From fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allocated about $5 billion for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant program to enhance regional preparedness capabilities in the nation's highest risk urban areas (UASI regions). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers this program. The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act) required FEMA to change the size of the geographical areas used to assess UASI regions' risk. The conference report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2008 directed GAO to assess FEMA's efforts to build regional preparedness through the UASI program, and determine how the 9/11 Act change affected UASI regions. This report addresses (1) the extent to which FEMA assesses how UASI regions' collaborative efforts build preparedness capabilities, and (2) how UASI officials described their collaboration efforts and changes resulting from the 9/11 Act. GAO surveyed all 49 UASI regions that received funding prior to the 9/11 Act change, and visited 6 regions selected based on factors such as length of participation. GAO also reviewed FEMA's grant guidance and monitoring systems.
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