The Commonwealth of Virginia and the Port of Hampton Roads have received funding in FY 2014 from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) collectively in excess of fifteen million dollars.
These grants, which cover homeland security, port security, transit security and other activities, are part of a total $1.6 billion in Preparedness Grant Programs that were handed out to states and tribal governments.
Virginia received $7.4 million from the State Homeland Security Program out of a total of $401 million dollars that were awarded and another $8 million in Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG). The Hampton Roads area received $1 million from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which is designed to address the equipment and training needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas.
Of greatest importance to the trade was a little over $700,000 awarded to the Virginia Port Authority Port Security Grand Program funds. From the DHS press release:
The purpose of the FY 2014 PSGP is to competitively award grant funding to support increased port-wide risk management; enhance domain awareness; conduct training and exercises; expand of port recovery and resiliency capabilities; further capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from attacks involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other non-conventional weapons.
The issues of homeland security and port security are crucial. Like infrastructure, the cost of security that is focused on our nation cannot be expected to entirely be borne by the private sector alone. Grants like these are absolutely important to meet the rigorous demands and standards that Customs and Border Protection and other agencies require for access, cargo and employee screening and security to keep America’s ports safe.