Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities [open pdf - 4MB]
"American cities have long been symbols of strength, freedom, progress and ingenuity, representing some of the best our nation has to offer. The threat of an urban terror attack, however, has made many feel less safe than they used to. While most of our cities have never been struck from the weapons of terrorists, we know the possibility is a real one. In 1995, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which killed 168 people and injured more than 800, showed our nation the horrors of a terror attack in a major city. In the years that followed, attempted terrorist attacks like at the Seattle millennial celebration in 1999 were thankfully disrupted by law enforcement authorities. Of course, everything changed when New York City and Washington, D.C. were attacked in 2001. Americans understood that an organized enemy was plotting and attempting spectacular terrorist attacks in American cities. For the past ten years, Americans have struggled to know just how to respond--including our leaders and elected officials. Sensing that many major cities were not fully prepared for another September 11th style attack, Congress gathered more than 20 agencies into a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS was tasked with managing several grant programs, including the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). UASI was one of several new federal programs aimed at ramping up preparedness and closing security gaps in major cities that were most at-risk. […] This report examines the UASI grant program, including a detailed review of 15 cities that have received funding through the program. It is intended to assess whether spending on DHS antiterrorism grants like UASI have made us safer, and whether the taxpayer dollars that have been spent on these programs have yielded an adequate return on investment in terms of improved security."
Senator To, Coburn: /coburn.senate.gov/public/