Nivel de riesgo determinará presupuesto antiterrorista en regiones de EE.UU.

The Department of Homeland Security next year will double the amount of grants distributed according to the risk of a terror attack or other disaster, rather than on the basis of population.
Figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service show that in fiscal 2006, 84 percent of the money from the three largest grant programs run by the department will be allocated on the basis of risk, compared with 42 percent in fiscal 2005.
In the past, the biggest programs awarded a base amount to each state and territory, and distributed the rest of the funding according to population. This coming year, each state will receive a minimum amount, but the remaining funds will be distributed according to risk.
Nonetheless, questions remain about how officials will draw up a formula for converting judgments about risk into numbers of federal dollars. How, for instance, will the threat of terrorism be weighed against that of floods? Or the tiny risk of a catastrophic event such as an earthquake be compared with the relatively large possibility of a hurricane?
The former members of the now-disbanded National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reunited last week to give the nation a report card on the implementation of their recommendations.
«Congress has still not changed the underlying statutory authority for homeland security grants,» the commissioners wrote, awarding an «F» grade. «As a result, homeland security funds continue to be distributed without regard for risk, vulnerability, or the consequences of an attack, diluting the national security benefits of this important program.»
Former Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean and former Vice-Chairman Lee H. Hamilton called on legislators to pass a House-authored provision reforming funding distribution in the bill renewing the USA Patriot Act. But, despite the promise of being upped to an «A» grade on the issue if they passed it, lawmakers threw the provision out of the bill during the intense negotiations between the House and Senate.
But some in Congress say the commission ignored progress lawmakers made months ago – when appropriators wrote a major reform of the system into the homeland security spending bill, doubling the amount of responder funding distributed on the basis of risk, and giving Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff discretion over how to allocate it.
«We must prioritize our efforts based on risk, and we must invest wisely,» Mr. Chertoff wrote in the foreword to grant guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security last week. «In recognition of this reality,» he said, the department was adopting «a prioritized approach to funding allocations with an emphasis on risk and need.»
The guidelines also say the department will not award grants until applicants have defined their priorities and explained how they would spend the money.
December 12, 2005

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