Selected Federal Homeland Security Assistance Programs: A Summary
Selected Federal Homeland Security
Assistance Programs: A Summary
Updated March 28, 2008
Analyst in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Selected Federal Homeland Security
Assistance Programs: A Summary
Congress has supported a limited number of programs specifically designed to
assist state and local governments with homeland security activities. Some programs
assist first responders with preparing for terrorist attacks, particularly those involving
weapons of mass destruction. In addition, Congress has authorized several general
assistance programs that states and localities may use for terrorism preparedness.
The Department of Homeland Security administers most of the assistance
programs, and on August 3, 2007, Congress enacted P.L. 110-53, the Implementing
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which changes the
distribution methods the Department of Homeland Security uses to allocate the
funding for most of these programs. P.L. 110-53 requires the department to allocate
homeland security grants based on risk from FY2008 through FY2012. On
December 26, 2007, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of
2008 (P.L. 110-161) and the act required the department to allocate the FY2008 state
and local homeland security assistance programs as required by P.L. 110-53.
In addition to the Department of Homeland Security, other agencies, including
the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Justice
administer programs that provide various kinds of homeland security assistance.
Congress authorizes these assorted programs to provide help in a variety of forms,
including grants, training, technical assistance, equipment, and exercises. Most of
the programs focus on assisting state and local first responders — such as fire
service, emergency medical service, and law enforcement personnel — prepare for
potential attacks. Some observers believe that with the threat of bioterrorism, public
health officials should also be considered first responders.
This report will be updated as congressional or executive actions warrant.
Department of Homeland Security.................................1
State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP)................1
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP).........2
Urban Area Security Initiative Program (UASI)..................3
Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants.....................3
Assistance to Firefighters Program............................3
Citizen Corps’ Community Emergency Response Teams...........4
Emergency Management Performance Grants....................5
Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces.........................5
Other DHS Homeland Security Assistance Programs and Activities..6
Emergency Management Institute.............................7
National Fire Academy.....................................7
Department of Defense.........................................8
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.......8
Department of Energy..........................................8
Homeland Defense Equipment Reuse Program...................8
Department of Health and Human Services..........................8
Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement.....8
Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program....................9
Department of Justice..........................................9
State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training........................9
List of Tables
Table 1. Eligible Activities and Applicants for Selected Federal Homeland
Security Assistance Programs...................................10
Selected Federal Homeland Security
Assistance Programs: A Summary
This report lists and describes selected federal homeland security assistance
programs for state and local governments, particularly those that assist in preparing
for, responding to, and recovering from terrorist attacks, including incidents
involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Some of the programs provide aid
specifically for this purpose, while others are general assistance programs that
recipients may use for homeland security. Depending on the structure of the
program, local governments seeking assistance may apply directly to the federal
agency or to their state program administrator.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers most federal
homeland security assistance programs. Other programs are administered by several
agencies, including the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), Health and
Human Services (HHS), and Justice (DOJ). These agencies provide grants, training,
and technical assistance for a wide range of homeland security activities.
This report provides the title, a brief description, and administering federal
agency. It does not provide details on course offerings, application requirements, or
Table 2 provides information on eligible activities and applicants for the
assistance programs in this report.
Department of Homeland Security
Within DHS, the Office of Grant Programs provides homeland security
assistance to state and local governments. All these assistance programs provide
grants to state and local entities, including law enforcement agencies, fire
departments, emergency medical services, and emergency managers. These
programs provide funding to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and respond to manmade
or natural hazards.
State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP). This assistance
program provides financial assistance to states and territories to prepare for terrorist
attacks involving WMD. In accordance with their approved homeland security plan,
states must allocate 80% of the grant funds to localities and distribute the funds
within 45 days after receiving the allocated funds from the Office of Grant Programs.
There is no matching fund requirement for this program.
