Feds think regionally

Rethinking how best to finance the mobilization of homeland security-related resources, federal officials are exploring funding regions in addition to states and cities.

The regional concept isn't new, and some models already exist. For example, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and southern Maryland have partnered to establish an interoperable real-time wireless data communications system. States are also exploring forming intelligence-sharing centers as a faster way to view and analyze data.

"I think the concerns about terrorist activities heighten the need for cross-

collaboration, cross-jurisdiction," said Susan Benton, director of strategic initiatives at the Center for Digital Government. "It has just deepened the ability of the cities and counties and towns and regional areas to work with one another to come together on a more routine basis and begin to sort through what some of the regional efforts would need to be in case of an emergency."

This summer, governors received a questionnaire from the Homeland Security Department focusing on regional planning, said Christine LaPaille, communications director at the National Governors Association. Funding regions makes it easier to improve the capacity for certain capabilities, such as urban search and rescue or hazardous material cleanup, for a given region rather than for every city. In the long run, it's also a cheaper investment.

A new bill, H.R. 3266, proposed by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, aims to streamline the federal grants process for first responders and specifically encourages states and regions to apply for funding.

James Garner, mayor of Hempstead, N.Y., in testifying about the bill, questioned how a region should be defined and to what extent individual cities would have a say in the process. Mayors aren't clear what requirements DHS would operate under to approve regional applications, he said.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group