PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said this week that the White House’s new budget proposal makes “ill-advised” cuts to funding for critical anti-terrorism programs that enable New York law enforcement to prevent and respond to terror attacks. Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Gregory Hauenstein
By Forum Staff
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this week that the White House’s recently released budget proposal makes “ill-advised” cuts to funding for critical anti-terrorism programs that enable New York law enforcement to prevent and respond to terror attacks. The Urban Area Security Initiative, which helps cities prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, was recommended for a funding level of only $330 million in the President’s request for Fiscal Year 2017, after being funded at $600 million in Fiscal Year 2016.
Schumer said that the budget request is ill-advised and far from adequate, and vowed to fight for an increase in UASI and related anti-terror funds for New York. The UASI program provides funding to address the unique needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas like the New York metropolitan area. Schumer noted that the President has been strong on security in general but this most recent funding cut by bureaucrats was a mistake.
“In light of recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the vow by our extremist enemies to launch more attacks on our shores, it makes no sense for bureaucrats in Washington to propose cuts to vital terror-prevention programs like UASI,” said Schumer. “New York City remains terror target #1 and the NYPD relies on these programs to keep us safe – something they have done a very good job of since 9-11.”
The Homeland Security Grant Program plays an important role in the implementation of the National Preparedness System and is comprised of three interconnected grant programs: The Urban Areas Security Initiative, the State Homeland Security Program, and Operation Stonegarden. Together, these grant programs fund a range of preparedness activities, including planning, organization, equipment purchase, training, exercises, and management and administration. Schumer has advocated for robust UASI funding for New York City through the Congressional appropriations process and has been successful in preventing planned cuts to already allocated UASI funding.
Schumer explained that New York City uses a portion of UASI funds to support crucial First Responder Training efforts. Examples of this include the FDNY’s Tiered Response Training and the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Training, such as the active shooter course. UASI funds also pay for coordinated regional planning exercises throughout the NYC metropolitan area. The exercises are designed to prepare and coordinate multi-jurisdictional emergency response related to a large and catastrophic event. UASI funds have been used on Ground Law Enforcement Security Measures, which includes heavy-weapons teams that conduct ongoing patrols at transit hubs, airports, bridges, subways, waterways and highly visited landmarks.