Southern Nevada gets $1.1 million federal grant for terrorism preparedness


CARSON CITY – Southern Nevada’s primary terrorism preparedness program will see nearly $1.1 million in funding in the coming federal fiscal year under a grant allocation plan approved Thursday by the state Homeland Security Commission.

The region’s “fusion center” saw a boost in funding from about $750,000 this year after the federal Department of Homeland Security announced in March that Las Vegas would again receive special funding reserved for larger cities perceived to be at greater risk of a terrorist attack.

Las Vegas was ranked too low on a threat list to receive the Urban Area Security Initiative funds in the current budget, which generated a lot of criticism from Nevada officials from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on down.

In the coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, Las Vegas received $950,000 in the special funding, which is on top of statewide counter terrorism funding totaling $3.5 million for the coming year.

Nevada officials frequently reminded the federal agency that five of the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center stayed in Las Vegas between May and August before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The nearly $4.5 million in total statewide funding for the coming year was doled out to 20 mostly ongoing programs, including the Southern Nevada fusion center and $25,000 for a Southern Nevada all hazards incident management team.

One new program approved by the commission, which includes Gov. Brian Sandoval as chairman, was $558,000 for a cyber-threats project, the top priority for the commission.

The state Homeland Security Commission is creating a cyber-security committee to tackle the issue, which will include the creation of a statewide plan and improving resistance to such attacks.

Cyber threats are described as attacks via the Internet on broadband and wireless networks, power grids and utility plants.

The National Network of Fusion Centers is called the cornerstone of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s plan to protect the nation from a terrorist attack, and involves sharing and exchanging information to detect and deter potential threats.

Commission Grants Manager Rick Martin said that while even more money would be welcomed, he was comfortable with the level of funding for the coming year.

Even with the restoration of nearly $1 million in urban area funding to Las Vegas, it is far below what the city had received in past years. Las Vegas received $8 million in 2010 and $5.7 million in 2011.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.

 

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