New York, NY – In Times Square, the site of an attempted terror attack earlier this year, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Daddario today announced an $18.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) for the Securing the Cities initiative, which combines federal, state and local resources to protect the New York metropolitan area against the threat of a radiological or nuclear attack. The funding comes at the urging of Senator Gillibrand, who authored bipartisan legislation with Congressman Peter King (R-Long Island) to permanently authorize the Securing the Cities program and enable its expansion to other targeted areas.
“As we’ve repeatedly seen, New York City is the number one target for terrorists around the world who want to harm Americans,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The threat of a dirty bomb is one of the most serious dangers that our law enforcement and security operations face, and this funding will provide critical resources we need to guard against the possibility of an attack. I commend the department for working with New York on this critical issue. We must remain vigilant in guarding against all terrorist attacks and always make sure law enforcement at every level is armed with the resources they need to protect our city and keep us safe.”
Securing the Cities is the nation’s only program designed to address the threat of a dirty bomb attack – which combines radioactive materials with conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material over a large area – an act of terrorism considered among the most extreme threats to global security. Additionally, it is a successful example of collaboration between State, Federal and local governments, and provides a clear template for homeland security efforts in other US cities. Federal officials at DNDO have worked closely the New York Police Department and other regional law enforcement to ensure the program’s effectiveness and success.
The legislation that Senator Gillibrand introduced in May would provide $20 million for the Securing the Cities program for FY2011 and provide a minimum of $10 million in each subsequent fiscal year. It would also authorize additional funds for other targeted metropolitan areas in the Urban Area Security Initiative, which provides funding based on risk for major urban centers. Congress appropriated a total of $20 million for FY2010. By providing a long-term authorization for the Securing the Cities program, this legislation would help prevent future cuts and ensure these critical protections remain in place.
Since its inception, Securing the Cities has accomplished the following to protect New York City:
- Conducted three full-scale exercises intercepting radioactive materials;
- Developed thorough response plans to interdict nuclear materials;
- Initiated training for personnel in the proper use of more than 4,500 units of radiation detection equipment; and
- Initiated development of radiation detection systems at the entry points of bridges and tunnels into New York City – capable of detecting and identifying the entrance of radiological materials.
Last year, Senator Gillibrand secured $20 million to preserve funding for the Securing Cities Program in the FY2010 Homeland Security appropriations bill, from which New York City is receiving the allocation announced today. Additionally, the FY2011 Homeland Security Appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations committee currently provides another $20 million for the program for the upcoming fiscal year.