On October 1, 2003, President Bush signed the fiscal year 2004 Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Over all, the Homeland Security Department's 2004 funding total is $37.4 billion. Of that total, more than $3.7 billion will be made available, through the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), for grants to state and local public safety agencies.
These assistance funds have been allocated as follows:
- $1.7 billion for formula-based grants to support state homeland security programs
- $750 million for firefighters assistance grants
- $675 million for discretionary grants for high-threat, high-density urban areas
- $500 million for law enforcement terrorism prevention grants
- $50 million for metropolitan area transit authorities
- $40 million for Citizen Corps grants
A key feature of these new programs is the ability of the state administrative agencies to apply with one online application form as part of the Homeland Security Grant Program, streamlining the process by which DHS distributes the funds through the state governments. In addition to the single application, DHS has launched an interagency grants and training Web site on the DHS Web site at www.dhs.gov/grants. The Web site provides information on homeland security and public safety grant opportunities offered by the Department of Homeland Security and other federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency, and a link to the Compendium of Federal Terrorism Training for State and Local Audiences, an interagency site for training opportunities available to state and local emergency personnel.
It is important to note, however, that only the designated state administrative agencies may apply for these grants. In addition, the application period for the fiscal 2004 grants has passed. But it is likely that these programs will once again be funded in fiscal year 2005.
State Homeland Security Programs
These funds will be made available to states for use in training officers, buying equipment, and conducting exercises. These funds may also be used to cover the cost of overtime associated with homeland security-related training. These funds must be expended in accordance with the state's homeland security strategy, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The funds distributed under this plan will be sent to the state government; but the state must transfer at least 80 percent of these funds to local government within 60 days of receiving the funds.
The Urban Area Grants will be allocated through the states to urban areas selected by the Department of Homeland Security to enhance their overall security and preparedness level to prevent, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. The urban areas are chosen based on a formula that takes into account factors including critical infrastructure, population density, and credible threat information.
Funding allocations among the cities, contiguous counties, and mutual aid partners will be based on an urban area assessment and strategic plan. Eighty percent of the funds allocated to the state under this program must be awarded to the designated cities and contiguous counties within the urban area based on the strategic plan. The state may use the remaining 20 percent for further security enhancements within the urban area.
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention
The Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) will provide law enforcement communities with funds to enhance their capabilities to share information to preempt terrorist attacks, reduce vulnerability of certain high-value targets, recognize the potential development of a threat, provide intervention activities before a threat could be executed, enhance interoperability communications, and assist in management and administration. The funds can be used for these activities within the areas of planning, organization, training, exercises, and equipment from an authorized equipment list that includes an expanded category for law enforcement equipment related to threat intervention, such as SWAT gear. This program also allows for overtime costs specifically related to homeland security efforts.
Grant funds will be made available to the states through their state administrative agencies, and the states are required to provide no less than 80 percent of LETPP funds to local law enforcement agencies for terrorism prevention activities. States must use their state homeland security strategies as the basis for the allocation of their funds to meet the prioritized needs established for their state.
Metropolitan Rail Transit Authorities
The Department of Homeland Security has provided $50 million to the various states for mass transit security agencies across the country to help the agencies enhance the security of its assets and passengers. These transit systems were determined based upon the number of annual riders and overall track mileage. Allowable uses of funds would include installation of physical barricades; area monitoring systems such as video surveillance, motion detectors, thermal and infrared imagery, and chemical and radiological material detection systems; integrated communications systems; and prevention planning, training, and exercises. If not already completed, each transit system is required to conduct an assessment and preparedness plan on which to base resource allocations.
Coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Citizen Corps is the component of the USA Freedom Corps that focuses on opportunities for people across the country to participate in a range of measures to make their families, homes, and communities safer from the threats of terrorism, crime, and disasters of all kinds. Citizen Corps also brings together a community's first responders, firefighters, emergency health care providers, law enforcement, and emergency managers with its volunteer resources.
The Citizen Corps funds will be used to support Citizen Corps councils with the planning, outreach, and management of Citizen Corps programs and activities. This program will provide the necessary resources for states and local communities to develop and sustain a local Citizen Corps council.
The 2004 Citizen Corps funds were distributed based on a formula that provided a base amount for all states and territories and the remainder of funds based on population. The funds provide resources necessary for states and local communities to bring together the appropriate leadership to form and sustain a Citizen Corps Council and develop and implement a plan for the community to engage all citizens in homeland security, community preparedness, and family safety. In addition, the funds should be used to conduct public education to inform citizens about their role in crime prevention, mitigation, emergency preparedness for all hazards, public health measures, including bioterrorism, and develop and implement Citizen Corps programs offering training and volunteer opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief groups, and community safety efforts.