The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it is allocating more than $1.8 billion in grants to state and local jurisdictions to protect against terrorism and other disasters, with at least $77 million going to protect specifically against domestic violent extremism.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the most significant terrorism threat now comes from "small groups of individuals who commit acts of violence motivated by domestic extremist ideological beliefs."
"While we continue to lawfully protect against threats posed by foreign terrorist organizations, we also must ensure adequate focus and funding is provided to combat domestic terrorism, some of which is motivated by false narratives and extremist rhetoric spread through social media and other online platforms," Mayorkas said in a statement.
Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman testified Thursday before Congress that members of militia groups who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 "want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible" when President Joe Biden addresses Congress.
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Pittman said the threats necessitated enhanced security at the Capitol. The Homeland Security grants, which have yet to be awarded, are focused on preventing as well as responding to threats. NBC News previously reported that DHS planned to expand its grants to prevent domestic terrorism during the Biden administration.
The "Preparedness Grants," as they are known, have allocated more than $54 billion to local jurisdictions since 2002, shortly after DHS was created to prevent another incident like the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
This year's grants will also be used to enhance cybersecurity. Mayorkas specified that the money cannot be spent on certain equipment, such as "grenade launchers, bayonets and weaponized aircraft." The use of such equipment by local law enforcement in the past has drawn criticism about the over-militarization of police.