Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 11, 2010

Are you smarter than a homeland security grants manager?

Filed under: Budgets and Spending — by Christopher Bellavita on March 11, 2010

My February issue of the always informative Homeland Security Today arrived in the mail Wednesday.  It features the 2010 State and Local Managers’ Guide to Grants. [A digital version is available at this link ]

Michael Paddock wrote most of the grant-related articles in the magazine, providing an overview of what the headline writers called “The Homeland Security Funding Landscape.” In one of those articles, Michael summarizes 23 homeland security grant programs.  The programs account for almost 5 billion dollars of homeland security spending.

Do you know what the grant programs are?

To test your knowledge of how the 5 billion dollars can be spent, Homeland Security Watch happily presents the home/office edition of Match the Description to the Grant.

Below is a brief description of the 23 grant programs, followed by the program names.  The test is based on the homeland security grant program descriptions provided by Homeland Security Today.

(I’ll put the answers in the Comments section immediately following this post.)

As you look through the list, please consider having compassion for the people who have to work every day with the mountains of paper, electrons, and other data each program requires.

And compassion also for the millions of taxpayers footing the bill.

———————————————————-

Remember: match the grant program description with its name.

Score yourself as follows:

23 – 18 correct: you may be a grants manager,  someone who is a card carrying member of the homeland security industrial complex, or Michael Paddock

17 – 10 correct: you may work for state, local, tribal, or territorial government

10 – 5 correct: you may work for a non-DHS federal agency

Less than 5 correct: you may be an elected official or an academic

GRANT PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

1)           _______         Provides funding for allowable planning and equipment acquisition to increase the preparedness capabilities of jurisdictions responsible for the safety and security of communities surrounding high-priority pre-designated critical infrastructure and key resource assets.

2)           _______         Provides funds to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public.

3)           _______         Provides supplemental state homeland security grant program funding to directly eligible tribes to help strengthen the nation against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.

4)           _______         Support the integration of local emergency management, health and medical systems into a coordinated and sustained local response capability to a mass casualty incident.

5)           _______         Support for target hardening activities to nonprofit organizations that are deemed at high risk of a potential terrorist attack.

6)           _______         Provides funds to freight railroad carriers and owners and offerors of railroad cars to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure from acts of terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies.

7)           _______         Provides funds to build capabilities at the state, local, tribal and territorial levels and to implement the goals and objectives included in state homeland security strategies.

8)           _______         Enhanced cooperation and coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States borders along routes of international borders.

9)           _______         Coordinate community involvement in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response and recovery.

10)           _______         Provides funding to prevent terrorism by reducing fraud and improving the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents that states and Territories issue.

11)           _______         Provides funding to states, territories and local and tribal governments to carry out initiatives to improve interoperable emergency communications.

12)           _______         Upgrade state and local public health jurisdictions’ preparedness in response to bioterrorism, outbreaks of infectious disease and other public health threats and emergencies.

13)           _______         Improve emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure and interoperable EOCs.

14)           _______         Provides funds to states, territories, federally recognized Indian tribal governments and communities for hazard mitigation planning and implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.

15)           _______         Provides funds to Amtrak to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies.

16)           _______         Enhance catastrophic incident preparedness in selected high-risk, high consequence urban areas and their surrounding regions.

17)           _______         Provides resources to assist state and local governments to sustain and enhance all-hazards emergency management capabilities.

18)           _______         Improve surge capacity and enhanced community and hospital preparedness for public health emergencies.

19)           _______         Provides grant funding to port areas for the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism.

20)           _______         The primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.

21)           _______         Intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response and recovery.

22)           _______         Helps fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations meet their firefighting and emergency response needs.

23)           _______         Assist operators of fixed route intercity and charter bus services serving the nation’s highest risk metropolitan areas and obtaining the resources required to support security measures.

2010 GRANT PROGRAMS

a.           Intercity Passenger Rail

b.           Assistance To Firefighters Grant Program

c.           Transit Security Grant Program

d.           Operation Stonegarden

e.           Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program

f.           Driver’s License Security Grant Program

g.           Buffer Zone Protection Program

h.           State Homeland Security Program

i.           Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program

j.           Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program

k.           Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement

l.           Port Security Grant Program

m.           Freight Rail Security Grant Program

n.           Intercity Bus Security Grant Program

o.           Citizen Corps Program

p.           Emergency Management Performance Grant

q.           Urban Areas Security Initiative: Nonprofit Security Grant Program

r.           Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program

s.           Emergency Operations Center Grant Program

t.           Metropolitan Medical Response System Program

u.           Urban Areas Security Initiative

v.           Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program

w.           Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants

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13 Comments »

