The Department of Homeland security has produced an updated list of cities eligible for anti-terror grants, according to the Associated Press. Eligibility is determined based on assessments of urban areas' risk of suffering an attack. Grants are issued through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which is one of five Homeland Security grant programs. UASI is the only program that uses risk of attack as a criteria for eligibility. UASI funding for 2007, according to the just-released Homeland Security 2007 budget, is $746,900,000. The budget for all five programs is about $1.7 billion which is just about the same as the 2006 budget (the difference is abouit $50,000).
The amended list both adds and subtracts eligible cities:
The list obtained Thursday by The Associated Press shows the four newly eligible cities are El Paso, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; Providence, R.I.; and Tucson, Ariz.
The cities that were cut from the list of 45 metropolitan areas are Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, La.; Louisville, Ky.; and Omaha, Neb.
As much as keeping American cities safe is necessary, I believe that DHS grant programs may also contribute to unnecessarily magnifying the threat of attack. Here's my logic: the availability of DHS grants give Congressional members (as well as state and local office holders) a reason to claim their state or city is under threat of attack. This interest may play a role in keeping legislators from questioning the logic of the Global War on Terror, or straightforwardly asking how large the threat of terrorist attack really is.
What do you think about this theory? Is the grant program necessary to safeguard American cities? Or does it contribute to a "threat" mentality? Please feel free to weigh in on by emailing me at email@example.com or share your views using the comment button below.
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