Back in early January, the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) at FEMA notified IAEM and NEMA that they were seriously considering some major adjustments to the risk methodology and other programmatic changes to the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). These changes would have had a significant impact to many EMA programs in the United States at a time when every EMA – state, local, tribal, and non-governmental sector – were already working at maximum effort.
On January 28, I spoke directly with Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton to urge FEMA to withdraw the proposed changes, arguing they were ill-timed and developed without prior input from state and local emergency managers.
Last week, FEMA notified IAEM of its decision. As we requested, there will be no substantive changes to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) guidance for FY2021, and FEMA committed to more proactive engagement with all interested stakeholders in preparation for the FY2022 NOFO.
This outcome reflects the hard work and thorough engagement of the IAEM-USA Government Affairs Committee leadership and members. I want to particularly thank our GAC Chair Brad Gilbert and GAC vice chairs, Travis Cryan and Nick Crossley for their efforts. This also reflects the importance of IAEM working with the ASMI Management Team.
This also demonstrates the power of your IAEM Membership. With our professionals working with each other and our partners, you are speaking directly to the FEMA leadership and Congress, and they are hearing our messages.
FEMA heard our concerns and listened to our reasons. This is why IAEM is here. We are not an academic exercise or a social club. We are not an organization with only a conference. IAEM is a multi-faceted organization that strives to provide value in multiple arenas for our members. We are here to change the course of national emergency management practice and policy and build true resilience for the people we serve. And, we were heard, and will be a stakeholder in the upcoming process to review homeland security grant programs.
Please feel free to send me comments or questions, or direct them to our technical expert, Government Affairs Director Thad Huguley.