For Immediate ReleasePress OfficeContact: 202-282-8010March 15, 2004
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge today announced a Homeland Security FundingTask Force composed of state, county, city, and tribal representatives to examine thefunding process and ensure that Department of Homeland Security funds move quickly tolocal first responders. The Task Force willentify state and local fundingsolutions that work effectively and can be extended to situations where there areimpediments to the efficient and effective distribution of state and local homelandsecurity funds.
The Task Force is composed of governors, mayors, county officials, tribal leaders andother senior officials with first-hand experience in homeland security issues and willoperate under the aegis of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) and its State andLocal Officials and Emergency Response Senior Advisory Committees. Governor ofMassachusetts Mitt Romney has been elected Chair of the Task Force, and Akron, Ohio MayorDonald L. Plusquellic will serve as Vice Chair. Secretary Ridge expects to receiverecommendations from the Task Force members and the HSAC within the next two months on howto expedite the money distribution process.
"The Department of Homeland Security shares the concerns of communitiesanticipating these funds," said Secretary Tom Ridge. "It is critical thatthe men and women on the front lines of the war against terror have the resources theyneed to do their jobs. Byentifying best practices and determining ways toimplement them across the country, the Task Force will put homeland security dollars intothe hands of first responders more rapidly."
The enormous challenge of protecting Americans from terrorism requires a nationwideeffort -- a whole new philosophy of how we secure the country, a philosophy of sharedresponsibility, shared accountability and shared leadership. Therefore theDepartment has implemented a national strategy that allows funds to flow quickly from theDepartment to the states and requires states to partner with county, city, and tribalofficials and work together to build a bottom-up system that serves the national strategywhile sharing information, resources, and equipment. This plan highlights SecretaryRidge's commitment to "One Mission, One Team."
"This Task Force is an important step towards securing our nation," saidGovernor Mitt Romney. "I look forward to working with the Department in thiscrucial mission of better preparing American communities against the threat ofterrorism." Mayor Donald Plusquellic said, "Enhancing first responderpreparedness is a profoundly important responsibility. I am pleased to serve on theTask Force and play this role in helping to improve the security of all Americancitizens."
The Department of Homeland Security has already taken immediate action to speed theflow of grant funds to first responders, including:
- Simplifying the application process by providing one electronic application for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program grants and the Citizen Corps Grant Program.
- Facilitating a series of conference calls between cities, counties and states to enhance communication,entify obstacles in the grants flow and search for best funding distribution practices. DHS is extending an offer to all 30 cities receiving Fiscal Year 2003 Urban Area Security Initiative funds to replicate this process.
- Integrating the grant listings. DHS created www.dhs.gov/grants as a one-stop shop for information and applications for DHS all-hazards grants and homeland security grants from other federal departments.
- Streamlining the grant application process by eliminating the preliminary review of budget information and implementing new reporting and monitoring mechanisms to make funding available immediately upon grant award. Previously, local jurisdictions faced two layers -- state and federal -- of budget worksheets before they could access funds.
- Conditionally approving State or Urban Area Security Strategies, provided that all issues are addressed within a set time period. When the release of funds is contingent upon approval of a Security Strategy, conditional approval immediately puts money in the hands of first responders.
- Implementing an aggressive timeline by which states must obligate funds to local jurisdictions within 60 days of receiving their grants package.
- Offering alternative options for equipment procurement, through agreements with the Defense Logistics Agency and Marine Corps Systems Command to allow grantees to procure equipment directly from their purchasing schedules. These agreements provide an alternative to state and local procurement processes and often result in more rapid product delivery at a lower cost.
These immediate actions already underway, in conjunction with the expertrecommendations of the Homeland Security Task Force, achieve a core goal of the Departmentof Homeland Security -- to deliver homeland security funds into the hands of firstresponders.
Homeland Security Funding Task Force
ChairMitt RomneyGovernor of Massachusetts; Homeland SecurityAdvisory Council (State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee Chair - SLSAC)
Vice ChairDonald L. PlusquellicMayor of Akron, Ohio
StatesDirk KempthorneGovernor ofaho
Mark WarnerGovernor of Virginia
Ruth Ann MinnerGovernor of Delaware
Michael BalboniState Senator 7th District, New York
Richard AndrewsFormer president of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA);Homeland Security Advisory Council (Emergency Response Senior Advisory Committee Chairman- ERSAC)
Thomas J. O'ReillyAdministrator, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law& Public Safety, Trenton, New Jersey
MunicipalJames A. GarnerMayor of Hempstead, New York
Beverly O'NeillMayor of Long Beach, California
J. Christian BollwageMayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey
Nathan SmithMayor of Portland, Maine
Peggy MerrissCity Manager, Decatur, Georgia
Anthony WilliamsMayor of Washington, D.C.; Homeland Security Advisory Council (SLSACVice Chair)
Chuck CanterburyFraternal Order of Police Grand President; Homeland SecurityAdvisory Council (ERSAC Vice Chair)
CountiesDoug DuncanCounty Executive, Montgomery County,Maryland
Jane HalliburtonCounty Supervisor, Story County, Iowa
Ralph OgdenSheriff, Yuma County, Arizona
Mike SelvesDirector, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Johnson County,Kansas
TribalArlen P. Quetawki, Sr.Governor, Zuni Tribe, Office ofthe Governor, Zuni, New Mexico