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Ann Davison, CAE
Strategic Information Manager

President Obama Releases FY 2013 Budget Request

February 13, 2012

Today, President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget request. The $3.8 trillion budget proposal includes a number of changes to programs that affect the fire service. 

Among the highlights:

  • $335 million for FIRE. This is a $2.5 million reduction from FY 2012.
  • $335 million for SAFER, including the extension of the SAFER waivers through FY 2013. In addition, the Administration proposes giving a priority to FY 2013 applications from fire departments with a verified program or departmental policy that focuses efforts on recruiting post-9/11 military veterans.
  • $1 billion for a First Responder Stabilization Fund to provide “immediate assistance” for the retention, rehiring, and hiring of firefighters. This program is expected to use a process similar to the one used by the SAFER grant program. The President’s proposal highlights that fire departments will gain a preference for implementing programs and policies that focus on the recruitment of post-9/11 veterans for firefighter positions.
  • $42.52 million for the U.S. Fire Administration; a $1.518 million reduction from FY 2012.
  • $1.541 billion for the National Preparedness Grant program. This is an increase of $191 million from FY 2012. This program consolidates 16 homeland security grant programs (including UASI, MMRS, State Homeland Security Grants, etc.) into a single program.
    • The grants, which will be awarded to the states, will have a baseline funding level of allocation for each state and also a competitive funding pool to build new assets and capabilities for gaps identified by the states’ Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments. DHS is placing particular emphasis on building and sustaining core capabilities that are identified in Presidential Preparedness Directive-8 and that can be utilized regionally and nationally.
    • The DHS also is announcing a new initiative to encourage the drawdown of obligated, but unspent, homeland security grants from FY 2007 and later. 
    • DHS has posted a vision document about the new grant program, which can be found online.
  • $27.513 million for the Urban Search and Rescue Response System; a $13.737 million reduction.
  • The construction of a nationwide, wireless, public safety broadband network, including the allocation of the D Block to public safety, and $6.5 billion for the construction, operation and maintenance of the network.
  • $1.97 billion for Wildland Fire Management under the Department of Agriculture (a $233 million increase from FY 2012) and $726.5 million for Wildland Fire Management under the Department of Interior (a $160 million increase from FY 2012).
  • Fully funds the 10-year average cost of wildland fire suppression operations, and proposes $315 million for the FLAME fund under the Department of Agriculture and $92 million for FLAME fund under the Department of Interior.
  • Targets hazardous fuels reduction funding to activities in the wildland-urban interface with priority for projects in communities that have met “Firewise standards or the equivalent.”
  • Maintains level funding for the State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs--$55.5 million and $6.366 million, respectively--and continues Rural Fire Assistance as an eligible expense under Wildland Fire Management.

“The IAFC is working with Congress to protect funding for programs that support the fire service in this tight budget environment,” said Chief Al Gillespie, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board. “It is important that the federal government continues to focus funding on programs that will help the local fire department protect its citizens.”

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.