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DHS Grant Process Reviewed

The recently revised risk- and needs-based grant allocation process for the Department of Homeland Security needs oversight to ensure its effectiveness, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) entitled FY2006 Homeland Security Grant Distribution Methods: Issues for the 109th Congress.

Previously, DHS grant distribution methods called for 0.75 percent of total appropriations for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) to be given equally to each state. The remaining money was then distributed at the discretion of DHS and was based on the state’s population. Although the new system still distributes 0.75 percent of the total appropriations to each state equally, the remaining money will now be apportioned based on a vulnerability and needs assessment for each state.

While CRS lauds the shift in how funds will be allocated, the report is concerned that DHS has not gone far enough to ensure that resources will be directed to locations most at risk. CRS also notes that funds will not be allocated until late spring, to give localities a chance to work up their plans and justifications. This delay could influence a state’s ability to accurately plan security activities for 2006, resulting in adjustments in security initiatives once the funds have been allocated, the report concludes.dhsgrant_homeland0506_0.pdf