The commander of the Iowa National Guard warns that the state may be a loser when it comes to claiming federal funds for Homeland Security next year. Adjutant General Ron Dardis says the state will probably get 8-million dollars in Homeland Security funding next year. He told lawmakers on Thursday that’s less than a third the amount Iowa got in 2004.
Dardis says since 2004 funding for Iowa’s decreased from a high of 30-Million dollars to an expected eight-Million. He says the state’s created many programs he thinks are good ones and the challenge will be how to sustain them with fewer federal dollars. Dardis says the way homeland-security funding is doled out, it’s likely to go to more heavily-populated states. He says rural states like Iowa get left out under a system he calls a “multi-hazard approach.” He thinks the possibility of agro-terrorism in states like Iowa should be weighted more heavily.
David Miller, Iowa’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Administrator, says the reduction in funding could mean putting on “hold” some projects like creating teams for search-and-rescue and weapons disposal missions, or expanding the state’s telecommunication system. Miller says there’s a difference between what we want to do and where they think we ought to go, and those things we must do by a specific time.
A project high on Iowa’s priority list that isn’t on the list required by federal administrators might have to be set aside even if it’s “well down the road,” and that causes him great concern. Miller says he understands there’s tough competition for federal dollars, but even less-populated states like Iowa and Wyoming must have a response system in place for emergency situations.