Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 22, 2006

New CRS report on state homeland security planning

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on March 22, 2006

The Federation of American Scientists website has posted a new homeland security-related report from the Congressional Research Service within the last couple of days:

State and Urban Area Homeland Security Plans and Exercises: Issues for the 109th Congress

The report provides the context for three issues that Congress could decide to take up:

  • Should DHS certify state and urban area emergency operations and homeland security plans as a condition of assistance?
  • Should DHS require specific activities to be part of state and urban area homeland security plans?
  • Should DHS require and administer state and urban area homeland security exercises?

My initial reaction to these policy questions is that Congress should be careful about establishing strict mandates, since states face varying degrees of terror threats and heterogenous natural disaster risks. If Congress mandates too many activities, that could leave states with insufficient discretionary funds to be able to carry out other activities that are relevant to their distinct needs.

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1 Comment »


Comment by William R. Cumming

March 23, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

Mandatory inspection of plan language goes back to the inception of the civil defense program under Public Law 81-920. During the Regan administration it became a paper audit system only. The issue is the need to verify capability on a continuing basis. For example, no analysis exists yet as to whether Katrina hitting the very end of a month and almost the end of the fiscal year for the feds impacted response and recovery federal, state, local and NGO. The only regulatory exercise programs are those conducted by NRC pursuant to 10 CFR Part 50, appendix E. Even this program has been effectively lost since current delegations in DHS don’t indicate who gives final plan and exercise approval of state and local off-site plans.

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