Cyber commission recommends P3s to enhance security

The U.S. President’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released a final report that emphasized public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) as a way to improve cybersecurity. The commissioners assessed the state of our nation’s cybersecurity and developed recommendations for securing the digital economy. The recommendations are meant to enhance cybersecurity while at the same time protecting privacy, ensuring public safety and economic and national security and fostering the discovery and development of new technical solutions. Some recommended actions included building a roadmap to improve security of digital networks, creating exchange programs and developing an educated and experienced cyber workforce. Commissioners reported that the joint collaboration between the public and private sectors before, during and after a cyber event must be strengthened.


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Sanctuary cities in danger of losing federal funding

Since president-elect Donald Trump promised to end federal funding to sanctuary cities many city and county leaders around the country have been wondering what that might mean for them. The term sanctuary city doesn’t have a legal definition. Jurisdictions that consider themselves sanctuary cities generally have policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has identified 364 counties and 39 cities that have policies limiting cooperation with federal immigration officials. For many jurisdictions, this means declining to hold suspected undocumented immigrants past their scheduled release dates. Some jurisdictions have laws preventing police officers from asking the immigration status of residents. Often this policy is implemented to encourage immigrant communities to report crimes or cooperate with police.

The president-elect and many other proponents of tougher immigration enforcement have said sanctuary city policies allow criminals to go free. Undocumented immigrants could commit more crimes that would have been prevented if they had been deported.

The federal funding in danger of being pulled has not been specified. Federal law currently prohibits any agency from restraining the exchange of information among federal, state and local agencies regarding the immigration status of individuals. The code specifies jurisdictions in violation could be denied grants from the justice department. The federal funding in question could be limited to some justice department funds for police departments or a new federal policy could be created to include all federal funding going to jurisdictions designated as sanctuary cities.

San Francisco is a high-profile sanctuary city with $1 billion, or 10 percent of the city’s budget, coming directly from the federal government or from state programs using federal funds. The city has had laws in place to protect undocumented immigrants for 27 years. In 2005, in a case Trump has referred to multiple times as a reason for ending sanctuary cities, an undocumented immigrant allegedly killed a San Francisco woman after being released from sheriff’s custody.

“We have been and always will be a city of refuge, a city of sanctuary, a city of love,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at a recent unity rally.

The San Francisco Police Department receives around $52 million from the state and $2.8 million directly from the federal government. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department receives around $27.5 million from the state and $100,000 from the federal government.

Federal funding accounts for 25 percent of the budget for the District of Columbia, which makes it the sanctuary city with the largest percent of its budget in danger. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser reaffirmed the District’s designation as a sanctuary city in November. The city has a policy not to ask residents about their immigration status.

Denver received $175 million of its city budget from federal funding. Of that $5.4 million has come from justice department funds. The police department released a recent statement that read “Immigration enforcement is handled at the federal level — not by local law enforcement. The Denver Police Department has not participated in those enforcement efforts in the past and will not be involved in the future.”

Critics of sanctuary cities were quick to respond to statements issued by many jurisdictions indicating no change in policies that could be considered providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke recently wrote an opinion column, published in The Hill, in which he took on the leaders of sanctuary cities. Suggesting leaders of sanctuary cities could be prosecuted for their policies.

“It’s time for stand up for the existing federal rule of law. We must have zero-tolerance for people coming into the United States illegally and setting up residence. The first prosecution and conviction of one of these governors, mayors or university presidents vowing to be a sanctuary for illegal aliens will cause all but those wanting to be sacrificial lambs for the cause to cease this dangerous and willful disregard for our nation’s sovereignty.”


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National resiliency initiatives announced

The White House has announced new resiliency initiatives based on the findings of the 2016 National Preparedness Report, released in March by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The report identified vulnerabilities and areas for improvement in the country’s ability to respond to and recover from natural disasters, technological hazards, acts of terrorism and other threats.

Federal agencies are declaring new actions to help build the capacity of state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector and nonprofit agencies to recover from future disasters.

September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month

The Economic Recovery Training For Emergency Management and Economic Development Practitioners program will provide $1,506,000 for state, local, tribal and territorial emergency managers and economic development professionals to identify and undertake economic recovery and resiliency initiatives. The program is Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The Leaders in Business Community Resilience initiative, administered by FEMA, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide guidance for state-level engagement with the private sector. The initiative creates a platform for businesses to be recognized for building community resilience. FEMA, SBA and Commerce will convene events across the country over the next year to support local efforts to create preparedness partnerships between the private and public sectors.

