The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program was authorized by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and is managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program includes the 64 highest risk urban areas in the country, which are divided into two groups, Tier 1 and Tier 2.
The 10 highest risk areas, as determined by DHS risk methodology, are designated Tier 1. The 10 Tier 1 cities receive over 70% of the UASI appropriation. The remaining 54 eligible cities are Tier 2, the number of which are funded each year ebbs and flows with the financial and political winds in Washington.
DHS determines selected regions by examining the relative risk of the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Based upon the requirements of the Homeland Security Act, as amended, DHS/FEMA uses risk to determine final HSGP allocations. Risk is defined as: “potential for an unwanted outcome resulting from an incident, event, or occurrence, as determined by its likelihood and the associated consequences," and is focused on three elements:
- Threat –likelihood of an attack being attempted by an adversary;
- Vulnerability – likelihood that an attack is successful, given that it is attempted; and
- Consequence – effect of an event, incident or occurrence.
UASI funds are allocated based on three factors: minimum amounts as legislatively mandated, DHS/FEMA’s risk methodology, and anticipated effectiveness of proposed projects. Anticipated effectiveness is assessed based on the applicant’s description of how proposed projects, as outlined in the investment Justification’s (IJ’s), align with state Threat Hazard Incident Risk Assessment (THIRA) and State Preparedness Report (SPR) results.