Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 8, 2011


Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Christopher Bellavita on April 8, 2011

This link will download a copy of presidential policy directive 8 — PPD-8-Preparedness


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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 8, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

Thanks and here are my first impressions of this document.

First it is not pablum! Second why is it not pablum?

I refer readers to my earlier comments posted before reading the doc.

AS to why it is not pablum? It documents that as of March 30, 2011, neither the President nor the resilency group at the NSC, nor their leadership, had the foggiest notion of how the US would operate now, today, in a catstrophic situation. It almost totally ignores the dedication and hard work of many individuals and organizations since 9/11/01 and even long before to help the US face not just Black Swans but also the expected and more probably events. It also fails to improve on past guidance. It also fails to draw lines where that would ease inter-departmental and inter-agency tensions and the same for intra-departmental and intra-agency tensions. Basically this document does not reflect the hard work of interagency coordination and collaboration and I can document that almost all the in futuro requirements placed in the document to show that it has some meaning were long since mandated elsewhere and thus by again giving new deadlines indicates that the past deadlines were not met or if met the NSS Resilency staff does not understand what has been accomplished or not accomplished and exactly why.

The document also explains why in recent Congressional hearings on the response of the Executive Branch to catastrophic events no one could answer crucial questions when asked. No one understand exactly current capabilities and logistics systems, the decline of STATE and their local government EM and HS capabilities due largely to economic reductions, nor the same for the NGO community with the leading example the American Red Cross.
Nor are important military civil interface questions in catastrophes addressed or resolved nor recognition given to the limits of the all-nation approach that apparently still exempts regulated industry and business from having to address security and performance interruption issues through bottom up approaches even as new technology comes on stream.

Hoping someone will send me a word doc version not PDF so that I can really fly-spec it.

But hey it at least shows that the President and his NSC staff understood that the catastrophic even still underway in Japan which will dominate that country’s polity perhaps for as long as the next two decades. And IMO that event was NOT a BLACK SWAN!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 8, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

Often Presidential Directives will contain a provision or provisions of what I term non-applicability in an attempt to prevent confusion as to their impact on roles and responsibilities assigned by statute or Executive Order to various departments or agencies. Any Presidential directive should of course be reviewed to determine first if newly delegated authority is granted to someone in the Executive Branch and always remember delegations are to POSITIONS never to individuals. Typically an assigment mentioning an individual not an organization is called a DESIGNATION!

So I always look first in any Presidential Directive to see what the non-applicability provisions are as contained in the document.

Three key ones appear in PDD-8!

These are as follows:
(1) Nothing in this directive is intended to alter or impede the ability to carry out the authorities of executive departments and agencies to perform their responsibilities under law and consistent with applicable legal authorities and other Presidential guidance. This directive shall be implemented consistent with relevant authorities, including the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 and its assignment of responsibilities with respect to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(2) Nothing in this directive is intended to interfere with the authority of the Attorney General or Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with regard to the direction, conduct, control, planning, organization, equipment, training, exercises, or other activities concerning domestic counterterrorism, intelligence, and law enforcement activities .
(3) Nothing in this directive shall limit the authority of the Secretary of Defense with regard to the command and control, planning, organization, equipment, training, exercises, employment, or other activities of Department of Defense forces, or the allocation of Department of Defense resources.

Note that the numbering does NOT appear in the original text.

The purpose of items number 2 & 3 should be clear. Here the President is trying to make clear that a line drawing has occurred between National Preparedness and the Law Enforcement Federal Community and the forces and assets controlled by the President as Command-In-Chief as opposed to his/her role as Chief Executive. The Constitution by its plain language rejects the notion of a unified executive as some have argued.

The problem with these two provisions is that both Law Enforcement assets and DOD assets must be fully and smoothly integrated in a Constitutional manner into National Preparedness. I leave that integration to others but this document patently does not do this.

The first item of course concerns FEMA which is the key reference to that sub-cabinet unit in PPD-8. It pretends that PKEMRA 2006 somehow clarified the FEMA role in domestic National Preparedness and crisis management. It did no such thing IMO. Moreover, PKEMRA was a product of the HOUSE Homeland Security Committee which because it lacked oversight over the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-707 which amends in part, rescinds in part, and supplements in part the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288)was not able to blend the two statutes adequately. Thus, FEMA is still in limbo and no document exists to my knowledge analyzing and comparing PKEMRA 2006 with provisions of the STAFFORD ACT or other responsibilities.

