DHS Sends Money to Remote, Frozen Island to Fend Off Terrorists

By David North on July 29, 2014

You may have been worried that last year's DHS anti-terrorism grant to St Paul's island in Alaska, which is about 280 miles from that state's mainland and 500 miles from Russia, was inadequate for the defense of that God-forsaken place (population 491).

I suspect your average, run-of-the-mill terrorist would have trouble finding it on a map, but that's beside the point.

Fear not, the terrorism-fighting grant to St. Paul's has just been increased by the Department of Homeland Security from the apparently inadequate $305,747 in 2013 to $389,102 this year. That's an increase of 27.3 percent, considerably more than the inflation rate.

You never know, some crazed pro-Russian faction may want to follow the example of Crimea and seek to rejoin St. Paul's to the Motherland from which it was severed in 1867. St. Paul's does have a handsome Russian Orthodox Church on it.

The recently announced grant to the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island leads the list of 29 grants to various tribes totaling $10 million.

The biggest single one, for $1,069,200, went to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Wash, (which Wikipedia describes as a ghost town, adding "by 1918, the town had virtually vanished, only being listed as a 'Discontinued Post Office.'")

Not only am I not making this up, I lack the unbounded creativity it would take to do so.

The grants in the FY 2014 Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP to its friends) are designed to "Provide funding to eligible tribes to strengthen their capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from potential terrorist attacks and other hazards", to quote from this month's press release.

I calculated in last year's posting on the 2013 version of this program that Arizona, with about 6 percent of the nation's Native American population, got 46 percent of the tribal funds. That ratio was perhaps related to Arizona being the home of the then-Secretary, Janet Napolitano. Secretary Napolitano has since departed, and this year, perhaps coincidentally, the Arizona portion comes to just 14 percent of the pie.

The tribal $10 million is a small part of a broader grant program that will distribute $1.6 billion in preparedness grants to thousands of local governments throughout the country. The money is not concentrated in obviously vulnerable places like New York, Boston, Washington, and Arlington, Va., the town I share with the Pentagon. Instead, the money is spread widely through the states and territories.

The tribal part of the program, however, might be viewed as a total success.

After all, none of the tribal entities funded in 2013, including St. Paul's, has been successfully attacked by al Qaeda (or by those Ukrainian separatists).