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Public Statements

Letter to Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary - Boost New York's Share of Critical Anti-Terror Funding as NYC Remains Top Terror Target in the Nation

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to provide New York with a boost in anti-terror funding given that the federal budget this year for state and local homeland security funding increased by an estimated 16 percent. New York City remains the top terror target in the nation and federal funds are used to protect New York's transit systems, ports and urban non-profits against security threats and terrorist attacks. With this year's additional available funding for programs such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), Schumer and Gillibrand are pushing for New York to receive a proportional increase from the state's $287 million allocation in risk-based funding last year. New York remains the top target for terrorists attempting to do harm in America -- there have been more than fifteen known plots to attack buildings and major transit hubs throughout New York City since 9/11.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also called for serious consideration of New York applications for competitive grant programs, including the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Port Security Grant Program, and Transportation Security Grant Program. The lawmakers pointed out that reducing anti-terror funding could weaken New York's ability to support its counterterrorism efforts and safeguard its infrastructure.

"Now that the Department of Homeland Security has more funding at its disposal to put towards protecting our transit system, ports, and other high-risk targets, New York should receive more from DHS than we have been allocated in the past. Under no circumstances should the funding provided to us remain stagnant," said Schumer. "We are the number-one target for terrorists, and these federal funds play a critical role in helping us successfully protect our most vulnerable targets across the city and the state. The level of funding we get helps keep millions of people safe every day, and it should continue to increase now that more funds are available."

"New York City remains the top terror target in the nation and we must continue to be vigilant in investing federal resources to keep us safe," said Gillibrand. "Maintaining these critical anti-terror funds will help arm law enforcement and non-profits with the tools needed to protect New York families."

The Senators wrote in a letter to Secretary Johnson, "With the increase in overall funding for these programs, New York should receive a proportional increase in this critical funding. Your department has a responsibility to allocate funding based on risk, paying the greatest attention to locations, such as New York, that experience the highest threat levels and have the greatest security needsÂ… These attempted attacks [in New York City] underscore the urgent need to continue to harden our infrastructure and protect the millions who live, visit, and work in New York from the real threats faced each day. We do not know when the next attempted terrorist attack will occur, but we are determined to ensure that New York has every resource to protect the public."

For this fiscal year, Congress has allocated a total of approximately $1.5 billion for state and local anti-terror programs through U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) -- an increase of approximately 16 percent from last fiscal year. The Department of Homeland Security allocates funding based on risk and will review factors, such as how funding would be used to build or improve on core capabilities, to determine applicant funding.

Last year, New York was awarded a total of $287 million for four major programs: the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Transit Security Grant Program, and Port Security Grant Program.

Urban Areas Security Initiative

This year's total nationwide UASI funding increased 7.4 percent. Last year, New York City received $174 million or 31 percent of the total pot of FY 2013 UASI funding allocations.

The UASI program is the lifeblood of New York's anti-terror programs and funds programs like the critical surveillance program for downtown Manhattan and its expansion into Times Square and midtown. The UASI program provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density Urban Areas, and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for UASI funds to be used in New York City.

State Homeland Security Program

This year's total national SHSP funding increased 31 percent. Last year, New York State received nearly $67 million, or 19 percent of the total pot of FY 2013 SHSP funding.

The SHSP provides funding to support the implementation of the State homeland security strategies to address identified planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.

Transit Security Grant Program

This year's total funding for Transit Security Grant Program increased 19.4 percent. Last year, New York received $27.5 million through the Transit Security Grant Program, which provides funding to the nation's high-threat urban areas for enhancement of security measures at critical transit infrastructure such as bus, ferry and rail systems, including the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand urged DHS Secretary to strongly consider all New York applications for this competitive grant program.

Port Security Grant Program

This year's total funding for Port Security Grant Program increased 7.2 percent. Last year, New York received approximately $13.3 million through the Port Security Grant program, which helps protect New York's port infrastructure, cargo and passenger terminals, improve risk-management capabilities and increase training.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand urged DHS Secretary to strongly consider all New York applications for this competitive grant program.

Full text of Senators' letter is below:

Dear Mr. Secretary,

As you allocate Fiscal Year 2014 grant funding for state and local programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency we request that you provide New York with an increase in funding through the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) that is proportional to the increase in funding appropriated to both these programs in FY14, and that you maintain at least level funding for New York through Operation Stonegarden. Additionally, we ask that you give serious consideration to any New York application submitted for funding through the competitive grant programs, including UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Port Security Grant Program, and Transportation Security Grant Program. A reduction in funding for New York could hinder the ability to guard our ports, transit systems and urban centers against a terrorist attempt.

New York received $287,009,692 in FY13 homeland security funding. In the FY14 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, Congress allocated $1,500,000,000 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an approximate 16% increase from FY13, for various State and Local programs, including UASI, Transportation Security, and Port Security grants. With the increase in overall funding for these programs, New York should receive a proportional increase in this critical funding. Your department has a responsibility to allocate funding based on risk, paying the greatest attention to locations, such as New York, that experience the highest threat levels and have the greatest security needs.

New York continues to be the number-one target of terrorism in the United States. Since September 11, 2001, there have been more than fifteen known plots to attack locations in New York City, including the failed attack on the Federal Reserve building, and plots to attack Times Square and New York City transit hubs. These attempted attacks underscore the urgent need to continue to harden our infrastructure and protect the millions who live, visit, and work in New York from the real threats faced each day. We do not know when the next attempted terrorist attack will occur, but we are determined to ensure that New York has every resource to protect the public.

We strongly urge you to ensure that a risk-based approach is used to provide New York with, at the very least, a level amount of funding. We appreciate your attention to this critical issue.


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