Pinpointing risk for smarter spending

Perhaps the most fundamental problem in homeland security investment is knowing where to start.

To that end, a federal program has identified technology that may help municipalities prioritize their homeland security spending. The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice scouts promising technology and has matched Tampa, Fla., to a software tool for conducting risk and vulnerability assessments. Tampa officials are conducting a pilot program using Digital Sandbox Inc.'s Site Profiler.

Emergency services authorities in Tampa will use Site Profiler to develop response plans, said Richard Jacques, a senior program manager at the institute who is detailed to the Homeland Security Department's Office for Domestic Preparedness.

The assessment tool can help local jurisdictions take stock of their emergency response capabilities and determine what they need, Jacques said. And that should translate into smarter spending.

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