The program authorizes purchase of specialized equipment to enhance state and
local agencies’ capability in preventing and responding to WMD incidents, and
provides funds for protecting critical infrastructure of national importance. This
program provides grant funds for designing, developing, conducting, and evaluating
WMD exercises; developing and conducting WMD training programs; and updating
and implementing each state’s Homeland Security Strategy (SHSS).1
Funds from this program may be used to plan for, design, develop, conduct, and
evaluate exercises that train first responders, and to assess the readiness of state and
local jurisdictions to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. Exercises must be
threat- and performance-based, in accordance with the National Integration Center’s
(within the Federal Emergency Management Agency) Homeland Security Exercise
and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) manuals. Exercises conducted with funds from
this program must be managed and executed in accordance with HSEEP.2
Funds from this program may be used to enhance the capabilities of state and
local first responders through the development of a state homeland security training
program. Allowable training costs include establishment of WMD training capacities
within existing training academies, universities, and junior colleges.3
States are the only authorized applicants, with the following state and local
entities eligible to receive funding:
!emergency management agencies or offices;
!homeland security agencies or offices;
!law enforcement agencies;
!emergency medical services;
!hazardous material-handling personnel;
!public works agencies or offices;
!public health agencies or offices;
!governmental administrative agencies or offices; and
!public safety communications agencies or offices.4
For information on how DHS allocates funding for this program, see CRS Report
RL34181, Distribution of Homeland Security Grants in FY2007 and P.L. 110-53,
Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, by Shawn Reese and
Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP). From
FY2004 through FY2007, Congress appropriated funding for this program, however,
1 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Domestic Preparedness, Fiscal Year
2007 Homeland Security Grant Program: Program Guidance and Application Kit
2 Ibid., p. 3.
3 Ibid., p. 4.
4 Ibid., p. 2.
in the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) there is no separate
line item for LETPP. In accordance with the Implementing Recommendations of the
of their SHSGP and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) allocations on law
enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
Urban Area Security Initiative Program (UASI). This program is a
discretionary grant program that provides funding to metropolitan areas (including
counties and mutual aid partners), to prepare for, prevent, and respond to terrorist
incidents. DHS conducts a vulnerability and threat assessment that considers
location of critical infrastructure and population density of all major metropolitan
areas. Based on these assessments, and at the DHS Secretary’s discretion, selected
metropolitan areas receive grant funds that are passed directly through from the
states.5 Each local government within the threat urban area shares a portion of the
allocated funds. There is no matching requirement for this program. For information
on how DHS allocates funding for this program, see CRS Report RL34181,
Distribution of Homeland Security Grants in FY2007 and P.L. 110-53, Implementing
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, by Shawn Reese and Steven Maguire.
Metropolitan areas may use funds from this program to purchase specialized
WMD equipment, plan and execute exercises, pay first responder overtime costs
associated with heightened threat levels, and train first responders. Additionally,
funds from this program can be used for port and mass transit security, radiological
defense systems, pilot projects, and technical assistance.6 DHS selects metropolitan
areas to receive funding based on the department’s vulnerability and threat
Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants. These grants are for
multi-jurisdictional efforts to promote regional preparedness for all-hazards
catastrophic disasters, including mass evacuations. A portion of the funding is to be
awarded to UASI recipients, with the remainder of funding allocated based on all-
hazards assessments of regional applications.7
Assistance to Firefighters Program.8 This program awards one-year
grants directly to fire departments to enhance their abilities to respond to fires and9
fire-related hazards. The program seeks to support fire departments that lack the
5 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Domestic Preparedness, Fiscal Year
2007 Homeland Security Grant Program: Program Guidance and Application Kit
6 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Press Secretary, “Securing the
Homeland: Protecting Our Urban Areas,” press release, May 14, 2003. Available at
[http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=677], visited April 1, 2004.
7 Conference report accompanying P.L. 110-161, Div. E, Title III.
8 For further information on the Assistance to Firefighters program see CRS Report
RS21302, Assistance to Firefighters Program, by Len Kruger.
9 In the conference report to accompany H.R. 2555 (H.Rept. 108-280), the Assistance to
tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and
firefighting personnel.10 The program’s grant application process is competitive, and
applications are peer reviewed by state and local fire department officials.
This program provides funds to support firefighter safety, fire prevention,
emergency medical services, and firefighting vehicle acquisition. Individual fire
departments are eligible to apply for grants under this program.
