The Homeland Security Department issued a draft report this year that found a lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies. As one example, federal agencies have different methods for training bomb-sniffing dogs, so they cannot work together.
Critics say the Bush administration has been slow to respond to the threat that terrorists could begin to use improvised explosive devices in the United States, The Washington Post reported. In Iraq, IEDs have killed or wounded more U.S. soldiers than any other means.
David Heyman, director of the homeland security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the United States has "fallen way behind" in meeting the domestic threat.
Chertoff, addressing Heyman's group, said government agencies should try to prevent IEDs from being used by keeping terrorists out of the country or learning of their plans.
"The better we hone our intelligence, the better we are in having a focused, less disruptive and less costly intervention to prevent an IED from detonating," he said.