DHS allots $1.8 billion in preparedness grants

Fourteen additional urban areas are eligible for Homeland Security Department grants this year to help strengthen homeland security response at the local level, DHS officials announced.

A total of 60 urban areas are eligible for $782 million in DHS Urban Area Security Initiative grant program for fiscal 2008, up from 46 cities last year. No cities were dropped from the list this year.

The newly eligible cities for fiscal 2008 are Albany, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Hartford, Conn; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Riverside, Calif.;. Rochester, N.Y.; Salt Lake City; Syracuse, N.Y. and Toledo, Ohio.

The department announced a total of $1.8 billion in grants, primarily to states and cities, to fund equipment, training and exercises for terrorism preparedness, up from $1.7 billion last year. Much of that funding will be spent on contracts for equipment, planning, exercises and training.

Grant funding priorities for the year include reducing risks from improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons. The funding also gives high priority to interoperable communications, information sharing and citizen preparedness.

The awards to each city are based on risk assessments and effectiveness scores, based on factors, including terrorism intelligence, population size and density, economic impacts, and proximity to nationally critical infrastructure such as international borders.

The funded programs are:
  • State Homeland Security Program - $861.3 million to state, territorial and local government agencies for planning, equipment, training and exercise activities. States must dedicate at least 25 percent of the funds for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities including planning, organization, equipment, and training and exercise activities.
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative - $781.6 million to high-threat, high-density urban areas. The seven highest risk urban areas will receive a total of $429.9 million, and 53 high-risk urban areas will receive a total of $351.7 million.
  • Metropolitan Medical Response System Program - $39.8 million to districts nationwide for mass casualty preparedness and response capabilities.
  • Citizen Corps Program - $14.5 million to states and territories for community preparedness.
  • State Homeland Security Program Tribal - $1.6 million will go to 12 tribes.
  • Operation Stonegarden Grants - $60 million to land border states to enhance law enforcement border security operations.
  • Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program - $60 million to bolster catastrophic incident preparedness in designated UASI jurisdictions. Ten urban areas are receiving awards.
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program - $15 million goes to 232 nonprofit organizations at high risk of an international terrorist attack.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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