A new survey of state homeland security officials has been published by Western Carolina University’s Institute for the Economy and the Future. (Hat tip: HSDL). The results are based on responses from 34 states, and the executive summary of the report lists nine “key findings”:
- After more than five years, the responsibilities, strategies and mission of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are still not all clearly defined according to the majority of state homeland security officials.
- Americaâ€™s schools are exposed: over 90% of respondents indicated that public and private schools have not adequately prepared for potential national emergencies.
- Department of Homeland Security directives are not being effectively implemented at the state level, according to the majority of officials surveyed.
- Efforts taken to reduce communication difficulties among federal, state, and local authorities are considered effective. The overwhelming majority of state homeland security officials cite that progress has been made.
- Over 90% of state officials recognize that rural areas could be vital to supporting the critical infrastructure needs of urban areas during times of national emergency; however, more than half agree with the current distribution of federal resources primarily to non-rural areas.
- Homeland security officials lack confidence in the ability of states to respond to a nuclear or biological attack.
- More than 4 out of 10 officials are uncertain or unconfident in the resiliency of critical infrastructure in their state.
- More than half of state officials either do not think anti-terrorism measures aimed at protecting the nationâ€™s ports and transport systems have been effective or they are uncertain about the effectiveness.
- Although funding has been increased over the last several years, officials report financial constraints still limit the ability of states to protect, prevent, and prepare against possible emergencies.
Between this survey and the similar survey from the National Governors Association published last month, it’s clear that there’s a very full agenda for federal-state relations on homeland security issues.