Kentucky Schools Get $9 Million in Homeland Security Grants

A group of Kentucky colleges and universities was awarded $9.2 million in federal homeland security money yesterday, an increase from $4 million last year.

The Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium conducts research and development work on products that might some day prove useful to the Department of Homeland Security.

Eight universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System make up the consortium, which has received $13.3 million for 23 projects.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, has been instrumental in bringing the funds to Kentucky. Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, was criticized last year for his role in what critics see as a diversion of homeland security money away from high-risk areas.

Rogers also oversaw the inception of the National Institute for Hometown Security last year, and yesterday, he announced $1.6 million in funding for the institute, based at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Rogers has said he hopes the combination of that center and the university consortium will mean that homeland security products developed through the consortium will be made in Kentucky.

"We have developed a virtual federal lab that brings together the expertise of our institutions of higher learning and works toward the common goal of improving the security of our hometown," Rogers said in a news release.