Comment by Christopher Bellavita

March 11, 2010 @ 12:43 am

The Answers
1) g — Buffer Zone Protection Program: Provides funding for allowable planning and equipment acquisition to increase the preparedness capabilities of jurisdictions responsible for the safety and security of communities surrounding high-priority pre-designated critical infrastructure and key resource assets.
2) c — Transit Security Grant Program: Provides funds to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public.
3) e — Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program: Provides supplemental state homeland security grant program funding to directly eligible tribes to help strengthen the nation against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.
4) t — Metropolitan Medical Response System Program: Support the integration of local emergency management, health and medical systems into a coordinated and sustained local response capability to a mass casualty incident.
5) q — Urban Areas Security Initiative-Nonprofit Security Grant Program: Support for target hardening activities to nonprofit organizations that are deemed at high risk of a potential terrorist attack.
6) m — Freight Rail Security Grant Program: Provides funds to freight railroad carriers and owners and offerors of railroad cars to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure from acts of terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies.
7) h — State Homeland Security Program: Provides funds to build capabilities at the state, local, tribal and territorial levels and to implement the goals and objectives included in state homeland security strategies.
8 ) d — Operation Stonegarden: Enhanced cooperation and coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States borders along routes of international borders.
9) o — Citizen Corps Program: Coordinate community involvement in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response and recovery.
10) f — Driver’s License Security Grant Program: Provides funding to prevent terrorism by reducing fraud and improving the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents that states and Territories issue.
11) r — Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program: Provides funding to states, territories and local and tribal governments to carry out initiatives to improve interoperable emergency communications.
12) k — Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement: Upgrade state and local public health jurisdictions’ preparedness in response to bioterrorism, outbreaks of infectious disease and other public health threats and emergencies.
13) s — Emergency Operations Center Grant Program: Improve emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure and interoperable EOCs.
14) w — Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants: Provides funds to states, territories, federally recognized Indian tribal governments and communities for hazard mitigation planning and implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.
15) a — Intercity Passenger Rail: Provides funds to Amtrak to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies.
16) v — Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program: Enhance catastrophic incident preparedness in selected high-risk, high consequence urban areas and their surrounding regions.
17) p — Emergency Management Performance Grant: Provides resources to assist state and local governments to sustain and enhance all-hazards emergency management capabilities.
18) i — Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program: Improve surge capacity and enhanced community and hospital preparedness for public health emergencies.
19) l — Port Security Grant Program: Provides grant funding to port areas for the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism.
20) j — Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program: The primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.
21) u — Urban Areas Security Initiative: Intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response and recovery.
22) b — Assistance To Firefighters Grant Program: Helps fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations meet their firefighting and emergency response needs.
23) n — Intercity Bus Security Grant Program: Assist operators of fixed route intercity and charter bus services serving the nation’s highest risk metropolitan areas and obtaining the resources required to support security measures.

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

March 11, 2010 @ 6:37 am

Is it only me or does anyone else wonder why we have this maze of grants to go through and why the federal government does not create a block grant to assist State and local governments?

Comment by Marko Bourne

March 11, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

The answer to that question is not complicated but it is extensive. In no way does the following denfend the current practice but is meant to serve as a partial explanination from someone who has watched and been part of the morphing of these programs for more than a decade inside of government.

Each one of those grant programs has a predecessor program that it came from, a built in reason for its existance and most importantly in this town (DC) a “constituency”. There is actually very little truly “new” money in homeland security, law enforcement or first responder grants. They all had pasts in other forms and other federal agencies before DHS was stood up. Each one created for a specific purpose and to serve a specific need. Also each of these grants has sub purposes that have continued or been subsumed (ie: HSGP used to have a specfic sub grant called LETP). What is not even listed here is the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants, the Hazard Mitigation Grants etc which are no different than the preparedness grants in they way they are programmticly managed but like each Preparedness grant, have their own purpose.

Each year for the past 3 years, OMB has submitted in the President’s budget request, and this year is no different, a consolidation of the grants into four or so large buckets. Each year Congress at the demand of states, police, fire and other groups have continued to keep each one mostly seperated and specific grants. What should be noted however is that even though there is a proliferation of grants names there is not a seperate grant application for each one anymore and the grant programs from an administrative standpoint are centrally managed and administered.

The arguments also rage over the grants original purpose, for example some are terrorism specific and some like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program or EMPG are not terrorism specific, both of which pre-date 9/11. Some groups fear that if these non-terrorism specific grants are combined with the others they will migrate to beign terrorism only and loose the breadth of focus on the other hazards they were intended to address. In having that fear they are not far off course. OMB has consistantly pushed the non-terrorism grants into the terrorism specific bucket.

