-security issues topped his domestic security agenda. Both issues will be a challenge for the agency, as a recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that the effectiveness of nuclear-detection systems has been exaggerated by DHS officials working on the issue.
With economic uncertainty ahead, funding of such expensive systems could be an issue. "The response to threats has been to throw money at the problem and look for a technological advantage. ... I don't think they will have the type of money that they have," Rojansky said.
The effectiveness of bio-security programs also remains unclear. DHS is designing new detection system under its bio-watch program. Its bio-surveillance system was compromised in 2007 when a man infected with a virulent form of tuberculosis gained entry into the United States, despite his being on a watch list.