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Purdue University Launches Homeland Security Training Facility

Purdue University is leading a $1.65 million effort to begin research and development at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana as part of a homeland security training initiative. The Purdue Homeland Security Institute is working with the state of Indiana in developing the training program that will include integrating real world training simulations and serve as a testing ground for new technologies. It will also act as an advanced learning facility for homeland security degree students studying various disciplines in Computational Homeland Security; Sensing Science and Technology; Security of Large Scale Systems; and Law Enforcement Technology, Tactics and Training.

"This program, through initial funding by the U.S. Army, will focus on preparing our nation to better respond to a major natural disaster or the threats posed in an urban warfare environment," Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said. Under terms of the U.S. Army contract, Purdue will develop a program for military and first responders, providing the nexus for decision making, the use of computational models, advanced technology, risk communications, situational awareness and command.

Alok Chaturvedi, director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute, said the Muscatatuck site permits trainers to replicate a small town, complete with 70 furnished buildings comprising five square city blocks. Among the buildings are a hospital, apartments, housing, a school, administration buildings, a power plant and a water treatment facility.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act in June 2005 that included $2.5 million for the center at Muscatatuck. That measure was led by former U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., who said this center is a significant first step in what will be a prolonged effort to build a permanent military institution at this Indiana site.

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Homeland Security is Top Priority on The Hill

The new-year is upon us and Homeland Security is a top priority for the U.S. Government. The Department of Homeland Security released the fiscal year 2007 grant guidance and application kits for five grant programs that will total roughly $1.7 billion in funding for state and local counterterrorism efforts. With the fiscal year 2007 funding, the department will have invested nearly $20 billion in local planning, organization, education, equipment, training, and exercises. In addition, the new Democratic-led U.S. Congress recently began work on homeland security legislation, a top priority for lawmakers. About half of the recommendations made by the bipartisan 9/11 commission to improve homeland security in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have been signed into law.

With the ever-increasing threat of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, congress is allocating big dollars and taking preventative measures to decrease these ongoing threats. The five programs that comprise the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) encourage a regional approach to strengthening homeland security. They emphasize interoperable communications, information sharing and citizen preparedness. HSGP fiscal year 2007 funding totals are:

* State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)- $509.3 million
* Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)- $363.8 million
* Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)- $746.9 million
* Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)- $32.0 million
* Citizen Corps Program (CCP)- $14.6 million

More than 100 law enforcement, emergency management and homeland security experts from federal, state and urban areas will form peer review panels to assess this year's grant applications. Upon completion of the review process, DHS expects to announce grant allocations by summer 2007.

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