There is a policy debate between OMB and DHS that rages each year over the Federal Government’s role in supporting state and local government through grants. Its a fairly unseen dialog where OMB seeks to limit the use of grant dollars and the department seeks to provide flexibility to the grantee. OMB wants all the grants to shift to terror only uses. They will say they agree with “dual use” but that is more sophistry to mask the terror only mantra.

Meanwhile constiuents of the programs like the major police organizations, the fire services, the emergency management community are all warry of changes to the programs that would consolodate them in any way that would change their nature or purpose.

The other actor at the table is the general mistrust of state government by local governments. The local governments want the funds to go to them directly with the state only being allowed a small share for statewide programs. They argue that most of the work is done at a local level, they alone know their priorities and risk and that when the state controls the dollars they are not sensitive to local needs. The states of course disagree and argue coordination. This is why we now are seeing a proliferation of earmarks for specific projects showing up in the House appropriations bills that seek to directly bypass the states in favor of direct local projects. Look at the EOC and Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants which are almost 50% earmarks now when before many were entirely competative.

The bottom line is that while most concerned can understand the desire to pool the grants to make management simpler, none are willing to do it in practice because of the issues I noted above and some others that are not fit to print. Hence we have a morrass at time of names and purposes. There is also no agreement on the issue of risk, by which grants are allocated because of the terrorism vs. other hazards debate. The parties involved all talk all hazards but the terrorism risk is not equitably measured against the natural hazard risk. There is not a right or wrong answer here.

The grant programs have purposes which have morphed over the years with few effective ways to measure their actual achievements and against what baseline they were set out to build upon. Until we have those real discussions, without posturing, without bias for one hazard over another we will never be sure that the $ we spend are reaching the greatest needs for the greatest threats. It is hoped the State and Local Task Force that FEMA has been directed by Congress to create will honestly and openly address these issues as well and some action can come from the deliberation.

Comment by bellavita

March 11, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

MARKO — If there were an award given for the most informative comment to a hlswatch.com post, I’d nominate what you wrote about homeland security (and related) grants. Thanks for taking the time to put all of that information, perspective and history in one place.

Comment by Claire Rubin

March 11, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

I second the thanks from Chris. Good explanation, but I think our legacy of grant programs needs review and revision!

Claire

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 11, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

It would be helpful if each grant program had in its title whether or not it was a competitive grant program or awarded on some other basis.

Glad to see Marko warmly welcomed and the comment is very interesting. What would be a really interesting comment is to identify exactly how each program, function, and activity in FEMA or otherwise decides to use a grant vehicle, a contract vehicle of a cooperative agreement vehicle? Often the choice is NOT dictated by Congress but by the various leadership cliques in any agency. My guess is that roughly 20-40% of the grants are going to overhead and consultant fees and never accomplish anything related to that grant. A flat 15-20% overhead rate on grants should be enacted rather than the abusive A-87 process which bleeds the patient dry before the mission gets accomplished.

Comment by Beth

March 12, 2010 @ 12:09 am

How can one find those awarded these DHS Federal Grants? Can a grant “replace” a death compensation benefit from possibly the Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB)? Is it true that Congress also appropriates the funding for these grants?

Thank you for this post -

Comment by Beth

March 12, 2010 @ 12:14 am

How can a WTC Federal Responder be ommitted, left off the WTC Catastrophic Fatality List? Can worker’s compensation and/or death compensation claim be ignored in order for a grant funding? Either or not both?

Comment by Christopher Bellavita

March 12, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

Beth — I am not sure if this gets to your question, but you may find some of the information about who gets DHS grants at this website: http://www.dhs.gov/xgovt/grants/index.shtm

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 13, 2010 @ 8:52 am

Beth! Hoping you have been involved in the WTC class action for responders for your deceased husbands efforts at WTC in 2001 and 2002.

Comment by Marko Bourne

March 14, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

Beth: The PSOB program is seperately funded by Congress to the Department of Justice. The program is managed by the Office of Justice Programs. The PSOB office makes all the award determinations on who is eligible and who is not. The website is as follows: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/psob/psob_main.html
Federal emergency workers may be covered under this program but I’m not familiar with the details. I am aware that there are a number of ongoing disputes with federal relief workers as well as the state and local first responders and that litigation is ongoing on workers comp claims.

The preparedness grants listed above cannot be used in place or replace a death benefit or workman’s comp issues. They are seperate programs and its not lawful for the preparedness grants to be turned to that purpose. The only death benefit is the DOJ program above.

Hope this helps.

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