Protecting Our Homeland: Incorporating Vulnerability to Terrorism in State Homeland Security Grants
Vulnerabilities realized following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 highlight the need for the Federal government to allocate funding for the prevention and response to terrorist events based on vulnerability to terrorism. However, the funding formula used by the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) is based on a lump sum to all states plus an incremental amount distributed by population. Therein the formula does not explicitly address varying risks across States. The objective of this paper is to theoretically formulate an alternative formula to distribute grant funding based on vulnerability to terrorism across States. Empirical techniques are used to test three hypotheses regarding grant funding. State government data are used to infer the optimal funding levels to cover expected damages associated with various targets: population density, hazardous material sources, federal courts, hospitals, interstates, pipelines, power generation, public water use, airports, universities, port capacity, and confined feeding operations. State allocations for the SHSP and the larger Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) are compared to allocations based on vulnerability to terrorism. Vulnerability-based allocations are calculated for all states. The difference between vulnerability-based allocations and the SHSP allocations indicate that the SHSP program over-compensates for population-based vulnerabilities and under-compensates for other vulnerabilities. The results suggest that the HSGP does not eliminate the population-bias of the SHSP.
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