Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The San Diego region got all the Homeland Security money it asked for this year - a bigger increase in funding than any other region in the nation.
The Federal Department of Homeland Security will grant San Diego more than $16 million next year to invest in responding to “an act of terrorism or other catastrophic event.” In it’s application, San Diego had to show how its strategy would improve the region’s capabilities to support national priorities.
Another federal department, the Department of Defense, already spends more money in San Diego County than any other county. Mayor Jerry Sanders admits the expansion of the Navy in San Diego makes defending this area a national priority.
“We have certain vulnerabilities in the San Diego area,” he says. “When you have a build-up of the military in San Diego, it is a tremendous boost to our economy and to our pride, but it also brings other aspects to it. But I think what is the defining factor for us is how we’ve used that money.”
Mayor Sanders credits the region’s successful application to its focus on improving the communication system, rather than purchasing high tech toys.
Donna Faller of the city’s Department of Homeland Security says the emergency response communication system now includes the military. “In fact both our voice and data include the military," she says. "The military is getting our 3 Cs: command, communication and control system. We’re all connected so we can communicate during an emergency.”
The money is to help all 18 cities in San Diego County respond to terrorism or other catastrophic events.