The Department of Homeland Security announced finalized funding levels for seven preparedness grant programs totaling nearly $1.4 billion Friday.
The fiscal 2012 totals are the same as they were when the department released its preliminary grant guidance in February. And again, DHS emphasized that it had to make reductions and prioritize certain grants over others after the fiscal 2012 omnibus Congress passed in December (PL 112-74) cut the funding by nearly $1 billion when compared with the previous year.
The cuts spurred the department to make a major change in its grant policies: For the first time, it is encouraging recipients to use the money for sustaining their current capabilities, instead of developing new ones. Its instructions to focus grant projects on activities such as training and exercises, updates to current plans and procedures, and equipment maintenance and life cycle replacement stand in sharp contrast to past DHS guidance, which said that grants should only be used for equipment and other one-time spending.
In its Friday announcement, the department said it would only invest in new capabilities that are “deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts” and show a clear link to the National Preparedness Goal, a FEMA document that identifies the core capabilities necessary for readiness.
The funding totals are:
• $294 million for the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), which focuses on building up and supporting preparedness activities. DHS is required by statute (PL 110-53) to dedicate 25 percent of the program’s fund toward anti-terrorism activities. The total is roughly $233 million less than fiscal 2011.
• $490 million for the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which aims to enhance regional preparedness in 31 high-threat, high-density areas. Statute also requires DHS to use 25 percent of the grant’s funds for law enforcement and crime prevention activities. The total is roughly $173 million less than fiscal 2011.
• $46 million for Operation Stonegarden, which goes toward border security cooperation and coordination, and which DHS has mostly provided for state and local agencies in the Southwest. The total is roughly $7 million less than fiscal 2011.
• $339 million for the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) program, which assists state and local governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.
• $6 million for the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP), which is dedicated to providing tribes with preparedness money.
• $10 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which goes toward physical security enhancements to nonprofits considered at risk of attack and located within the UASI areas.
• $10 million for the Intercity Passenger Rail (Amtrak) program, which goes toward protecting surface transportation and increasing Amtrak’s resiliency.
• $97 million for the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which goes toward improving domain awareness at critical ports and protecting them against improvised explosive devices.
• $87 million for the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP), which goes to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism.
By CQ Staff