Press Releases

Washington, DCWhile praising the Department of Homeland Security for its new risk-based approach for federal grant funding for local communities, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is urging Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to reconsider the recent announcement that the City of San Diego is now ineligible for FY06 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants.

“Using a risk-based strategy for the allocation of homeland security fund is the soundest way to protect America’s critical infrastructure where it is needed the most. And I believe that the new UASI framework seems to make more sense than what was in place before,” Senator Feinstein said. “I am concerned, however, that the San Diego Urban Area has not met the new eligibility criteria for UASI grants.

The new determination is surprising: San Diego is the second-largest city in California, and the seventh-largest in the United States. It is the home to several vital military bases, including Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Station. One third of the U.S. Naval Pacific Fleet is home ported in San Diego Bay, including nuclear carriers and submarines. I believe that I would benefit from a briefing, classified if necessary, on the data, principles and analysis that led to the new UASI grant formulation, and to better understand the ineligibility of San Diego.”

Following is the text of the letter Senator Feinstein sent to Homeland Security Chertoff:

January 12, 2006

The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

I write to congratulate you on implementing a risk-based formula for fiscal year 2006 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants. As you know, I have been a strong advocate for allocating Homeland Security funds where they are most needed. I will continue to work to reduce the small-state minimum that still ties up too much grant money prior to any risk analysis.

The new UASI framework certainly seems to make more sense than what was in place before. I am concerned, however, that the San Diego Urban Area, while eligible for sustainment funding this year, has not met the new eligibility criteria for UASI grants, so I'd like to raise and discuss options with you for providing this critical funding for one of the country's most heavily populated urban areas.

On its face, the new determination is surprising: San Diego is the second-largest city in California, and the seventh-largest in the United States. It is the home to several vital military bases, including Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Station. One third of the U.S. Naval Pacific Fleet is home ported in San Diego Bay, including nuclear carriers and submarines.

In my ongoing efforts to rationalize the allocation of Homeland Security funds, I believe that I would benefit from a briefing, classified if necessary, on the data, principles and analysis that led to the new UASI grant formulation. I have directed my Chief Counsel, Steven Cash, to contact your staff to arrange such a briefing. Any assistance or insight that you can provide, again, on a classified basis if necessary, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and thanks again for your leadership in establishing risk-based funding.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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