Saturday, January 28, 2023

CRS Reports – Non-Profit Security Grant Program

This week the Congressional Research Service published a report on “Nonprofit Security Grant Program: Summary and Potential Issues for Congress”. The report looks FEMA’s Non-Profit Security Grant (NPSG) program authorized under 6 USC 609a. The grant program provides funds to nonprofit organizations for “target hardening and other security enhancements to protect against terrorist attacks” {§609a(a)}. Cybersecurity enhancements, specifically {§609a(c)(3)} including “cybersecurity resilience activities” are permitted uses for the funds in this program.

This report raises two important program transparency issues:

• DHS does not publicly announce specific NSGP awards due to the sensitivity and classification of that information, and

• Once the annual grant award cycle begins, Congress and other policy stakeholders are unable to determine which nonprofits are receiving NSGP funding.

Not mentioned in the report is a requirement in §609a(e) for FEMA to prepare an annual report to Congress (the Homeland Security Committees) “on the expenditure by each grant recipient of grant funds made under this section.”

With spending allocation a ‘major concern’ of Republicans in the House, this issue may be raised in the House Homeland Security Committee (and perhaps in legislation) during the session.

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