FY2012 DHS Program Outlook
Sunday, January 15, 2012
By Vince Siragusa
In the aftermath of the 2001 attacks, the nation’s collective quest for safety spawned a quick rise to prominence for U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Established in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, DHS supports the various security efforts and programs that contribute toward the broad yet vital mission to “secure the nation from the many threats we face.” But with the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget now solidified, many of those tasked with ensuring the nation’s security may be doing so with much less federal grant money in their pockets.
Overall, the 2012 appropriations set aside only $2.37 billion for state and local grant programs. An impressive number on the surface but down roughly $1 billion from 2011, which also saw major reductions when compared to FY 2010. Still, given the ambiguity of the 2012 legislations and the funding methodology used by Congress, there are many unknowns at this time. Outside the amount of $50 million for the Operation Stonegarden Program and no less than $100 million for “areas at the highest risk of a terrorist attack,” it’s impossible to know exactly where this block-based funding will end up. While it’s reasonable to expect that “areas at the highest risk of a terrorist attack” implies UASI funding, this may or may not be the program-specific intent of the legislation’s language.
Many of these decisions will rest upon “the discretion of the Secretary” as the act directs Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to award the $1.35 billion based on threat, vulnerability and consequence among previous grant programs. Again, while we know that at least $100 million will go to the highest-risk areas and no less than $50 million for Operation Stonegarden, the remaining money must be stretched to fund many formerly stalwart programs such as the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP), Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), and Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS).
What does that mean for those targeting the funding and support afforded by these programs? While fundamental changes in these DHS programs and overall funding may already be a foregone conclusion, the steps in identifying and leveraging these programs remains refreshingly consistent with years past. In the end, the money that is available will present itself to those with the innovative project ideas that best align with state priorities and the focus of the grant program itself. Additionally, a willingness to engage multiple project partners in pursuit of a common goal will not only diversify the grant options on the table but also help the grant program impact as many local stakeholders as possible.
Defined FY2012 Programs
- Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) – $337.5 million
- Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) –$337.5 million
- Emergency Management Enforcement Grants (EMPG) - $350 million
- Operation Stonegarden – at least $50 million
- Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) the likely program fit for “areas at the highest threat of terrorist attack” - at least $100 million
Undefined FY2012 Programs
$1.35 million which shall be distributed, according to threat, vulnerability, and consequence, at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security. These programs include:
- State Homeland Security Program
- Urban Areas Security Initiative
- Metropolitan Medical Response System
- Citizen Corps Program
- Over-the-Road Bus Security Assistance
- Port Security Grants
- Transit Security Grants
- Interoperable Emergency Communication Grant Program*
- Buffer Zone Protection Program*
Note: Given the fact that neither the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program nor the Buffer Zone Protection Program Grants were funded in FY2011, significant FY2012 funding is unlikely.