CQ Homeland Security has a story today (by subscription only) that previews the impending decisions about which cities to incldue for eligibility in the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI):
The Department of Homeland Security is close to releasing a list of 46 high-risk urban areas eligible for $770 million worth of funding in 2007 â€” including the Las Vegas and San Diego regions that in 2006 were at risk of losing their high-threat funding eligibility.
This year, six high-risk areas are grouped in a top tier and are eligible for about half of the total Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) pot of funding: the National Capital Region, the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles/Long Beach and New York City/Northern New Jersey.
Dropped from the UASI list this year are Omaha, Neb., Toledo, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Baton Rouge, La., areas, according to sources. Added to the list are Tucson, Ariz., Providence, R.I., Norfolk, Va., and El Paso, Texas.
I argued in a post last month that Las Vegas and San Diego had an “ironclad case” for continued participation in the UASI program, and I think that DHS is making the correct decision in keeping them around. The decision to drop the four cities listed above is also appropriate. The one decision that I don’t immediately understand is the inclusion of the four new cities – Tucson, Providence, Norfolk and El Paso. Tucson and El Paso have legitimate border security needs, but these are perhaps better addressed by programs other than the UASI grants. Norfolk is the most important military port on the Atlantic, but DOD force protection resources should somewhat mitigate the need for UASI funds. And I can’t quite figure out why to include Providence, unless as part of a “greater Boston area” regional allocation similar to the SF Bay Area grouping.
Overall though, this looks to be a vast improvement on the FY 2006 list. More analysis to follow when the list is officially released.