American Battlefield Protection Program

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Updated April 2, 2020
American Battlefield Protection Program
The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP)
Historical Tables, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/historical-
promotes the preservation of significant sites where historic
tables/.
battles were fought on American soil. Initiated by the
Secretary of the Interior in 1991, the program was officially
Authorization and Funding History
authorized by Congress in 1996 in the American Battlefield
NPS first awarded Battlefield Planning grants for
Protection Act (P.L. 104-333; 54 U.S.C. §§308101-308103)
preservation projects at historic battlefields in 1992 under
and is currently administered by the National Park Service
the direction of the Secretary of the Interior. In 1996,
(NPS). For most of its existence, the ABPP comprised two
Congress authorized the program under the American
distinct competitive grant programs: the Battlefield
Battlefield Protection Act. At that time, Congress
Planning Grant Program and the Battlefield Land
authorized to be appropriated $3 million annually for a
Acquisition Grant Program. The 116th Congress authorized
duration of 10 years. Congress permanently authorized
two new grant programs in 2019, bringing the total number
discretionary appropriations at $3 million annually for the
of ABPP grant programs to four (see “New ABPP Grant
program in 2009 (P.L. 111-11).
Programs”).
Battlefield Planning grants are funded as part of NPS
ABPP Planning Grant Program
appropriations within the agency’s National Recreation and
Under the Battlefield Planning Grant Program, NPS awards
Preservation (NR&P) account. Appropriations for the
grants to groups, institutions, organizations, governments
program are split between two subaccounts within the
(local, state, and tribal), and federal entities sponsoring
NR&P account: direct grant-making funds are provided
preservation projects at historic battlefields. The program
under the “Cultural Programs” activity, and grant
supports projects that include site identification and
administration funding is provided under a separate “Grants
documentation, planning and consensus building, and
Administration” activity. Typically, Congress has not
educational programs, among others. Any battlefield or
funded the program at the full authorized level. Actual
associated site on American soil is eligible for funding
appropriations for the program have remained unchanged at
under this grant program. Planning grants are not awarded
under $1.2 million annually since FY2015 (Figure 1).
for land acquisition or capital improvements. Applicants are
encouraged but not required to provide matching funds or
Recent Grant-Making Trends
in-kind services for these projects.
According to NPS, the program has helped to protect and
enhance battlefields through 620 projects in 42 states and
Figure 1. Appropriations for ABPP Planning Grant
territories. Individual project funding historically has
Program: FY2011-FY2020
ranged from $5,000 to more than $100,000. From FY2015
($ in thousands)
to FY2019, total annual grant funding averaged roughly
$1.16 million. New York received the largest amount of
program funding during this period, at just over $800,000
for 15 projects, followed by South Carolina and Virginia.
See Figure 2 for an overview of the 10 states that received
the largest amount of funding from FY2015 to FY2019.

