Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Capstone Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Mark W. Davis, Ph.D., MPA

Committee Member

Kristen B. Crossney, Ph.D.


Research in the area of terrorism and how it effects public policy, especially within the arena of security, emergency management and response, has been gaining ground in the scholarly world. This research assesses if terrorist attacks are an exogenous punctuation of change in policymaking according to the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (PET), with budgetary changes in federal grants to local fire departments. The primary research question is: Is there a relationship between the amount of federal government funding to fire departments and the amount of terrorist attacks and/or major terrorist attacks?

Two databases were used in this research: the FEMA database of assistance to firefighter grants (AFG) and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The data supports a relationship between terrorist attacks and federal funding through AFG’s. The analyses support that terrorist attacks are punctuations in the policymaking decisions of the funding of these grants. The S-Shape curve of trend line support funding of leptokurtic intervals, which is a defining feature in PET,. The effect of major terrorist attacks on federal funding through the AFG system, was statistically significant (p = .005). Changes in the number of terrorist attacks accounts for just over 53% of variation (R²=.536, p