The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on Wednesday with DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman on the FY 2007 budget request for the Preparedness Directorate. This is the first budget cycle for the Preparedness Directorate, which was announced following the Second-Stage Review and formally stood up in the last 3-4 months. The official DHS and OMB budget documents released in early February provided scant detail on the directorate, so Foresman’s testimony at this hearing helps to fill in key gaps. For example, it provides additional detail on the National Preparedness Integration Program, a new $50m program announced in the FY 2007 budget request that looks like it will be a focal point of the directorate’s activities. From Foresman’s testimony:
Central to this effort is the creation of the National Preparedness Integration Program (NPIP). The FY07 request for this initiative is $50 million and would support the Directorate by providing a centralized mechanism for promoting integration and synchronization of preparedness across jurisdictions and all levels of government, and between the public and private sectors. By standardizing a common, consistent doctrine and approach to guide planning, training, exercise and program management, we will be able to link and integrate currently independent activities across federal, state, local, and private sector organizations. Standardization allows us to better measure performance so we can individually and collectively assess our progress. That is not the case today, and it keeps us from answering your most basic question: How much better prepared are we? This will allow us to evaluate preparedness from state to state and city to city â€“ as well as nationally.
Management matters. And NPIP is absolutely critical to the Departmentâ€™s ability to manage the individual as part of the collective, because as we all know, what one organization does often affects other areas â€“ especially in homeland security.
The NPIP seems like a sensible addition to DHS’s portfolio of activities. Hopefully DHS will provide additional details on their strategy for it and for the entire directorate in the coming months.