Sneak Preview: DHS to Consolidate Major Preparedness Grant Programs

February 29, 2012 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

(This post was excerpted from an article in the Feb. 27 issue of Local/State Funding Report.) The Department of Homeland Security recently released its plans for the fiscal year 2013 National Preparedness Grant Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was unveiled earlier this month in President Obama’s budget request for FY 2013.

The central purpose of the National Preparedness Grant Program is to develop and sustain the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal and establish a strong nationwide capacity relative to a wide range of disasters and threats.

The DHS vision for the FY 2013 program reflects a heavy emphasis on streamlining and accountability to maximize the efficient and effective use of federal dollars. The most significant evidence of that priority is the agency’s intention to consolidate 16 separate preparedness grant programs into a single, comprehensive preparedness program. Doing so will enable a better coordinated use of federal funds and streamline the application process for grantees.

The FY 2013 program will focus on improving the nation’s overall ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from threats and hazards, by prioritizing the development and sustainability of cross-jurisdictional and easily deployable state and local assets. The agency will place particular emphasis on building capabilities related to high-risk and high-consequence threats.

Program funds will support National Incident Management System resources that can be used in a variety of locations, such as canine explosive detection teams, search and rescue teams, intelligence and information sharing, border security and protection, cyber security and hazardous materials teams.

Funding decisions will be risk-based, relative to the prioritized, nationally deployable NIMS core capabilities, threat data and documented preparedness needs and gaps of states and regions. The agency acknowledges that differing risks and hazards cause the preparedness priorities to vary by region.

The agency expects that in FY 2013, each state and territory will receive a formula-driven allocation of funding, with the remaining funds awarded competitively. When evaluating proposed projects for competitive funding, the agency will consider the importance of the preparedness capability to be enhanced, the likelihood of timely project completion, and the applicant’s past performance with grant-funded projects.

DHS will begin transitioning some elements of the NPGP in FY 2012 in order to prepare grantees for the consolidated FY 2013 program. For example, as it begins to take a longer-term view of preparedness planning and progress, DHS intends to establish a two-year period of performance for projects that receive awards in FY 2012.

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