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Remarks by Secretary Napolitano Announcing Fiscal Year 2009 FEMA Preparedness Grants

Release Date: 
June 17, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Secretary Napolitano:  Good afternoon. I'm Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and I'm standing with Craig Fugate, who is the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]. And we are very pleased to be here today to announce $1.7 billion in Department of Homeland Security [DHS] grants. These grant programs are a key part of how the Department of Homeland Security helps to prepare and strengthen our country against terrorism and against disasters. 

Now, the way we combat terrorism is not through a constant state of fear but a constant state of preparedness. No one can predict when a disaster or a terrorist attack could occur. But what we can do is take control through preparing ourselves and our communities.

The Department of Homeland Security works with our partners in state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to achieve this state of preparation. These partners will put DHS grants to work to secure America's communities, public places, and critical infrastructure as part of our national preparedness effort. 

Now, this year we undertook unprecedented outreach to our partners. This ensures the very best value for every grant dollar that we are announcing today. The many improvements we've made to the system will have a real security impact in our communities.

$1.7 billion is a lot of money, so let me break down the purposes for which the money will be used.

We are dedicating $861 million to the State Homeland Security Program. Let me repeat that. We are dedicating $861 million to the State Homeland Security Program. This funding is dedicated to helping state and local governments implement the goals and objectives of their own state homeland security strategies. Now, all states and territories will receive some funding, but risk is a big factor in allocation as well.

We are allocating $799 million to the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program, UASI. Let me say that again. We are dedicating $799 million to the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program. This advances preparedness in our nation's large metropolitan areas. This money goes to 62 of our highest risk urban areas, but of that money, 55 percent will go to the nation's seven highest risk urban areas.

In addition, nearly $40 million is being distributed to 124 cities through the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) program. Nearly $40 million to the Metropolitan Medical Response System program. This is designed to help integrate emergency management and medical systems in case of a disaster.

The Department of Homeland Security will also issue $34 million to the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program. This supports disaster coordination and planning for pre‑designated high risk areas.

And in addition, nonprofit organizations with particular security risks will benefit from $15 million in grants that are carved out of the Urban Area Security Initiative. This is designed so that high risk nonprofits can take their own security measures.

Now, I think we saw last week the need for these types of grants with the attack at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. And while the Holocaust Museum has never itself asked for any grant funds, about 63 percent of the recipients of the nonprofit grants being awarded today are affiliated with Jewish organizations.

We are also distributing $14.5 million through the Citizen Corps Program (CCP) to strengthen community involvement and preparedness, and $1.8 million in direct tribal aid to tribal governments to enhance their own homeland security objectives.

Now, a few points about how we improve the grant process, and then I'll open it up for questions.

First, we listened. Target allocations this year are based on stakeholder feedback.

Second, we understood the principle of sustainment, dedicating ourselves to projects that have staying power beyond a single grant program or grant cycle. We've made sure our partners know how funds can be used and should be used in sustained ways over time.

And third, we have streamlined the grant process. We're always trying to make the grant process more efficient for those would use it—simpler and easier to sustain, as I mentioned before.

And as I said earlier, the goal of these programs is to help our states, our communities, our tribes, our territories, to achieve a constant state of preparedness, the constant state we need to be in—in order to be as secure as we can be.

In closing, let me thank all of our partners in this process. Let me also thank the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security who have been involved in making this announcement today. 

With that, I'll be happy to answer any questions.

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