U.S. Department of Homeland Security Announces $91.3 Million in Buffer Zone Protection Program Grants

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced $91.3 million in grant funding to protect and secure areas surrounding critical infrastructure and key resource sites such as chemical facilities, dams, and nuclear plants across the country. The Buffer Zone Protection Program (BZPP) provides targeted funding through states to local jurisdictions to purchase equipment that will extend the zone of protection beyond the gates of these critical facilities.

“This grant program reflects our commitment to continue to protect and defend the security of the United States against the threat posed by terrorism,” said Matt A. Mayer, Acting Executive Director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness, the office responsible for the Office for Domestic Preparedness. “Through this program, we will continue to work with the nation’s prevention, preparedness, and response community and the private sector in our national effort to combat terrorism and secure our homeland.”

Under the new grant program, states will be expected to submit Buffer Zone Plans (BZPs) and equipment purchasing plans to the Department by the end of April 2005, allowing the Department’s Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) to perform a financial and programmatic review while the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) directorate performs a technical review and final approval of the plan. Following approval of the plans, local jurisdictions may use their approved funding to purchase any equipment found on ODP’s Approved Equipment List and identified in their purchasing plan.

“The Department uses an integrated approach that provides federal, state and local officials and first responders with the necessary tools and resources to protect their community assets,” said Gen. Patrick Hughes, Acting Under Secretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. “IAIP provides expert advice and guidance to their state and local partners as they prioritize specific vulnerability reduction efforts.”

The Buffer Zone Protection Program provides both funding and coordination in bringing federal, state and local levels of government, law enforcement and the private sector together to create Buffer Zone Plans to reduce vulnerabilities in areas surrounding critical infrastructure and key resources.