Citizen Corps’ Community Emergency Response Teams. On January
29, 2002, President Bush issued an executive order11 which established the USA
Freedom Corps. USA Freedom Corps’ mission is to increase opportunities for
citizens by expanding and enhancing public service. Within the USA Freedom
Corps, the Citizen Corps program was established to coordinate volunteer
organizations, with the mission to make local communities safe and prepared to
respond to any emergency situation. Community Emergency Response Teams
(CERT) is the only program of the four which Citizen Corps administers that
provides grant funding to volunteer first responders. The grant funding formula used
for this program is based on population, with a minimum of 0.75% guaranteed to
every state, with the remaining amount distributed in direct proportion to the
population of each state as directed by the USA PATRIOT Act.12
CERT trains people to be prepared to respond to emergency situations in their
own local communities. CERTs are groups of volunteers within communities that
are trained by professional first responders to assist in the event of a disaster. CERT
members give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to
victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site.
This program authorizes the funding to provide for training of CERT members
only. The CERT program is a professionally instructed course is taught by a team
of first responders who have the requisite knowledge and skills. The course, taught
to groups of citizens within their communities, and consists of two and a half hour
sessions held one evening a week, over a seven week period.13 States apply for a
grant under this program, while any community that has established a Citizen Corps
Council is also eligible to receive funding from this program.
Firefighters grant program is to be administered by ODP. It also specifies that the grant
administration process will not be changed from the present procedures, to include peer
review and involvement by USFA.
10 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
“FY2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Guidance,” (Washington: 2003), p. 2.
11 U.S. President, Bush, “Establishing the USA Freedom Corps,” Executive Order 13254,
Federal Register, vol. 67, February 1, 2002, section 1, p. 4869.
12 P.L. 107-56, sec. 1014(c)(3).
13 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
Community Emergency Response Team Overview, [http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/CERT/
overview.asp], visited April 1, 2004.
Emergency Management Performance Grants. This program is
designed to assist the development, maintenance, and improvement of state and local
emergency management capabilities. It provides support to state and local
governments to achieve measurable results in key functional areas of emergency14
management. The grant formula used for this program is based on population, with
a minimum of 0.75% guaranteed to every state, with the remaining amount15
distributed in direct proportion to the population of each state. The distribution of
funds from states to localities is at the discretion of each state’s EMPG administering
agency, typically the state emergency management agency or office. The state
matching requirement for this program is 50%.16
EMPG funds are used for emergency management personnel costs, travel,
training, supplies, and other routine expenditures for emergency management
activities.17 Funds from this grant program may also be used for consequence
management preparedness projects and programs that develop and improve the
capabilities of states and localities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from acts18
of terrorism involving WMD.
States may use the funds provided through the EMPG to structure their
individual emergency management programs based on identified needs and priorities
for strengthening emergency management capabilities. States may also use EMPG
funds to develop intrastate emergency management systems that encourage
partnership building among government, business, and volunteer and community
organizations.19 State emergency management agencies or offices are eligible
applicants and recipients of this grant program; additionally, state emergency
management agencies may pass funds to emergency management offices at the local
Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces. The Federal Response Plan
calls for Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task forces to provide special rescue
assistance to state and local authorities when requested following a disaster.20 Such
14 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
FY2003 EMPG Guidance to States, (Washington: 2003), p. 2.
15 R. David Paulson, Director, Preparedness Division, Federal Emergency Management
Agency, Allocation of FY 2003 Emergency Management Performance Grant Funds,
memorandum for regional directors and acting regional directors, March 20, 2003, p. 1. P.L.
107-56, sec. 1014(c)(3). This formula mirrors the Office of Grant Program’s State
Homeland Security Grant program and is based on the USA PATRIOT Act.
16 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
FY2003 EMPG Guidance to States, (Washington: 2003,) p. 3.
17 Ibid., p. 6.
18 Ibid., p. 8.
19 Ibid., p. 9.
20 The Federal Response Plan (FRP) outlines procedures for FEMA and other federal
agencies in meeting needs of state and local governments overwhelmed by disasters. The
capabilities include locating and extricating victims in collapsed structures and
providing on-site medical treatment as necessary. Each task force has at least 62
personnel, with at least two people in each of 31 positions. Most members are either
firefighters or paramedics, but some are private sector specialists.21
FEMA provides full funding for the initial equipment costs of new task forces,
which amounted to $1.7 million for each task force when the program started. FEMA
also provides some funds to meet ongoing training and equipment costs. According
to program officials, state and local governments can expect to pay 80% of the long-
term costs associated with sponsoring a US&R task force. In addition to providing
funding for equipment and training, FEMA also provides hands-on training in search
and rescue techniques and equipment, and technical assistance to local communities
that support US&R task forces.22
Most US&R funds are used to purchase or upgrade equipment, and provide
training to US&R task force personnel. Funds also provide for equipping new task
forces. Several years have passed since new task forces were initiated, however,
FEMA has not determined how much funding would be necessary today to equip a
new task force. Funding is directed to the 28 nationwide US&R task forces, which
are the only eligible applicants under this program.
