Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 22, 2008

Final National Response Framework Issued

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 22, 2008

Only have time to make sure you have a link to this final report.

If interested, the official DHS statement about the Framework is here:

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released the National Response Framework (NRF), successor to the National Response Plan. The NRF, which focuses on response and short-term recovery, articulates the doctrine, principles and architecture by which our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities. The NRF is responsive to repeated federal, state, local and private sector requests for a streamlined document that is less bureaucratic and more user-friendly. The NRF also focuses on preparedness and encourages a higher level of readiness across all jurisdictions.

The NRF is being released following an extensive process of outreach and coordination between DHS and key stakeholders representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector. The latest public comment period for the base document of the NRF closed on Oct. 22, 2007 and the comment period for the support annexes closed on Nov.10, 2007. The final documents reflect the nearly 5,700 comments received from participants of the process.

“The National Response Framework is an essential tool for emergency managers at all levels,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “It helps define the roles, responsibilities, and relationships critical to effective emergency planning, preparedness and response to any emergency or disaster. Today’s release reflects the culmination of many months of hard work and collaboration within the nation’s emergency management community.”

The NRF is intended for senior elected and appointed leaders, such as federal department and agency heads, state governors, mayors, tribal leaders, city managers and the private sector. Simultaneously, it informs emergency management practitioners by explaining the operating structures and tools routinely used by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government.

The NRF is designed to:
o be scalable, flexible and adaptable;
o always be in effect; and
o articulate clear roles and responsibilities among local, state and federal officials.

In addition to releasing the NRF base document, the Emergency Support Function Annexes and Support Annexes will be released and posted at the NRF Resource Center (www.fema.gov/nrf), an online repository of the entire component parts of the NRF. The annexes are a total of 23 individual documents designed to provide concept of operations, procedures and structures for achieving response directives for all partners in fulfilling their roles under the NRF.

Upon finalization and publication of the NRF base document and the annexes, a large focus will be to initiate an intensive nationwide training and exercise program to embed the NRF into the nation’s preparedness and response cycle. Implementation of the NRF training and exercise strategy will include awareness training, position-specific training, exercises (tabletop and functional), and sustainment training.

To make the NRF a living system that can be revised and updated in a more nimble, transparent fashion, the NRF Resource Center was developed. The Resource Center will allow for ongoing revisions as necessary to reflect real-world events and lessons learned.

The NRF and the annexes will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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January 22, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

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Comment by William R. Cumming

January 22, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

The controlling statement is the delayed 60 days before effective date. Again no names attached and aleges approved by the President. Perhaps the Presidential signature page should have been included. Now the civil agencies only need to have knowledge of who will show up, what their expertise will be and what training and logistics systems will be utilized. Also where is the money to fund operations, e.g. in the fourth quarter of each FY. August 92 was Hurricane Andrew. August/September 2008? Let’s pray for a quiet year. Perhaps the 40 new Executive positions approved for DHS by OPM in October 2007 will help, once fully staffed and trained. Oh, one other question, what contractor involvement was there in preparation of this document that was accidentally released in draft and will comments on the draft be released with annotations as to how they were addressed, or how the decision was made to not address them? Note lack of discussion of statutory schemes affecting the NRF or roles of other key agencies. No longer does the discipline of signatures appear to be necessary. Also, will PFO undergo training and orientation or just be allowed to ad hoc their participation. Oh, that’s right many played the last few TOPOFF exercises so now they are tanned, rested and ready.

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January 22, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

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January 22, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

January 23, 2008 @ 8:35 am

As an aspiring DHS employee applicant who is experienced, yet must paddle through the bureaucracy while other employees make me offers for further global consultant and senior management employment opportunities which at this time are not my first choice and as “Joe Citizen” – google: Christopher Tingus, I extend my sincere appreciation to William R. Cumming for caring and his enlightening posts concerning his candid and knowledgeable perspective towards DHS/FEMA and what is needed to better assure us as the citizens and taxpayers how we will best defend our great nation.

I, too have made numerous comments willing to share
my perspective as while I have extensive global experience and committed to serve my neighbors and country, now in the process to secure subject DHS/FEMA employment coupled with reading your various posts certainly concerns me as it should all for we do not have time to waste in professionally addressing the threats of those who without doubt seek our demise.

Sir, thank you. We need constructive criticism and we should hear recognition as well for those at DHS/FEMA and throughout our government’s various agencies who dedicate themselves daily in portraying their professional diligence and compassion for our country and the most charitable populace around the globe.

I have serious concerns about the German led EU and its leadership, the German bankers at the ECB as well as numerous other “supposed” allies in both our global reach to improve life for those oppressed and the uncooperative signs in unwillingness to work with us to address global economic recession.

We as citizens have entrusted both Democratic and Republican alike to address our security as well as our economy with much to do in all such sectors. It is time we clasp hands in our efforts and sensitively listen to experienced individuals like William R. Cumming and other astute individuals who seek the best for the majority.

The clock keeps ticking and while DHS and FEMA officials and the many, many dedicated staff members in the field are doing their best each day.

We all have much to do to best assure our safety at a time when the War on Terror intend to overthrow government institutions and the globalization of economics and its structure and consequences and government borders – protectionism – especially as recession envelopes global markets. Globalization and global recession certainly alarm me as “Joe citizen” as various negative scenarios will undoubtedly follow and breakdowns in government to government communications and understandings may evolve into unwanted and unexpected global challenges….

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2008 @ 8:34 am

Okay its only a short time but it is interesting that the new National Response Framework is now being largely interpreted as a “Pin the Blame” document on State and locals by many individuals. Hope this isn’t the case but do notice that semi-official commentators such as Mark Lewack of OPM on various lists are not just arguing for primary responsibility and upgrades to State and local responders based on federal grant outlays, some already dispersed. The real question is “Who and what organizations exist, and who can do what the best?” The really detailed analysis of how crisis management and catastrophic response plays out in our democracy has not really been done yet. FEMA in my time was actually prohibited from conducting research into catastrophic response, the closest was the earthquake analysis conducted in both a classified and unclassified format by FEMA in conjunction with the NSC after Mt. St. Helens and ordered by President Carter. That effort led in part to the issuance of NSDD-47 the first really All-Hazards policy document issued by a President (President Reagan). This is a raw brain power bi-partisan project before anything and will need a multi-disciplinary team that understands our federal system. Yes it is time for the state and locals to grow up but often it is where you sit is where you stand and no mayor or governor is going to be expert in generation of out-of-state logistics and resources to deal with the large-scale unexpected event. By the way a wonderful book called “Planning for the Unexpected” edited by Kathleen Tierney is still a timely and accurate bible for this kind of anlaysis. Blame shifting will always exist but lets get the hard work done.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 30, 2008 @ 10:21 am

Sorry for this postscript but interrupted by a call. The Bush 43 administration is to be commended for both HSPD-5 & 8, the TCL and the 15 base planning scenarios. It would be even more effective if scenarios involving regulated industries had been included, but I guess the assumption is that the regulators will consider security and resiliency even if others ignore it. I have found no real academic or gray literature analysis of this deficiency or what the regulators have done. So might be helpful to find out if someone else knows of quality product. In additon a number of unregulated industries, such as the energy industry, are completely absent from the scenarios. Has anyone tried response and recovery without energy restoration? Just out of curiosity what % of business, or homeowners have standby generators and how long do they have fuel for their utilization? EPA regulate diesel storage for example and that itself in large amounts could be a target.

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