Why $400 Million Will Not Save Tier II UASIs

Yesterday’s blog provided a chart that shows how the Senate’s proposed FY 2012 Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) budget compared to previous years.  While the chart shows a steep decline, you may think that $400 million is still a lot of money.  It certainly is a lot of money, and it is better than what the House bill would have provided, but the chart belies the impact on what DHS calls “Tier II” UASI cities. 

Today’s blog looks at the impact of the proposed funding level on UASI cities.

The total number of UASI cities grew to 64 in FY 2010 but saw a dramatic decrease in FY 2011 when it was cut down to 31 due to a 21% decrease in funding.  One can only guess at this point how many FY 2012 UASIs there will be; but, an educated guess is that there will be no more than ten or eleven.  Eleven is the current number of Tier I cities, while ten is a number that has been thrown around by both legislators and grants managers.

The Tier I cities have historically received the “Lion’s Share” of the UASI funding based on a DHS formula that allocated the majority of the funding to these high-risk and heavily populated regions. With less money available, and a desire to keep funding the most high-risk cities, one can assume that only the top cities will be funded in 2012.

By The Numbers

In round numbers, the Senate’s proposed 2012 UASI allocation is 40% less than FY 2011 and only half of the FY 2010 funding amount. Due to the funding curve, where smaller, lower risk cities get smaller amounts, you need to drop a lot of smaller cities to maintain funding for the larger higher risk cities. The 2011 awards dropped 33 of the smaller cities, many of them relatively large cites like Kansas City.

Assuming that the strategy will be to keep as much funding going to the top ten cities, the following chart demonstrates the impact on the other larger high-risk cities.  The top ten, if funded, would share funding which totals only 79% of their current funding levels. While these cities would see significantly reduced funding, all of the other cities would be dropped off the list.  This means that 54 previously funded cities would be dropped. The largest of these is Miami, while Boston is currently ranked higher based on Risk.

Theoretical 2012 UASI Allocations Compared to Previous Years

Of course, this is all conjecture. It could end up that the final budget is more or less.  The number of cities could be less; DHS could opt to go back to the original seven UASI I cities that were the first funded after 9/11.  If the House prevails, homeland security funding will be a block grant. If the FEMA disaster funding impacts the budget, as many think it will, the budget could be cut further. The states are currently proposing grant reforms which may totally change the funding process. The future is uncertain to say the least.

But for now, based on what the Senate Appropriations Committee is voting on today, it seems safe to assume that only seven to eleven UASIs will be funded in 2012.


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