Sunday, December 14, 2014

Radical Islam: An Escalating Threat

This article by John Powers addresses the escalating threat posed by radical Islam and the safe havens that support the movement.

This was originally written as an Op-Ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

"We have ignored warnings of serious threats before that resulted in extreme consequences. The 1930’s are a good example. In many respects the current threat of radical Islam is much more serious as it could easily become irreversible if we fail to act decisively.

"The reason for such a dire prospect is that the number of safe havens that serve as centers for recruitment appear to be multiplying exponentially. Forty years ago, radical Islam seemed fairly limited and the threat was mainly in the background until the bombings in 1983 (Beirut Embassy) and 1993 (World Trade Center). Today, the numbers of recruits flocking to ISIS is a bit frightening and is best viewed as an indicator of the rate of growth of this threat. For perspective, we only need consider the damage done by Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen prior to his death in 2011 to understand the potency of these safe havens.

"Radical Islam was not seen by most as a serious threat until al Qaeda brought down the twin towers and the Taliban took over Afghanistan. While the Taliban was not welcomed by the majority of Afghanis, little was done until it was believed that Osama bin Laden was offered sanctuary there."

Download a PDF of the full article here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

FY2014 DHS Preparedness Grant Programs Allocation for #UASI

FY 2014 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)

According to the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD), a component of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the HSGP is one tool among a comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Administration to help strengthen the Nation against risks associated with acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. The FY 2014 HSGP plays an important role in the implementation of the National Preparedness System (NPS) by supporting the building, sustainment, and delivery of core capabilities essential to achieving the National Preparedness Goal of a secure and resilient Nation.

The FY 2014 HSGP supports core capabilities across the five mission areas of Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery based on allowable costs. HSGP is comprised of three interconnected grant programs:

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)*. SHSP provides $401,346,000 to support the implementation of the NPS to address planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. SHSP also provides funding to implement initiatives that address shortfalls and deficiencies identified in the State Preparedness Report (SPR).

Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)*. The UASI program provides $587,000,000 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 and other catastrophic events.

Operation Stonegarden (OPSG). OPSG provides $55,000,000 to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States’ borders along routes of ingress from international borders to include travel corridors in states bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as states and territories with international water borders.

Per the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–296), Title XX, § 2006, as amended by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-53) (hereafter “9/11 Act”), Title I, §101, August 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 280, 6 U.S.C. § 607, states are required to ensure that at least 25 percent (25%) of the combined HSGP funds allocated under SHSP and UASI are dedicated to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA) linked to one or more core capabilities within the National Preparedness Goal (the goal). The LETPA allocation can be from SHSP, UASI, or both.

Allowable Investments made in support of the HSGP priorities as well as other capability-enhancing projects must fall into the categories of planning, organization, exercises, training, or equipment. Grant funds cannot be used to purchase general use equipment including weapons and ammunition. Full details on allowable cost are provided in FEMA grant guidance.

There are 21 allowable prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery equipment categories and equipment standards for HSGP which are listed on the Authorized Equipment List (AEL) on the Lessons Learned Information System. Unless otherwise stated, equipment must meet all mandatory regulatory and/or DHS-adopted standards to be eligible for purchase using these funds. In addition, agencies will be responsible for obtaining and maintaining all necessary certifications and licenses for the requested equipment.

UASI has been providing funding to urban areas since 2003.  The dollar amount and number of locations has changed annually as shown below.   For 2014, 39 urban areas are receiving UASI grant funding. Amounts vary drastically with New York City getting $178,926,000 and most urban areas getting $1-5.5 million.

- See more at:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Free “How to Search” Training Guides are Now Available for SAR Personnel

I wanted to make everyone aware of a free resource (with no commercial agenda) that is now available to the Search and Rescue (SAR) community. This is a project that was developed by members of the SAR community who simply have the desire to make SAR personnel more effective searchers. The web site is supported through an endowment.

International Search and Rescue (ISAR) Alliance Training Library

The Frank Parker Training Library[1] is made up of a set of structured instructional modules designed to be used by Training Officers to help them to train personnel in “how to search”.

These modules have been crafted by Dave Perkins and Pete Roberts, the fathers’ of “critical separation” and other innovative search field skills.

All the documents in this training library are free.

Visit the ISAR Alliance web site at  and click on “Training Library”:
The aim of these training modules are to achieve certain “how to search” proficiencies. 

These proficiencies include:

  • Understanding of the different phases of an incident, and an awareness of the type of searching used in each phase
  • Overview of the fundamentals of the visual process
  • Awareness of the effect of an object’s color in searching for that object in daylight and at night
  • Appreciation of the different types of lighting used for searching at night, and an understanding of how they should be used
  • Understanding of the individual skills and the group skills required to search a route as a member of a small field team in daylight and at night
  • Understanding of how to find Critical Separation in the field, to be aware of what affects it has, and to understand how to find a suitable location for its determination
  • Understanding of grid searching, an understanding of the skills required to operate as a member of a grid search team, and an awareness of its limitations
  • Appreciation of why purposeful wandering is necessary, and an understanding of how to do it
  • Appreciation of why sub-sectoring can be necessary, and an understanding of how to be a member of a small search team that uses it

[1] This training library was made possible by a donation from the estate of the late Frank Parker.