Unstoppable Expansion of Security Bureaucracy Includes Dogs

As the Washington Post keeps rolling out its report on the out-of-control growth of government security agencies—and the contractors that feed on them—the Los Angeles Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand its canine force by 150 percent , from a current force of 2,000 dogs to 5,000 dogs by 2015.

According to the Times , Homeland Security is soliciting small breeders for untrained (but “alert, outgoing, active, confident”) purebred dogs:

The department is looking for Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, Belgian Malinois “or other working, herding or sporting breeds with prior approval.”

Shopping for dogs before, in 2006 and 2007, the department spent $4,535 per dog.

The Times reports that the Transportation Security Administration “is requesting $71 million this year to set up 275 new explosives-detection canine teams in airports.” That would be $258,000 per canine team. 

Some security experts believe dogs could be cheaper and more effective in screening airline passengers than high-tech body imagers or metal detectors. 

Given what’s in the Post , even at a quarter of a million dollars per dog unit, that may be true.