Reflecting his belief that rural areas need homeland security protection, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has announced the creation of two anti-terrorism centers in his home state of Kentucky with $4 million for university research, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The National Institute for Hometown Security, based at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, will focus primarily on how best to protect small cities and rural areas against terrorist attacks and other emergency situations, The Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium will link the state’s colleges and universities for research and development projects.
Rogers, chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, said, “New York and Washington, D.C., think they’ve been inadequately funded, but so does Albany, Ky.” Joining Rogers at a “summit” on the issue was U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who said the projects were funded with the “unique notion that the homeland is not secure until the hometown is secure.” Ridge added that a “soft target or a target anywhere could be subject to an attack by a terrorist.” Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog organization in Washington, is skeptical. “It is ludicrous to make the assumption that small towns across the country are at risk like New York was,” Ashdown said. “We don’t need to make this into the latest money pit for special interests.”