In New Jersey, How Homeland Security Dollars Are Doled out Starts to Change

Cut in regional security grant, divergent spending methods mark need for more oversight

The group also spent $3.2 million on two large foam delivery systems for Morris County and Elizabeth fire agencies and six smaller systems for other fire departments.

While state officials say they're working toward establishing communication between regional groups, the government is stepping in to give guidance on how to spend the $12 billion in federal homeland security grants that have flowed into state and county coffers since 2002, said spokesman Marc Short.

In April, the Department of Homeland Security issued its first "National Preparedness Goals" statement, which aims at giving states and municipalities guidelines for how to best spend their homeland security money.

The goals encourage states to expand regional collaboration and to strengthen communication between agencies. They also call on states to build up chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear and explosive weapons detection.

"The federal level will be providing more guidance, there's no doubt about that," Short said.