April 1, 2001
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Taubman Center for State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Given budget constraints at the state and local levels, the need to allocate available resources to more mundane and immediate problems, the low probability of any single jurisdiction becoming a target of WMD terrorism, and the lack of requisite expertise to address this threat, state and local agencies rely on the federal government for funding, equipment, training, and planning assistance to enhance their preparedness for a WMD terrorist incident. The proliferation of new assistance programs, offices, and special response units at the federal level, driven in large part by bureaucratic politics and congressional earmarks, and the lack of a comprehensive national domestic preparedness strategy have caused considerable confusion at the state and local levels. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the current federal programs to enhance state and local preparedness for terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. The report describes the origin, purpose, and current status of the major federal domestic preparedness assistance programs.