Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 26, 2009

Federal Preparedness Report Released

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 26, 2009

Seven days before the hand-off to the Obama administration, DHS finalized the Federal Preparedness Report (FPR). The report reviews preparedness efforts at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels over the past five years.

The FPR intends to institutionalize analytical and data collection processes to report on the national preparedness system, which includes the following components:

• Target capabilities and preparedness priorities
• Equipment and training standards
• Training and exercises
• Comprehensive assessment system
• Remedial action management program
• Federal response capability inventory
• Reporting requirements
• Federal preparedness

The FPR is mandated by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 and is considered the first in a series of annual preparedness reports that sets a baseline for future assessments.

Thanks to reader Bill Cummings for sending this is in. And thanks to Steven Aftergood at FAS for hosting the document here.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 26, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

A pre-comment comment! The new Secretary is pushing prevention/protection to go with preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. So obviously the fact that this report does not stress prevention/protection indicates it focus on traditional preparedness programs, functions, and activities.
That said, my definition of “Preparedness” and no definition appears in this report (and also says federal preparedness not national preparedness) means the following:

Preparedness means in reality “capability.” And includes the elements set forth below. [And by the way despite what readers may think of my comments this is the best "Preparedness" report to come out of FEMA since the 1988 Capability Assessment ordered up by Director Julius Becton and led by Dr. John H. Powers, PhD).

The elements include the following:
(1) Funding-meaning the availability of funds now (or in reality for 24/7 ops over the next 75-90 days.)
(2) Personnel--meaning already trained on-board capability for the same time period in (1) above. This also includes funding and support by contractors, or NGO's, not just governmental personnel.
(3)equipment--meaning presently available--for example protective gear--OSHA and the US Criminal code make it a felony violation to send untrained, unequipped (unprotected) responders in harms way. E.G. do the SAR teams have what they need and are they trained to operation in a CBRNE environment? Does the FIRE SERVICE have SCBA [self-contained breathing apparatus] for all its forces? Do Police? Do federal responders?
(4)Logistics systems and processes–meaning can the effort be surged beyond the planning basis?
(5)Emergency Public Information—Meaning can PAR’s [Protective Action Recommendations--such as shelter or evacuate]be issued by those responsible?
(6)Are communications fully interoperable and redundant (for losses during event)?
(7)Are specific plans available and what are there planning basis? [Note no listing of plans in the report and no listing of planning basis]
(8)Are technical response units that monitor for contamination immediately operative and functional–example NEST teams of EPA’s Office of Emergency Response?
(9) Warning, alerting, notification properly implented and tested?
(10) Have plans been fully tested and exercised and determinations made between plan deficiencies and training, equipment, etc. deficiencies.

In case readers wonder what I mean by the “planning basis” I mean the following: Paper plans are just that. If the planning is done correctly a large enough planning basis is formally adopted to allow the EM/HS system to surge against that planning basis with fuller mobilization by everything from civil and military assets to resources of all kinds. For example, published possible event scenarios, including WMD incidents and events, envision 10,000 dead, 100,000 casulaties (many severe) and even 500,000 homeless with up to 2M needed immediate food and water. What is the planning basis?

Okay does this report allow these questions to be answered? My response is despite the effort NO. Therefore, Madam Secretary and Ms. Acting Administrator time to roll up the sleves. Good luck!

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