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The challenges posed in strengthening homeland security exceed the capacity and authority of any one level of government. Protecting the nation calls for a truly integrated approach bringing together the resources of all levels of government. The Council on Foreign Relations study--Emergency Responders: Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared--states that in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States must prepare based on the assumption that terrorists will strike again. Although it acknowledges the nation's preparedness has improved, the Council's report highlights gaps in preparedness including shortfalls in personnel, equipment, communications, and other critical capabilities. Given the many needs and high stakes, it is critical that the design of federal grants be geared to fund the highest priority projects with the greatest potential impact for improving homeland security. This testimony discusses possible ways in which the grant system for first responders might be reformed.

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