FEMA Guidance Focuses on Fusion Centers, Encourages Strategic Planning Initiatives
State and local governments learned yesterday how much federal homeland security grant funding they will receive for the fiscal 2011 grant cycle and about the requirements they must meet in these grants. These funds are to help state and local governments with the ability to build, enhance, and sustain their abilities to prevent and prepare for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FY 2011 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) grant guidance consists of five interconnected homeland security, emergency management, and disaster preparedness grant programs. Chief among them are the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSP). It also encompasses the Metropolitan Medical Response System, the Citizen Corps Program, and Operation Stonegarden.
New additions to this year’s guidance for UASI and SHSP include a requirement to fund fusion centers and several other priorities in which grantees should include in their applications.
DHS continues to make building and enhancing a national network of fusion centers a top priority. States and urban areas are required to include at least one investment that supports a fusion center as part of their UASI and SHSP grant applications. Fusion centers are intended to serve as focal points within the State and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between all levels of government and the private sector. UASI and SHSP grantees must coordinate with the fusion center when developing a fusion center investment prior to submitting their application.
The guidance also highlights FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate’s “Whole Community” approach to emergency management. FEMA has recognized that it “takes all aspects of a community,” including all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and faith and community-based organizations to effectively “prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against any disaster.”
FEMA has implemented its Whole Community approach in the guidance by identifying a number of objectives and performance measures for grantees to determine how effective they are in utilizing innovative approaches to make local communities successful against the threats of terrorism and natural disasters.
Grantees are also encouraged to utilize UASI and SHSP to directly support local efforts to recognize, prevent, and respond to pre-operational activity and crimes that indicate terrorist activity while staying within the bounds of privacy and civil rights laws.
Additionally, the guidance encourages, but does not require, states and urban areas to update their Homeland Security Strategy every two years. The Homeland Security Strategies remain the basis for requesting HSGP funds.
For 2011, the 31 highest-risk urban areas will receive funding under the UASI program. All 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands are eligible for SHSP funding.