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DHS grants to secure the nation's critical infrastructure

Written by PSIT Staff

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that grants are being distributed to ports, transit and intercity bus systems to strengthen the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. These awards are part of the Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP), which are composed of seven programs that constitute major critical infrastructure sectors. The announcement provides awards to three competitive grant programs: the Port Security Grant Program; the Transit Security Grant Program; and the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program.

In July, funding was directly allocated to four programs within the IPP: the Buffer Zone Protection Program; the Chemical Buffer Zone Protection Program; the Intercity Rail Transit Program; and the Trucking Security Program. In total, $399 million is being awarded for the FY 2006 IPP grants to protect critical infrastructure throughout the United States.

“The Infrastructure Protection Program helps to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from threats and hazards that could cause major loss of life, economic impact, and disruption of services. These resources will further enhance risk-based initiatives to increase security around vital assets ranging from ports, to chemical facilities, to transportation systems,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “The IPP grants also represent a major step forward in how the department integrates expert input and risk-based formulas into the allocation of limited resources.”

The funding allocations for port, transit and intercity bus security programs are as follows:

Port Security Grant Program: More than $168 million will be provided for port security grants to create sustainable, risk-based efforts for the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism. Fifty out of 100 eligible ports contained on the U.S. Coast Guard’s most critical seaport list, plus one additional port not contained on that list but was eligible in 2005, will receive funding for projects to enhance security measures at critical port facilities. The ports were grouped into four tiers, with Tier 1 representing the highest risk and Tier 4 representing the lowest risk. Funding was awarded for specific projects within each port area based on that port’s relative risk and the relationship of each project to identified port security priorities. These 101 eligible seaports represent 95 percent of the foreign waterborne commerce of the United States. This list was developed by the Coast Guard using commercial, demographic and geographic data from various sources. Since 2002, the department has provided more than $876 million to enhance security at the nation’s critical ports and maritime facilities.

Transit Security Grant Program: The Infrastructure Protection Grant Program is providing more than $136 million to the owners and operators of the nation’s critical transit infrastructure through the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP). TSGP-eligible rail, intracity bus and ferry systems were divided into two tiers based on risk formulas encompassing threat, vulnerability and consequences. Last July, $123 million was allocated to Tier 1 urban areas, which are composed of high-passenger density and rail systems with significant infrastructures such as underwater tunnels or underground stations and all ferry systems. Urban areas that received funds in previous years but were not named in Tier 1 were able to apply and compete for the remaining TSGP funds. The Department is releasing $13 million for the second Tier of the TSGP. The FY 2006 Tier 2 TSGP allocations place a strong emphasis on prevention and detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In addition, eligible Tier 2 transit systems were permitted to focus on other priorities, including emergency drills, employee training and public-awareness programs that support overall system preparedness.

Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP): About $9.5 million is being provided to eligible owners and operators of fixed route intercity and charter bus services to protect bus systems and the traveling public from terrorism. The FY 2006 IBSGP placed a strong emphasis on prevention and detection of IEDs. In addition, the program focused on facility security enhancements in defined UASI jurisdictions; driver and vehicle security enhancements; emergency communications technology; coordination with local police and emergency responders; and training and exercises. To date, DHS has provided more than $48 million through the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program. Applications for the TSGP and IBSGP were reviewed and rated by a National Review Panel chaired by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and composed of security subject matter experts from DHS and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

 For more information on allocations, visit www.dhs.gov.


Published in Public Safety IT, Nov/Dec 2006

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Department of Homeland SecurityDisaster ManagementDOT (Department of Transportation)Grants HazardsHomeland SecurityIEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)InfrastructureIntercity Bus Security Grant ProgramIPP (Infrastructure Protection Program)Port Security Grant ProgramTransit Security Grant ProgramTSA (Transportation Security Admin)U.S. Coast Guard
 

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