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Written testimony of FEMA Protection and National Preparedness Grants Program Directorate Assistant Administrator Brian Kamoie for a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Transportation Security, and Subcommittee on National Security hearing titled “Oversight of the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program”

Release Date: 
July 15, 2016

2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman DeSantis, Chairman Mica, and members of the Subcommittees on Transportation and Public Assets and National Security: good morning. I am Brian Kamoie, Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On behalf of Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate, thank you for the opportunity to discuss DHS and FEMA’s overall efforts to assist states, tribes, territories, and localities in preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks and incidents of mass violence.

The terrorist attacks in Dallas last week and in Orlando in June are reminders of how important it is for us, as a Nation, to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. This includes not only natural threats, such as flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, but also these types of organized terrorist attacks, lone shooters, and other man-made threats. Secretary Johnson and other DHS leadership are dedicated to determining how we can best prepare our communities for these types of events, and support them in the aftermath. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and our state and local law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to protect our communities and our freedoms.

During any type of incident, local first responders, including law enforcement personnel, are first on scene and play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. This administration remains committed to ensuring all first responders have the resources they need to plan, equip, train, exercise, and operationalize, so they may prevent, prepare for, mitigate, and respond to a wide range of catastrophic incidents.

Today, I will outline some of FEMA’s programs that support our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners in preparing for terrorist attacks and incidents of mass violence. I will also discuss how, through these programs, FEMA supported Florida and Orlando before and after the shooting in Orlando.

Homeland Security Preparedness Grant Programs

Since 2002, Congress, through the Department of Homeland Security, has awarded more than $47 billion in preparedness grant funding to our state, local, tribal, territorial, and non-profit partners.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, more than $1.6 billion was awarded to our partners to support their preparedness efforts. More than $1 billion of this is dedicated to the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) that provides funding to states, territories, high risk urban areas, local and tribal governments, and non-profit institutions. The HSGP enables our partners to build, sustain, and deliver core capabilities that are essential to achieving the National Preparedness Goal (the Goal) of a secure and resilient Nation. The HSGP includes the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), and the Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) program. The SHSP and UASI provide the funding needed to address planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs, while the OPSG program focuses on securing our nation’s borders. In addition to the HSGP, FEMA also provides funding to better secure key transportation routes through transit security, port security, and intercity bus and passenger rail security grants. These grants help protect the public who rely on these key methods of transportation as well as facilitate commerce.

Per Section 2006 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, FEMA is required to ensure that at least 25 percent of grant funding appropriated for the HSGP is used for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. This includes a range of activities authorized per 6 U.S.C. §607, such as information sharing and analysis, target hardening, forensics and attribution activities, screening, search and detection efforts, as well as the interdiction and disruption of potential terrorist events. FEMA meets this requirement by requiring all SHSP and UASI recipients to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded from those programs are dedicated to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. Those award recipients report to FEMA twice per year on their expenditures, including their compliance with the law enforcement terrorism prevention requirement.

In FY 2016, the SHSP provides $402 million to support building and sustaining preparedness capabilities. In FY 2015 and FY2016, Florida received more than $22 million in SHSP funds. Florida also received more than $1.3 million through the OPSG program to enhance cooperation and coordination among state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the Nation’s borders.

In FY 2016, UASI grants were allocated to the 29 U.S. metropolitan areas identified as high-threat, high-density urban areas. As mandated by the Homeland Security Act and to ensure limited UASI funds are allocated to the cities with the highest risk, each year FEMA conducts a risk assessment of the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The annual assessment is based on relative threat, vulnerability, and consequence factors from acts of terrorism faced by each MSA. Threat scores are derived from intelligence data compiled by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Vulnerability scores take into consideration information regarding targeted infrastructure that terrorists are deemed more likely to attack, as well as border crossings (i.e., air, land, and sea). Finally, consequence scores factor in an MSA’s population, economic, national infrastructure, and national security indices. The results of the risk assessment, including the scores and relative ranking, inform the Secretary’s decisions regarding eligible urban areas and funding allocations. The risk assessments are recalculated every year using the updated data.

Orlando received $44,502,824 in total UASI funding from FYs 2003-2012. In FY 2013, Congress, for the first time, directed DHS to limit the number of jurisdictions funded under the UASI program to focus funding in the highest-risk urban areas, and limited the number of eligible urban areas to 25. Orlando had a relative risk rank of #30 of 100 in FY 2013 and, therefore, did not receive dedicated UASI funding. In FY 2014, Congress lifted the restriction on the total number of urban areas that DHS could fund under the UASI program and allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security full discretion on determining the number of funded urban areas. In FY 2014, Secretary Johnson funded 39 urban areas, including Orlando (ranked #33) which received $1 million in UASI funding.

