First Responder Initiative: Policy Issues and Options [Updated June 19, 2003]   [open pdf - 161KB]

From the Summary: "In its FY2004 request, the Bush Administration proposed a new block grant program called the 'First Responder Initiative' to help state and local first responders prepare for possible terrorist attacks. Under the proposal, the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), within the Department of Homeland Security, would administer the $3.5 billion program. The program's primary purpose would be to improve the ability of first responders (police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel) to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. The program would fund a range of activities in the areas of planning, training, exercises, and equipment. While the need for federal assistance for first responders seems to be widely acknowledged, the proposals raise a number of issues, including the following: How will the implementation of the Department of Homeland Security affect the proposal? Would a new program replace existing assistance programs? Should funds be distributed to states or localities? Should the use of funds be limited to standardized activities and equipment? Should infrastructure security and overtime costs be eligible activities? How will the funds be accounted for? This report will be updated as the 108th Congress takes action on proposals to create or modify terrorism preparedness grant programs."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31475
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