A Look At Homeland Security Funds

generic terror map usa us terrorism target police swat homeland security CBS/AP

This year, the federal Department of Homeland Security handed out nearly $2 billion in grants. But some questions have been raised over the formula that is used, and whether the states that are most at risk for a potential terrorist attack are receiving adequate funds.

For example, the State of New York, target of 9/11 and other terror plots, received $9.54 per resident this year in DHS grants. Yet Montana, a sparsely populated state, got almost as much, $8.48.


How was the Dept. of Homeland Security created?
The Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security grew out of the biggest government reorganization since World War II. The department merged 22 diverse agencies into four divisions: Border and Transportation Security; Emergency Preparedness And Response; Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures; and Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. It will eventually employ 170,000 workers with a combined budget of about $40 billion. Its secretary's primary mission is protecting the nation from terrorism. Considering the size and scope of the agency, critics say there are likely to be a few bumps along the way.


What is Secretary Chertoff's role?
In 2005, President Bush chose federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff to be his second-term Homeland Security Secretary, replacing former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the nation's first Homeland chief. The Homeland Secretary is charged with overseeing the new department in its mission to reduce America's vulnerability to attack, intercept those that are planned and respond to those that occur. President Bush chose Ridge to head the new agency, the third-largest in Washington, after he had served as the president's homeland security adviser. Ridge won praise for improving communication between Washington and local governments while at that post.


How is state funding decided?
Terrorism money for Washington, D.C., and New York was reduced in June 2006 as part of a controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities. Some other potential targets also took hits, including New Orleans, San Diego and Phoenix.

Homeland officials said that the new funding distribution was the result of a better review process and does not indicate lesser risk for cities such as Washington or New York.

Click here to see an interactive model of how anti-terror dollars are allocated per capita.


To learn more about homeland security:
• Click here to read the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism.

Here is more information on Homeland Security grants.

• The National Response Plan establishes a comprehensive all-hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents.
  • Melissa McNamara

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