The Christie Administration announced today that New Jersey has been awarded more than $53 million in federal homeland security dollars for federal fiscal year 2013. The funding falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) core homeland security programs. This year, the U.S. DHS is distributing more than $1.5 billion to the states for a wide variety of homeland security and preparedness activities.
"Increased federal homeland security funds to help state and local law enforcement agencies better protect our citizens and our key infrastructure is fitting as we approach the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th attacks," said Governor Christie. "The increase in the amount of federal funding is a testament to the leadership and efficient grant management practices of Ed Dickson and his team at the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness."
The state's seven-county Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) received more than $21.6 million in funding for 2013, which represents the same amount of funding received last year. The New Jersey UASI, which includes Jersey City, Newark, and the seven counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic and Union, is considered an area at a greater risk of a terrorist attack, and thus received the seventh highest amount of funding awarded to the 25 UASI areas across the country.
Additionally, New Jersey was awarded more than $7.2 million under the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), which represents the sixth highest amount of SHSP funding across the nation. This year's funding is more than $1 million more than the amount awarded in 2012, and represents an increase of more than 16% compared to last year's award. As a result, OHSP will distribute more than $5.8 million to the state's 21 counties based on a variety of factors, including risk, population and number of critical infrastructure sites. Funds will be used on a variety of homeland security, emergency management and domestic preparedness initiatives in each county.
Moreover, New Jersey nonprofit organizations operating in the UASI area will share in more than $861,000 in federal grants to improve their physical security under the 2013 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSPG). This year's funding is more than 10% than the total amount awarded last year, and represents the third highest amount of funding awarded to UASI areas throughout the country. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has made $10 million available under this program, and established the criteria for eligible organizations. Nonprofit organizations awarded funding under this program will be announced in the coming weeks, and funds will be used to bolster physical security, purchase equipment, and train security personnel.
"We will continue to follow the Governor's directive to distribute all homeland security funds based entirely on risk," said Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) Director Edward Dickson. "Even though we are seeing an increase this year, given the reoccurring fiscal uncertainties, we cannot be assured of annual increases. Thus, we must continue to maximize investment opportunities, enhance existing partnerships with state and local agencies, and develop projects and programs that benefit entire regions and not just specific zip codes."
Dickson said that transportation agencies in and around New Jersey were awarded more than $13.9 million under the Transit Security Grant Program. In fact, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, and the Delaware River Port Authority were awarded nearly 20% of the total funds made awarded under this nationwide program.
Dickson reported that under the Port Security Grant Program, law enforcement, emergency management agencies and critical private sector facilities operating in and around New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania ports were awarded more than $2.1 million in funding. Funds will be used to increase port area recovery and resiliency efforts, conduct port-related training programs and exercises, and improve the improvised explosive device (IED) prevention efforts in and around port areas. Furthermore, the New Jersey State Police was awarded more than $8 million under the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) Program to assist in the implementation of the National Preparedness System, which remains a key priority for U.S. DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Dickson said that OHSP is in the process of notifying each county of their direct award amount under the SHSP grant program. More information about OHSP and federal homeland security funding can be found at www.njhomelandsecurity.gov.