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Highlights

The Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP)--originally established in 1998 within the Department of Justice to help state and local first responders acquire specialized training and equipment needed to respond to terrorist incidents--was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security upon its creation in March 2003. After September 11, 2001, the scope and size of ODP's grant programs expanded. For example, from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2003, ODP grants awarded to states and some urban areas grew from about $91 million to about $2.7 billion. This growth raised questions about the ability of ODP and states to ensure that the domestic preparedness grant programs--including statewide and urban area grants--are managed effectively and efficiently. GAO addressed (1) how statewide and urban area grants were administered in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 so that ODP could ensure that grant funds were spent in accordance with grant guidance and state preparedness planning and (2) what time frames Congress and ODP established for awarding and distributing grants, and how time frames affected the grant cycle.

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