Sending Office: Honorable Val Butler Demings
Support Counter-Terror Capabilities in Urban Centers
Deadline to sign on: Friday, March 16 at COB
Current signers: Yvette D. Clarke, Steve Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Ruben J. Kihuen, Zoe Lofgren, Jacky Rosen, and Darren Soto
Please join me in seeking to protect our urban centers and sustain core readiness achieved under previous Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants in FY2019.
Since its creation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the UASI program has proven highly effective in assisting state and local law enforcement in large metropolitan regions strengthen their ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover
from acts of terrorism. For the last several years, the UASI program has been level-funded at $600 million annually, but the need to maintain a strong, risk-based allocation of funding at that level has meant several large cities have swung in and out of
eligibility from year to year.
While some amount of year-to-year fluctuations in these communities’ relative share of the overall national terrorism risk is to be expected, cities and urban areas that have experienced lapses in this crucial funding risk losing the capabilities created
with prior UASI funds. Certain counter-terror capabilities require baseline annual funding, without which capability begins to erode. We are all too familiar with soft targets in diverse mid-size cities becoming more frequent targets. As the first line of
defense, it is critical that local law enforcement agencies are equipped to detect, prevent and effectively respond to any enemy that threatens the safety of their citizens.
Cities that formerly received UASI funding include: Albany, Austin, Bakersfield, Baton Rouge, Bridgeport, Buffalo, Columbus, El Paso, Hartford, Honolulu, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Louisville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City,
Omaha, Orlando, Oxnard, Providence, Richmond, Rochester, Sacramento, San Juan, Syracuse, Toledo, Tuscon, and Tulsa.
For these reasons, I am requesting that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act not only maintain and restore funding for the UASI program but also include $58 million in additional funding to maintain capabilities developed
under previous UASI grant support.
Val Butler Demings
Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to protecting our nation from terrorism. As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we respectfully request that you include additional funding sufficient to sustain
core readiness achieved under previous Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants.
Homeland security is an ongoing mission that requires continuous attention and vigilance because the mission does not end. Since its creation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the UASI program has proven to be the most effective vehicle for delivering homeland
security funds where they are needed most: our nation’s highest-threat metropolitan areas. The program assists state and local law enforcement in these regions strengthen their abilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from
acts of terrorism.
We recognize that your leadership has guided the Subcommittee’s continued support of the UASI program, and maintained its funding level despite ongoing fiscal constraints and repeated requests by the Administration to realign or further cut the program.
Still, the prolonged reduction in UASI funding below the FY 2010-enacted level of $887 million has resulted in contracting program eligibility to continue the prioritization of funding to regions under the greatest risk of terrorist attack.
While we strongly agree that UASI funding must remain focused on the areas under the greatest threat and at the greatest risk, we are concerned that cities and urban areas that have experienced lapses in this crucial funding risk losing the increased capacity
and capabilities created with prior UASI funds. Certain counter-terror capabilities require a minimal baseline annual or recurring sustainment funding, without which capability levels begin to decrease as planning is not updated, equipment is not maintained,
refresher trainings are not provided, and exercises are not repeated.
Unfortunately, in recent years, numerous cities across our nation have been targeted by individuals seeking to carry out horrific public attacks. Acts of domestic terrorism are increasingly threatening soft targets in diverse mid-size cities. As the first
line of defense, it is critical that local law enforcement agencies are equipped to detect, prevent and effectively respond to any enemy that threatens the safety of their citizens. We have a responsibility to assist local law enforcement with dedicated resources
to sustain federally-funded capabilities that protect those at risk, and prevent or disrupt future attacks. We cannot afford for them to lose ground on preparedness.
Therefore, we respectfully urge you to not only maintain and restore funding for the UASI program, but also provide an additional $58 million in competitive grants to maintain core capabilities developed with previous UASI grant support.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0