The Built Environment Resilience Gateway has been added to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit by the National Institute of Standards and Technology-sponsored Community Resilience Standards Panel, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. The gateway is dedicated to community resilience measures for urban communities and infrastructure. Areas of focus include buildings and structures, disaster planning, energy, water and wastewater, social equity, planning and land use, transportation, communications and related topics.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s initiative to Enhance Situational Awareness of Energy System Status enhances the real-time monitoring and predictive capabilities of the Environment for Analysis of Geo-Located Energy Information (EAGLE-I) system.  EAGLE-I will become the authoritative source supporting state and local agencies to track the status of energy systems nationwide. The system will help target and mobilize public and private sector resources during post-incident recovery.

DHS will establish a National Network of Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Resources. The network will consist of trained  infrastructure recovery and resilience experts who can provide assistance to communities in disaster-impacted areas. The network will assist with rebuilding following the August flooding in Louisiana and with future events upon request. Contact IDR@hq.dhs.gov for more information.

FEMA has launched the Community Recovery Resource Portal. The portal will help community leaders access post-disaster recovery resources.

The Support Homeless Persons in Pre-Disaster Planning, Response and Recovery program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, offers a toolkit focused on the needs of homeless populations before, during and after disasters.

New training to help cultural institutions in disaster preparedness is also available from the Heritage Emergency National Task Force and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A webinar series will provide training and guidance to emergency managers and cultural stewards on how to strengthen disaster preparedness in the cultural community.


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TIGER grants provide $500 million for transportation

Transportation projects across the country were funded last week with nearly $500 million in federal grants. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the winners of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program at the White House.

TIGER grants are highly competitive and support projects that are typically more difficult to fund through traditional federal programs, such as multi-modal or multi-jurisdictional projects. This year’s grants focused on projects that generate economic development as well as improve safety.

“For the eighth year running, TIGER will inject critical infrastructure dollars into communities across the country,” said Secretary Foxx. “This unique program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to difficult and sometimes dangerous transportation problems. A great TIGER program doesn’t just improve transportation; it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community.”

Among the awarded projects, the I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project in Pennsylvania received $19 million in TIGER funds to help construct a $32 million cap connector structure over crosstown highway in downtown Pittsburgh. The project is meant to promote pedestrian safety in a high crash rate area and will include a new bus stop, bike sharing station, pedestrian signals, improved crosswalks and sidewalks.
The city of Natchez, Miss. was another TIGER grant recipient for its bridge rehabilitation project. A grant of $10 million was awarded to upgrade five structurally deficient railroad truss bridges. The total cost of the project is more than $14 million and it will include replacing a failing culvert and installing safety improvements at about 20 public crossings. The current rail line doesn’t support rail cars loaded at the industry standard weight and restricts speed to 10 miles per hour on the bridges and culvert.

New passenger rail service was funded in San Bernardino, Calif., with a TIGER grant of more than $8 million. The Redlands Passenger Rail Project will utilize a total of more than $262 million to build passenger rail connecting cities in San Bernardino County to the San Bernardino Transit Center. In addition to passenger service, the rail corridor enhancements will allow for significantly increased speeds for freight trains using the line.

See the full list of 2016 TIGER awards below or visit www.transportation.gov/tiger-2016-project-fact-sheets for more information.

  • City of Mobile, Ala., $14,465,044
  • Little Rock Port Authority $6,185,400
  • City of Live Oak, Calif., $10,000,000
  • County of San Bernardino, Calif., DBA San Bernardino Associated Government $8,678,312
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority $15,000,000
  • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District $6,321,688
  • Colorado Department of Transportation $15,000,000
  • City of New Haven, Conn., $20,000,000
  • Delaware Transit Corporation $10,000,000
  • Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization $11,443,371
  • City of Atlanta $10,000,000
  • Port Authority of Guam $10,000,000
  • City of Des Moines $8,000,000
  • Chicago Transit Authority $25,000,000
  • City of Springfield, Ill., $14,000,000
  • Madison County, Ind., $13,500,000
  • Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government $14,095,887
  • Maryland Department of Transportation $10,000,000
  • Montgomery County, Md., $10,000,000
  • Maine Department of Transportation $10,525,000
  • City of Flint, Mich., $20,000,000
  • Scott County, Minn., $17,700,000
  • City of Natchez, Miss., $10,000,000
  • City of Goldsboro, N.C., $5,000,000
  • City of Camden, N.J., $16,200,000
  • Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada $13,324,000
  • Albany Port District Commission $17,629,800
  • City of Akron, Ohio, $5,000,000
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Park District $7,950,000
  • Port of Portland, Ore., $7,329,000
  • Borough of Carlisle, Pa., $5,000,000
  • Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County $19,000,000
  • Rhode Island Department of Transportation $13,100,000
  • Horry County Government, S.C., $9,765,620
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota $14,620,000
  • Tennessee Department of Transportation $10,000,000
  • City of Brownsville, Texas, $10,000,000
  • Utah Transit Authority $20,000,000
  • Virgin Islands Port Authority $10,666,878
  • Port of Everett, Wash., $10,000,000