Other DHS Homeland Security Assistance Programs and Activities.
The Office of Grant Programs also administers noncompetitive grant programs.
Grant recipients are determined at the DHS Secretary’s discretion. Primarily, DHS
conducts threat and risk assessments to determine what entities or jurisdictions are
eligible to receive funding. These grant programs include:
!Metropolitan Medical Response System;
!Public Transportation Security Assistance and Railroad Security
!Port Security Grants;
!Over-the-Road Bus Security Assistance;
!Trucking Industry Security Grants;
!Buffer Zone Protection Program.23
Additionally, The Office of Grant Programs conducts research and development
through its Equipment Acquisition and Support Program within SHSGP, which works
role of US&R Task Forces is discussed in Emergency Support Function #9. Available at
[http://www.fema.gov/rrr/frp/], visited April 1, 2004.
21 An example of private sector specialists would be members with hazardous materials
22 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
National Urban Search and Rescue System, [http://www.fema.gov/usr/nusrs.shtm], visited
April 1, 2004.
23 Conference report accompanying P.L. 110-161, Div. E, Title III.
with federal, state, and local entities on equipment related issues such as testing,
standards, and the identification of new equipment needs.24
The National Integration Center offers a number of training and technical
assistance programs to state and local agencies to enhance their ability to respond to
domestic emergency incidents. The center works with a number of specialized
institutions in the design and delivery of the training programs, one of which is the
National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, a partnership involving several public
universities and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Technical assistance is generally targeted to state and local agencies to enhance
their ability to develop, plan, and implement programs for WMD preparedness. The
Office of Grant Programs provides specific assistance in such areas as the
development of response plans, exercise scenarios, conduct of risk and vulnerability
assessments, and the development of the domestic preparedness strategies.25
Emergency Management Institute. The Institute provides training for state
and local emergency response personnel in basic emergency management and
terrorism preparedness and is intended to improve emergency management practices
among state and local emergency managers, as well as federal officials. Programs
embody the Comprehensive Emergency Management System by unifying the elements
of management common to all emergencies: preparedness, mitigation, response, and
recovery. It provides training in the following areas:
!readiness and technology;
!disaster operations and recovery; and26
!integrated emergency management.
National Fire Academy. The Academy provides training for state and local
emergency managers to increase the professional level of the fire service and
emergency medical service. Courses are offered at the National Fire Academy
training facility in Emmitsburg, MD, but also through regional offices and distance
learning mechanisms. The Academy offers a wide selection of courses in such areas
as professional development, incident management, information management,
hazardous materials, fire prevention, and volunteer leadership.
24 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Domestic Preparedness, About the
Office of Domestic Preparedness Support - Philosophy, pp. 1-2. Available at
[http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/about/philosophy.htm], visited April 1, 2004.
25 Ibid., pp. 2-3.
26 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
FY2003-FY2004 Emergency Management Institute Course Catalog, available at
[http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/], visited April 1, 2004.
Department of Defense
Presently, DOD provides only one program for state and local first responders.
This program, through the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious
Diseases (USAMRIID), provides medical training for public health professionals.
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
USAMRIID provides training opportunities for public health professionals. Courses
are taught at the USAMRIID facility in Aberdeen, MD, but are also available through
satellite broadcasts and other distance learning mechanisms. Courses focus on
recognizing signs of bioterrorism attacks, planning and preparing for mass casualties,
and preventing the spread of disease.
Department of Energy
DOE , through its Office of Assets Utilization, provides homeland security
assistance by providing equipment to state and local first responders. DOE also
conducts research and development activities in the field of homeland security
technologies; however, this research and development program does not provide direct
assistance to state and local governments for domestic preparedness activities.