For FYs 2015 and 2016, in the annual Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Acts, Congress again directed DHS to restrict funding to “urban areas representing up to 85 percent of such risk” because “most of the cumulative national terrorism risk to urban areas is focused on a relatively small number of cities.” Secretary Johnson followed that Congressional direction and designated 28 urban areas as eligible for UASI funding in FY 2015 and 29 in FY 2016. Orlando fell outside the funded range in both of those years, ranking #32 in FY 2015 and #34 this fiscal year.

Previously awarded HSGP funds allocated to both the State of Florida and the City of Orlando have been used to increase preparedness, coordination, and response during the June 12, 2016 terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub. For example, an armored personnel carrier vehicle referred to as a “Bearcat” and the bomb-detection robot used during the response efforts were purchased with both UASI and SHSP funds. Following the attack, FEMA also immediately approved two requests from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the State Administrative Agency (SAA) for homeland security grant funds, to reallocate up to $253,000 in unspent HSGP funds for the incurred and anticipated law enforcement operational overtime expenses for the Orange County Sherriff’s Office. The approval allows officials to use up to $178,000 of these unspent FY 2014 UASI funds and $75,000 of these unspent FY 2014 SHSP funds for these expenses. In addition to DHS and FEMA funding, the Department of Justice made $1 million available to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Orlando’s behalf to help cover overtime costs for state and local law enforcement.

Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack and Countering Violent Extremism Grants

In FY 2016, Congress appropriated $39 million to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex, coordinated terrorist attacks (CCTA). The CCTA funds will enhance resilience and build capacity for addressing CCTAs across the Nation. The program provides funding to local, state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions of various types, sizes, and capabilities to improve their ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from CCTAs. Funding will be available for: enhancing plans; developing and implementing training; conducting exercises; enhancing information sharing and other prevention efforts; and producing lessons learned, best practices, and other materials that can be shared with jurisdictions across the country to support their efforts. FEMA will issue a notice of funding opportunity for this program before the end of FY 2016.

Section 543 of the 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Act also provided $10 million for a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative to help states, tribes, and local communities prepare for, prevent, and respond to emergent threats from violent extremism. Congress directed that these funds be provided on a competitive basis to state, local, and tribal governments, non-profit organizations, or intuitions of higher education. Funding will be available for activities including, but not limited to: planning, developing, implementing, or expanding educational outreach, community engagement, social service programs, training, and exercises.

On July 6, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a notice of funding opportunity announcing the launch of the CVE Grant Program. Eligible parties will have 60 days, until September 6, 2016, to prepare and submit applications for federal grant funding to support local CVE efforts. This program is designed to encourage new and scale successful community-led initiatives across the country and enhance the Nation’s resilience against threats posed by violent extremism.

Training First Responders

FEMA’s National Training and Education System (NTES) is designed to foster an integrated and effective approach to building the knowledge and skills of homeland security professionals. This world-class system includes the development and delivery of training courses to first responders on a wide variety of emergency response topics. In-person training is offered throughout the country, including at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama, where more than 45,000 responders are trained per year in disciplines such as emergency management, emergency medical services, fire service, hazardous materials, law enforcement, public safety communications, and public works. FEMA also manages the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and U.S. National Fire Academy, both housed at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

In addition to general emergency management training courses, FEMA offers training specifically designed to address terrorism incidents. For example, since 2011 EMI trained more than 700,000 participants, including students from Orlando, to respond to active shooter situations.

In coordination with the National Counter Terrorism Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FEMA developed and manages two training programs designed to assist communities in preparing for the kinds of complex terrorist attacks we have recently witnessed. The Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS) is geared to UASI cities, while the Integrated Emergency Management Course was developed for metropolitan areas that may have fewer resources and less experience with counterterrorism operations. So far, more than 6,200 responders across 26 cities have participated in JCTAWS, with 11 additional deliveries scheduled through FY 2017. In September 2014, Orlando hosted a JCTAWS with nearly 300 federal, state, local, and private-sector participants.

These programs are designed to be community-specific training initiatives to improve the ability of local jurisdictions to prepare for, protect against, and respond to complex coordinated attacks. Through briefings, case studies, facilitated discussions, and planning workshops, participants work through attack scenarios to identify gaps in their current plans as well as mitigation strategies.

Conclusion

It is the local first responders – law enforcement, fire, EMS – who are first on the scene and thus are our most important partners in preparing for, mitigating, and responding to attacks such as what took place in Orlando and Dallas. FEMA is honored to support these and all first responders by administering and utilizing the resources Congress provides to implement these programs as an integral part of the Nation’s preparedness. FEMA will continue to work with Orlando, the State of Florida, Dallas, the State of Texas, and our partners to help organize, train, equip, and exercise our first responders, so they are prepared to respond to any future incident. I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss these important programs, and I am happy to respond to any questions the subcommittee may have at this time or moving forward. Thank you.

Last Published Date: December 13, 2019
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