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

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

  • FCW magazine

    What to make of the Alliant 2 protest rulings

    With the pre-award protests all resolved in GSA's favor, is the $50 billion IT services contract now bulletproof?

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