Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 2, 2007

National Response Framework Emerges

Filed under: Organizational Issues,Preparedness and Response — by Jonah Czerwinski on August 2, 2007

Out of the ashes and tumult of Katrina, a new National Response Plan is near ready.  This might be considered a debut for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, but I am certain many had a hand in the drafting of this document.  CQ Homeland Security’s Eileen Sullivan obtained from Hill sources a pre-decisional draft of what is now termed the National Response Framework.

nrf-2007.jpg

There will be no shortage of analysis by the press, but I thought a few specific items warranted highlighting as of this first glance.

Two places we witnessed painful missed opportunities in the response to Hurricane Katrina included the failure to fully tap into the resources of the private sector and the inability, or perhaps reluctance, to optimize the resources and aid donated by well intentioned allies and friends overseas.

 The National Response Framework includes this text to address the role of the private sector:

The Private Sector. A quick word about certain nomenclature used herein is appropriate. Common English usage draws a binary distinction between the public and private sectors – meaning those organizations and activities that are formally governmental at all levels, and those that are not. The private sector thus includes many distinct entities, including for-profit businesses (publicly-traded or privately owned), trade associations and nongovernmental organizations, not-for-profit enterprises, faith-based organizations and other voluntary organizations. Of course from another perspective, the private sector is comprised not only of organizations, but of individual citizens and families, who have important obligations to be prepared for emergencies, as discussed further in Chapter I. 

Private sector businesses play an essential role in protecting critical infrastructure systems and implementing plans for the rapid restoration of normal commercial activities and critical infrastructure operations in the event of disruption. The protection of critical infrastructure and the ability rapidly to restore normal commercial activities can mitigate the impact of a disaster or emergency, improve the quality of life of individuals and accelerate the pace of recovery for communities and the nation. The private sector, NGOs in particular, contributes to response efforts through engaged partnerships with each level of government to assess potential threats, evaluate risk and take actions as may be needed to mitigate threats.

Not a whole lot more than that could I find in my first run through the draft.  Several mentions of the private sector are threaded throughout the document, but it appears that the main plug-in for private sector coordination remains the Incident Command Structure.  There were some readers a while ago with significant experience in the plans that preceded the NRP and FEMA’s history in this regard.  Your comments on how this works would be greatly appreciated.  In the current draft, the ICS is depicted as follows:

 ics-for-nrf.jpg

The new Framework provides a nod to the importance of thinking ahead in terms of how the U.S. can effectively manage offers of assistance from other countries.  In what may appear to be a necessary division of labor, the NRF states rather clearly that the State Department has that task.  This may also reflect a cautious approach to accepting aid out of concern that any hasty approval or denial of aid offered could risk unintended diplomatic consequences unrelated to the emergency itself.  Here is language from the draft NRF to this effect:

For major incidents in which foreign governments, individuals or organizations wish to make donations, the U.S. Department of State is responsible for coordinating such donations. Detailed guidance regarding the process for managing international donations is provided in the International Support Annex.

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6 Comments »

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

August 2, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

Thanks for the good work in posting this copy and
in doing the early analysis.

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

August 2, 2007 @ 1:31 pm

You’re welcome, Claire. Looking forward to your work in this area at the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

Essentially a meaningless umbrella document watered down for the those who are unwilling to lower their dignity by real training and participation in exercises (a list of all the TOP-OFF post exercise lessons learned and actual participants, not just observers, might reveal even more defects. Now however essentially 5 basic plans ordered for consilidation by the Homeland Security Strategy (July 2002); the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (November 25, 2002); the Homeland Security Reorganization Plan (November 25,2002); and HSPD-5 (February 28, 2003) are now compressed into essentially 15 different plans to meet the preparedness scenarios put forth in the Preparedness Guidance and HSPD-8 (November 2003).
The personnel that actually know what they are doing probably can’t staff all these plans and basically they will fail should multiple incidents/events occur or those impacting large geographic areas. Again the Coasties prove they should stay at sea, since Admiral Jackson (Retire?) was the key player as Deputy Secretary of DHS. Are there any Admirals left for “Deepwater” or are they all running other parts of DHS? A graphic on the history of civil response planning is available from this academic wannabe at vacationlanegrp@aol.com. First in first out on requests and only the first 50 will get a copy.

Comment by Hope Gramlich

August 4, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

Now that you have a new frame work when are you going to start enforcing it on the federal agency’s that are changing Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources with out telling any one in the area what they are doing. They are endangering lives and businesses in South Florida.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about please see my website. http://www.faahope.com The faa stands for Florida Aviation Atrocities.

Pingback by Blogs of War: Need to Know 8.6.2007 - The State of Conservatism, Giuliani Spam, Korea, Fred’s Website, Trends, Beauchamp, and Global Warming

August 6, 2007 @ 8:49 am

[...] Homeland Security Watch Out of the ashes and tumult of Katrina, a new National Response Plan is near ready. This might be considered a debut for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, but I am certain many had a hand in the drafting of this document. [...]

Comment by William Ferroli, PhD

September 20, 2007 @ 6:57 am

Two specific groups of the “Private-Sector”; although recognition of their importance has expanded within the NRF and this importance further expanded within the draft NIMS Manual update, both fail to emphasize private-sector organizational functions and placement within the ICS structure. Understanding that NIMS is not ICS, and ICS is not NIMS, and that niether is an “Operational Plan”, two critical groups within the Private-Sector, can provide critical functionality within emergency response and management.

First, are companies & corporations with established, trained and qualified teams, especially those directly by affected by the event. Besides their regulatory requirements, when responding their teams should be simply inserted into the Operation Section and identified as XYZ (company’s name) Operations, which would be an Operations Branch. Senior representatives should be provided liaison positions within Logistics, Planning, and a set within the liaison team.

The second group, present a major response organizational nightmare, if not properly organized. This group consist of “volunteers”. Although NRF identifies this group, NIMS fails to establish specific organizational controls and protocols of this group. At major incidents their should be a Volunteer Branch within Logistics and Operations with established staging and reporting rules.

Understanding that NIMS is not an “Operational Plan” NIMS provides the opportunity to set protocols and rules, especially within the ICS organization, which is only one portion of NIMS.

NRF is the framework for government and non-government organizations and NIMS provides guidelines of three primary components for emergency management, consisting of ICS, Multiagency Coordination and Joint Public Information Systems. This is good, yet to be more effective we should consider a specific and detailed National ICS Manual, Multiagency Coordination Manual, and Joint Public Information Systems Manual. This could eliminate confusion, provide more focused and concentrated training, preparedness, levels of qualifications and emphasize “Commond Responsibilites and protocols prior to a major event, instead of grouping everyone and everything within one overall NIMS Manual with multiple ESFs and Supporting Annexes.

The new NRF, once getting past the logic of actually changing the name from NRP to NRF, is a good framework for our national response and management strategies, but it is important to review both the NRF and draft NIMS Manual together to fully understand the overall guidelines.

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