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DHS Announces Guidance for FY 2015 Preparedness Grants

More than $1.6 billion for nine Department of Homeland Security (DHS) preparedness grant programs for Fiscal Year 2015 administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was announced by DHS Thursday.

Sen. Tom Carper, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs also Thursday highlighted the beginning of the application period for the FEMA Preparedness Grants program.

“I often say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and when it comes to being prepared for natural or manmade disasters, a little extra planning can go a long way,” Carper said. “These FEMA grants help states and localities prepare and fortify their defenses against natural and manmade hazards. I encourage potential applicants to review their needs, put together a plan, and apply for these lifesaving grants.”

FEMA’s Preparedness Grants program is a series of grants that provide recipients with the funding to build and sustain homeland security capabilities through planning, organizational resources, equipment, training and exercises. The state homeland security grant program provides states with funding for these purposes.

The funding was announced in notices of funding opportunities for the grant programs to state, local, tribal and territorial governments as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations and the private sector to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies.

The grants reflect DHS’s focus on implementation of an all-of-nation, whole-community approach to the building, sustainment and delivery of those core capabilities essential to achieving a secure and resilient nation, DHS stated.

“The FY 2015 homeland security grants demonstrate the Department’s continued commitment to strengthening our nation’s ability to prepare and respond to a wide variety of emergencies,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “These grant programs reflect the Department’s strong partnerships across all levels of government and the private sector in order to ensure we remain vigilant in an ever-changing threat environment.”

According to DHS, the FY 2015 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. For FY 2015, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 28 high-threat, high-density urban areas, which reflects the intent of Congress to limit FY 2015 UASI funding to those Urban Areas that represent up to 85 percent of the nationwide risk, as stated in the Explanatory Statement accompanying DHS’s appropriations act.

DHS said that, “Based on consistent feedback from our state, local, tribal and territorial partners regarding the challenges created by a two-year period of performance, the secretary addressed this concern in the FY 2015 grant guidance by increasing the period of performance for grant awards from two years to three years for all FY 2015 grant programs, except the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grants and the Emergency Management Performance Grant.”

“Consistent with previous grant guidance,” DHS said, “dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity.”

DHS encouraged “grantees … to utilize grant funding to maintain and sustain current critical core capabilities through investments in training and exercises, updates to current planning and procedures, and lifecycle replacement of equipment. New capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities in the National Preparedness Goal.”

Preparedness grant program allocations for FY2015 include:

More than $1 billion in Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.

More than $402 million in State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funds to all states and territories to support the implementation of risk-driven, capabilities-based State Homeland Security Strategies to address capability targets.

$587 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities the nation’s 28 highest-risk, highest-threat, highest-density urban areas through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).

$55 million in Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) program grants to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the United States land and water borders.

Since congressional mandates following 9/11, FEMA has required states to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded to them under SHSP and UASI are dedicated toward law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA). The total LETPA allocation can be satisfied from SHSP, UASI or both. In addition, states must obligate at least 80 percent of the funds awarded under SHSP and UASI to local or tribal units of government within 45 days of receipt of the funds.

Under the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP), $10 million is available to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

$13 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack and located within one of the FY 2015 UASI-eligible urban areas is available under the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The Intercity Passenger Rail-Amtrak (IPR) Program provides more than $10 million to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.

The Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) provides more than $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.

The Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) provides more than $87 million to owners and operators of transit systemsto protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.

DHS’s Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP) provides $3 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.

DHS said all preparedness Notices of Funding Opportunity can be found at www.grants.gov.,” noting, however, that, “There are some key changes to DHS grant programs this year including a 36-month period of performance and compliance with the requirements at 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

DHS advised grantees to check the Notice of Funding Opportunity – Key Changes – for each grant program.

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) applications that were announced on March 25, 2015 are due no later than April 24, 2015. All other preparedness grant applications — excluding Fire Grant programs — are due no later than May 19, 2015.

Final submissions must be made through the Non-Disaster Grants system located at https://portal.fema.gov.

Further information on DHS’s preparedness grant programs is available at www.dhs.gov and http://www.fema.gov/grants.

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