Homeland Defense Equipment Reuse Program. DOE’s Office of Assets
Utilization offers surplus radiological detection instrumentation to cities through its
Homeland Defense Equipment Reuse Program. Equipment is “older-generation”
instrumentation that would otherwise be destroyed. Recipients receive equipment
training from ODP.
Department of Health and Human Services
HHS provides grants and planning assistance to states and localities for public
health and medical preparedness and response through two grant programs, the Public
Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreement, administered by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Healthcare Systems
Preparedness grants, administered by the office of the HHS Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement.
CDC administers this program that provides formula grants to the health departments
of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the nation’s three
largest municipalities (New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles County) to upgrade state
and local preparedness for responding to bioterrorism attacks and other public health
threats and emergencies. Funding must be used for preparedness planning, expanding
disease surveillance and epidemiologic capacity, strengthening lab capacity,
establishing a secure communications network among state and local public health
agencies, joint training and exercising, and community engagement.27
27 For more information, see CDC, Cooperative Agreement Guidance for Public Health
Emergency Preparedness, at [http://www.bt.cdc.gov/planning/coopagreement/].
Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program. ASPR administers two
Healthcare System Preparedness grant programs: (1) The Hospital Preparedness
Program (HPP) that provides formula grants to the health departments of all 50 states,
the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the nation’s three largest
municipalities (New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles County). The program
facilitates state and regional planning with local hospitals and other health care
facilities, upgrades the preparedness of these entities to respond to bioterrorism,
natural outbreaks of infectious disease, and other public health emergencies; and (2)
the Healthcare Facilities Partnership Program (HFP), which provides competitive
grants to to partnerships of hospitals or healthcare facilities and state or local
governments, to improve medical surge capacity and enhance community and hospital
preparedness for public health emergencies.28
Department of Justice
DOJ provides training and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement
personnel through its Bureau of Justice Assistance. Other assistance provided by
DOJ, such as the Justice Assistance Grant Program and Community-Oriented Policing
Service, are within the Office of Justice Programs and provide assistance for public
safety. They are not specifically focused on homeland security, and therefore are not
covered in this report.29
State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training. Funding is available to provide
training and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement personnel. Four
broad categories are funded:
!providing state and local law enforcement agencies with knowledge
of “political” extremist movements;
!disseminating information relating to vital elements of law
enforcement preparedness for terrorist attacks;
!providing a general planning orientation to state and local law
enforcement agencies pertaining to crisis and consequence
management and incident command; and
!maintaining and enhancing a domestic terrorism database.
28 For more information, see ASPR, National Healthcare Preparedness Program, at
29 For more information on these programs, see CRS electronic briefing book apcjs28, Office
of Justice Programs (in the CRS Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Briefing
Book), by Bill Krouse, and Cindy Hill. Available at [http://www.congress.gov/brbk/
html/apcjs28.html], visited March 25, 2004.
Table 1. Eligible Activities and Applicants for Selected Federal
Homeland Security Assistance Programs
Program Applica nts
Planning Personnel Equipment Training Exercise s
meland Security Grant XXXXStates
an Area Security InitiativeXXXXXNAa
iki/CRS-RL32348sistance to FirefightersXXIndividual firedepartments
s.ormmunity Emergency Response TeamsXStates
w Enforcement Terrorism Prevention (now part ofXXStates
://wiki and UASI)
ergency Management Performance GrantsXXXXXStates
Search and Rescue Task ForcesXXNAb
ergency Management InstituteXStates
State and local
nal Fire AcademyXgovernments
rmy Medical Research Institute of InfectiousState and local
eases X go ve r nme nt s
Program Applica nts
Planning Personnel Equipment Training Exercise s
meland Defense Equipment Reuse ProgramXLocal governments
blic Health Preparedness and Response toStates and selected
m ProgramXXXlocal governments
iki/CRS-RL32348States and selected
g/woterrorism Hospital Preparedness ProgramXXXXlocal governments
://wikid Local Anti-Terrorism Training ProgramXState and localgovernments
U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Justice.
he Urban Area Security Initiative program is a discretionary grant program; DHS selects the recipients, through risk and threat assessments.
wenty eight federally recognized Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces receive direct funding from DHS without an application. No other urban search and rescue task forces
e grant funding from this program.