DHS Introduces Risk-based Formula for Urban Areas Security Initiative Grants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today $765 million in direct funding for high threat urban areas as part of the fiscal year 2006 Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). UASI provides resources for the unique equipment, training, planning, and exercise needs of select high threat urban areas.

“The department is investing federal funding into our communities facing the greatest risk and demonstrating the greatest need in order to receive the highest return in our nation’s security,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Our nation’s preparedness and the support of our emergency responders on the frontlines of the war against terrorism must be a shared effort. We will continue to champion funding on the basis of risk and need, and we urge Congress to do the same to ensure that our finite resources are allocated and prioritized successfully.”

In fiscal year 2006, the department identified 35 areas eligible to apply for and receive funding. These 35 areas encompass 95 cities with populations of 100,000 or more. This year’s formula promotes a “super” UASI concept that is designed to build greater regional capabilities across a geographic area. In addition, 11 urban areas from the fiscal year 2005 UASI have been identified as eligible to apply for sustainment funding in fiscal year 2006, to ensure that strategic investments made thus far can be completed and to identify projects that, if funded, would significantly reduce risk.

All eligible applicants must submit an investment justification, which identifies needs and outlines the intended security enhancement plan to be addressed with funding, to meet the target capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal. Investment justifications will be reviewed, scored, and prioritized along with risk factors to determine which investments should be funded to best address need and minimize risk.

The fiscal year 2006 UASI list of eligible applicants and recipients is determined through a robust risk formula that considers three primary variables: consequence, vulnerability, and threat. Factors such as the presence of international borders, population and population density, the location of critical infrastructure, formal mutual aid cooperation, law enforcement investigations and enforcement activity are considered in correlation with the risk formula for UASI determinations.

Cities on the UASI list with shared boundaries were combined for fiscal year 2006 into a single entity and urbanized areas outside the official city limits were also included in order to establish a geographic area for enhanced risk analysis, reflecting a regional approach to shared risk and risk-mitigation. Other expansions to the program in fiscal year 2006 include the incorporation of threat analysis from intelligence community products that reflect risk as seen through various attack modes, such as the incorporation of transient populations and greater depth and breadth in infrastructure data.

More than $2.1 billion has been allocated through UASI since the 2003 fiscal year. Since 9/11, $8.6 billion has been provided in overall grant funding to states and territories to enhance first responder capabilities in preventing, protecting and responding to acts of terrorism.

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