The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has added Chicago to its urban area nuclear security program and provided the city with $3.5 million to begin planning and analysis.

All told, Chicago will receive up to $30 million over five years under the Security the Cities program, which was originally launched in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan region as a pilot program in 2006 and now includes the Los Angeles/Long Beach region, the greater Washington, D.C. area, and Houston.

DHS says it continues to plan to expand the Securing the Cities Program to additional major metropolitan areas in the coming years. At full implementation the program will safeguard nearly 100 people in the country from nuclear and radiological threats. Excluding Chicago, the program currently covers nearly 52 million people, according to department budget documents.

Under the Securing the Cities program, the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) works with state and local stakeholders to build regional capabilities to detect, analyze, and report nuclear and other radioactive materials to reduce the risk of terrorists introducing a radiological or nuclear weapons into major metropolitan areas of the country.

Work in Chicago will begin before the end of this summer, DHS says. Future funding for the city will allow DNDO to work with stakeholders to build a regional nuclear detection capability for law enforcement and personnel.

Funding provided to the city will also help with the procurement of technology to detect and identify nuclear and radiological materials. It will also be used to help with training and exercises to further nuclear detection capabilities and to coordinate with federal partners.

DHS says that once it has completed its funding awards to Chicago for Securing the Cities, DNDO will continue to provide subject matter expertise for training, exercises, and technical support to ensure the region maintains detection capability.

In Phase I of the program for Chicago and other cities, Securing the Cities allows cities to develop an initial operating capability to detect and report on the presence of nuclear and other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control. This phase takes between two and three years to complete and includes deployment of equipment and training.

In the second phase of Securing the Cities deployments, more resources are provided to allow “development of enhanced detection, analysis, communication, and coordination functionality,” DNDO budget documents say. This phase, which takes about two years to complete, “concludes when a region successfully demonstrates its ability to integrate into a national nuclear detection framework in support of the GNDA (Global Nuclear Detection Architecture,” the FY ’17 documents say.

Phase III of the program is sustainment and includes indirect, non-financial support. The program “maintains connectivity with the established local architecture through alarm adjudication and subject matter expertise to provide advice on training, exercises, and other program support,” the documents say.

The Obama administration is requesting nearly $22 million for Securing the Cities in FY ’17. Senate appropriators are recommending $22 million for the program, $289,000 more than requested, and House appropriators have proposed $21.1 million.

In FY ’17, the Los Angeles/Long Beach areas will enter the sustainment phase, the Washington, D.C. area is supposed to receive $5 million and enter Phase II, Houston will be in the third year of Phase I and receive up to $9 million and Chicago will be in its second year of Phase I and receive up to $8 million.