Purpose- To review, analyze, critically assess and clearly articulate the federal process for funding congressionally mandated Homeland Security activities under the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP).
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Background- The unfortunate events of September 11th compelled the US government to review its strategy on national security. As a result, it established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enhance the protection of its citizens from external threats.
According to the DHS, other measures which have been taken since then include the enactment of the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 2004, the implementation of the recommendations of the 9/11 commission act of 2007, the enactment of the US Patriot act of 2001, comprehensive engagement in meeting global challenges including environmental and national security, strengthening the economy of the country to recover from the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis and the development of several presidential policy directives and executive orders.
All these are aimed at making the issue of national security a responsibility of everybody. The DHS coordinates all state and non-state security agencies to make sure that the security of the nation is not compromised. One of the approaches used by the DHS is provision of funds in form of grants to finance security related projects in the US.
The DHS supports the National Preparedness System (NPS) through the HSGP. The NPS in turn provides support for the development, sustainment and delivery of essential capabilities for the achievement of the National Preparedness Goal (NPG), which aspires to have a secure and resilient nation. The HSGP is based on the following five pillars:
The HSGP is divided into three interconnected grant programs which provide funds to a range of security related activities such as planning, purchase of equipment, organization, administration, training, management and other exercises. The three programs under the HSGP are as follows:
- The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
- The Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
- The Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)
The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) – In the FY 2013, the program was allocated a tune of $ 354, 644,123.
As per the federal emergency management agency, SHSP supports strategies for addressing the organization, planning, training and purchase of equipment for various activities aimed at preventing, protecting, mitigating and responding to emergencies related to terrorism or other calamities.
The SHSP also facilitates the state preparedness report initiative with funds for various activities.
In the FY 2013, the funds were allocated based on the following factors:
- Anticipated effectiveness
- Minimum legislated amounts
- The risk methodology of the DHS
The State Administrative Agency (SAA) allocated the funds to all the 50 states and the following districts:
- American Samoa
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Virgin Islands
The Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)- This program assists densely populated urban areas in the planning, training, organizing and purchasing equipment to build or enhance their capacities to prevent, protect, respond to and mitigate effects of terrorism.
The reason for allocation of funds to urban based security initiatives is that the urban areas are preferred by terrorists because when the terrorists strike, they are able to kill many people at a go.
Urban areas also provide a good environment for the terrorists to disguise themselves which enables them to plan and execute their mission without being recognized due to the presence of many civilians.
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Additionally, urban areas provide the up-to-date technological and transport infrastructure for the terrorists to execute their mission and flee as soon as possible.
In the FY 2013, the UASI program took the lion’s share of $ 558,745,566 for funding urban based security initiatives. The disbursement of the funds was overseen by the SAA. A total of 25 cities with the highest risk of attack were eligible for funding under this program.
The 25 cities were selected from a list of 100 most densely populated urban areas in the US according to the 9/11 act, which also outlines the relative risk for all the 100 urban areas. Just like the SHSP, the funds under this program were allocated based DHS’s criteria of anticipated effectiveness and the risk methodology.
The Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) – This program was allocated $55, 000,000 in the FY 2013. The program aims at promoting the cooperation of State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) law enforcement agencies in the protection the US from terrorists.
According to the State of California, the law enforcement agencies are assisted to harmonize all laws governing cross border movements.
The funds were appropriated by the SAA and the following were eligible to apply:
- Government units in Alaska
- Territories with international water boundaries
- States bordering Mexico to the south
The funds were allocated based on the risk-based prioritization criterion which borrows heavily from the sector specific Customs and Border Protection (CBP) methodology. The following factors were considered during the allocation of the funds:
- The length of boundaries
- Feasibility of the FY 2013
- Law enforcement intelligence
For Additional Information
Department of Homeland Security. (2014). DHS announces grant guidance for fiscal year (FY) 2013 preparedness grants. Web.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2014). FY 2013 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP). Web.
Homeland Security. (2014). National network of fusion centers guidance and requirements. Web.
State of California. (2011). Homeland Security Grant Program Documents. Web.