So here I make a suggestion. Have OLC [Office of Legal Counsel-DOJ)conduct a review for the President of the authorities of FEMA and DHS as delegated by various statutes and DHS and produce a document highlighting or resolving inconsistencies to the extent possible. AS in the past this review will cost staff and money and FEMA who acts on the President’s behalf in adminstering the President’s DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] can just ask the President to utilize that fund for the task. In the meantime perhaps OLC can also resolve the question as to whether any law enforcement activities can be funded by the DRF. And also whether any reimbursement of either the National Guard or active reservists or active duty forces can be reimbursed by the DRF. My position over 20 years of service in FEMA informally was that these are not allowable expenditures by FEMA from the DRF and only the President might have authority to order such payments.
So the first effort to develop a National Preparedness System is to find out what existing authority exists in these three execeptions as stated in PPD-8. You have my opinion and of course often an opinion is only worth what you pay for it. OLC on the other hand will be paid one way or another for their opinion.

If somehow this post can remain active my intention is to examine closely other provisions of PPD-8 in future comments.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 8, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

And yes Steve Aftergood and Claire Rubin both provided me a file in a format other than PDF so thanks to both.

Comment by Ben

April 9, 2011 @ 12:08 am

Very good observations and upon first reading I agree with you. The NSC/HSC may feel that our nation is not prepared to prevent/respond to a Japan-type disaster or another 9/11, but what does that say about the past decade’s worth of legislating, planning, and funding in the homeland security/preparedness arena? I’m not sure what value these new requirements (heaped on top of existing DHS requirements) add? Well-intentioned for sure, but certainly confusing…

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 9, 2011 @ 2:05 am

The most critical language of the PPD-8 follows:

“Within 1 year from the date of this directive, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit the first national preparedness report based on the NPG to me, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The Secretary shall coordinate this effort with other executive departments and agencies and consult with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public. The Secretary shall submit the report annually in sufficient time to allow it to inform the preparation of my Administration’s budget.”

Everything the US government does costs money. Nothing gets done without funding as we face the current possibility of a federal shutdown.

The language above is sure to be analogized to the “delegate agency funding” concept fought so hard by OMB in the past. What does this mean? It means that the Secretary DHS must coordinate and presumably approve all the funding basis for any efforts by any Executive Branch Department and Agency that wants to continue current funding streams or obtain new funding streams through the annual budget process for any programs, functions, or activities [these are budget words of art and GAO has defined them] that support development of the capabilities needed to reach the National Preparedness Goal as defined by a report to be submitted under the Directive to the President through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism within 180 days of March 30, 2011. This meets the normal budget cycle of departmental and agency submissions of the proposed fiscal year budgets for the following fiscal years by September 30th each year or even earlier. WOW!
No way this is going to happen this year since most Departments and agencies have no idea what their funding will total for FY 2011 much less FY 2012. Totally unrealistic and probably deadline designed by
those with no direct experience in the budget process.

And the 050 National Defense budget function code needs to be broken down with an Homeland Security subfunction? No wonder no one understands what exactly is spent on civil security and domestic crisis management and preparedness. This will be fun to watch and Congressional oversight on PPD-8 is going to be fascinating since the budgeting language above is the first of its kind ever in any Presidential National Security or Homeland Security Directive. Bet OMB did not get to review that language because that is what they consider is their job and the whole purpose of budget codes in the first place. A whole new budgeting system is the major creation of this new PPD. Who knew the NSS had such a role?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 9, 2011 @ 2:12 am

Based on my comments above the rest of the PPD is meaningless however interpreted since after determining that it does or does not apply to any “galvanized” effort [which presumably means meeting current budgets for programs, functions, and activities authorized and funded] and after going through the new budget process mandated by the PDD-8 there is relatively little left that could be realistically considered directed by the new PDD-8. Hey I could be wrong as always.

By the way a National Preparedness Report is mandated annually already in PKEMA 2006 [only one has been prepared in January 2009 by the departing administration] but that statutory requirement unlike the unlike the one mandated in the PDD-8 has no budgetary link and does not reflect budgetary implications. I am sure this Congress will rapidly fix that oversight and mess with the PDD-8!

Pingback by PPD 8 | japannuclear

April 17, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

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