Sources: CRS, with data from annual NPS Budget Justifications for
FY2013-FY2021. Figures were taken from the volume published two
years following the fiscal year in question (e.g., for FY2015, figures are
from the FY2017 document). FY2020 figures reflect enacted totals.
Notes: Totals do not reflect appropriations for grant administration.
Reported totals differ from the appropriated totals, as obligations
may carry over from year to year. Current dollars have been
converted to real 2020 dollars using the GDP (Chained) Price Index
column in Table 10.1 from the Office of Management and Budget,
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American Battlefield Protection Program
Figure 2. FY2015-FY2019 Planning Grants: 10 Most-
Notes: Reported totals differ from the appropriated totals, as
Awarded States
obligations may carry over from year to year. Current dollars have
(current $ in thousands)
been converted to real 2020 dollars (see note in Figure 1).
Authorization and Funding History
Funding for the Land Acquisition Grant Program comes
from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 54
U.S.C. §§200301 et seq.). Appropriations from the fund are
provided to NPS in its Land Acquisition and State
Assistance account, under the “Federal Land Acquisition”
activity (although the grants are not for federal acquisition
but for state and local acquisition). Congress first
appropriated funding for this program in 1998 as part of the
Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 1999 (P.L. 105-277, §131). In 2002,
Congress authorized appropriations for the program (P.L.
107-359), providing up to $10 million for each of FY2004
Source: National Park Service (NPS), “Battlefield Planning Grants,”
through FY2008. Appropriations were reauthorized at that
at http://www.nps.gov/subjects/battlefields/battlefield-planning-
level multiple times, most recently in 2014 (P.L. 113-235
grants.htm.
and P.L. 113-291). Congress provided funding at the full
Notes: Multi = Grants awarded for projects that cross multiple
authorized level from FY2016 to FY2019 (Figure 3) and at
states. This includes $340,840 in grants awarded to Maryland-based
less than that amount between FY2010 and FY2015. In
organizations the American Battlefield Trust and the Civil War Trust,
2019, Congress reauthorized the program through FY2028,
and a $150,659 grant awarded to Temple University in Pennsylvania.
increasing authorized appropriations to $18 million per year
(P.L. 116-94). For FY2020, Congress appropriated $13
ABPP Land Acquisition Grant Program
million for the program.
Under the ABPP Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant
Program, grants are awarded to state and local governments
Recent Grant-Making Trends
seeking fee simple acquisition of eligible battlefield land or
Since FY2015, ABPP has awarded competitive grants to 15
the acquisition of permanent, protective interests
different states (Figure 4). The state that received the most
(easements) in battlefield land. Eligible sites for Battlefield
grant funding between FY2015 and FY2019 was Virginia,
Acquisition grants are limited to Revolutionary War, War
which has received over $18 million in grant funding since
of 1812, or Civil War battlefield lands. Previously, eligible
FY2015. This is nearly four times the total funding awarded
battlefields were limited to Civil War battlefields listed in
to the second-most-awarded state, Pennsylvania, which has
the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s (CWSAC)
received just under $5 million in ABPP Land Acquisition
1993 Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields. In
funding during this time period.
2014, P.L. 113-291 amended the statute to include
Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields
Figure 4. 10 Most-Awarded States: FY2015-FY2019
(specifically, those listed in the 2007 The Revolutionary
(current $ in thousands)
War and War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study). Grants
awarded through this program require at least a 50%
nonfederal cost share (54 U.S.C. §308103(d)).
Figure 3. Appropriations for ABPP Land Acquisition
Grant Program: FY2011-FY2020 ($ in thousands)


Sources: FY2015-FY2017 totals are from NPS, “Battlefield Land
Acquisition Grants,” at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/battlefields/
battlefield-land-acquisition-grant-program.htm, accessed on
September 16, 2019. FY2018 and FY2019 totals were provided to
CRS by NPS.
Sources: CRS, with data from annual NPS Budget Justifications for
FY2013-FY2021. Figures were taken from the volume published two
New ABPP Grant Programs
years following the fiscal year in question (e.g., for FY2015, figures are
In 2019, Congress authorized two new ABPP grant
from FY2017 document). FY2020 figures reflect enacted totals.
programs as part of the Further Consolidated
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American Battlefield Protection Program
Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94): the Battlefield
Both programs require a minimum 1:1 federal to nonfederal
Interpretation Modernization Grant Program (54 U.S.C.
match for project proposals. Congress authorized up to $1
§308104) and the Battlefield Restoration Grant Program
million in appropriations for each program for each of
(54 U.S.C. §308105). The Battlefield Interpretation
FY2020 through FY2028. As of March 2020, NPS has not
Modernization Grant Program funds projects and programs
yet published guidelines or notices regarding funding cycles
that deploy technology to modernize battlefield
for either program.
interpretation and education. Eligible sites are limited to
Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or Civil War battlefield
Mark K. DeSantis, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
lands. The Battlefield Restoration Grant Program provides
funding for projects that restore day-of-battle conditions on
IF11329
land preserved under the ABPP Land Acquisition Program.


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