This morning, April 8, Brian Kamoie Senior Director for Preparedness Policy at the National Security Staff made a presentation on the new Presidential Policy Directive on preparedness. Following is some real-time — unfiltered, decontextualized — impressions as I listen to the webcast.
A couple of weeks ago a colleague and I listened/watched a Congressional Hearing and came away with diametrically opposed take-aways. We (too) often hear and see what we are prepared to hear and see. I am, sadly, no different. Further I prefer reading to listening, so when I have a chance to examine the PPD’s actual text I am likely to disagree with myself.
The text is scheduled to be released at noon today via DHS and FEMA
PPD-8 articulates the President’s vision for national security and resilience.
Three key principles:
- Whole-of-nation approach (see immediately prior post). Reflected already in QHSR, Health security strategy, and in FEMA’s whole community approach on survivors. Significant references to FEMA — and specifically Fugate — initiatives. Focus has turned outward
- Seek to build key capabilities we need to for flexible, agile response to a wide range of incidences. Reflective of FEMA’s Maximum of Maximums concept.
- Developing measurement systems and outcome assessments. Are we prepared? How would we know? Are we better this year than last? Referenced FEMA’s preparedness task force recommendations.
PPD-8 replaces HSPD-8 (mostly).
Aims to articulate National Preparedness Goal, same details as mentioned in immediate prior post. Capabilities will be tied to specific performance objectives.
Critical few shared capabilities, medical surge and information sharing, but capabilities will focus mostly on real risks.
Capability-based planning will encompass prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.
DHS will lead on national preparedness goal, system, and report.
Significant discussion of individual and community preparedness, but I did not hear how this long-term goal is being re-framed or invigorated.
“The nation is better prepared to deal with a catastrophic incident than ever before.” Example: DHS, HHS, and DOD collaboration on rapid distribution of medical counter-measures.
About 20 minutes prepared remarks. Q&A followed.
First question, what is resilience?
The NSS Resilience Directorate approaches resilience as reflecting three key principles:
- Withstand disruption
- Adapt to change
- Rapidly recover
These are at the heart of the National Security Strategy, QHSR, and other programs.
Second question, nuclear preparedness.
Referred to Japan lessons-learned, work being done on evacuation and shelter-in-place, and recent exercises. Gave particular attention to role of public information and engaging the public prior to a nuclear emergency.
Third question, implications of Katrina.
Emphasizes value of core capabilities to respond flexibly to unexpected.
Fourth question, How to measure preparedness? What are the standards?
Stakeholder engagement is key. CDC has identified 15 core capabilities. Next step: consultations. It would be a mistake to do this only within the federal community.
Fifth question, role of NGO in major disasters is taken for granted. Particular problem assuming NGOs can be prepared to scale-up quickly to collapse of supply chains.
All-of-Nation certainly includes NGOs. The tough issue is how we effectively collaborate. This includes understanding what can — and cannot — be brought to the table by any collaborator.
Sixth question, interagency impediments especially related to Stafford Act authorization and resource availability.
There is no easy or automatic answer — especially in regard to resources — but how do we step outside our bureaucratic boxes through collaborative engagement?
Seventh question, is there a conflict between capabilities based preparedness and catastrophic preparedness.
Catastrophic scenarios do not go away. It is mixing and matching capabilities through planning, exercising, and enhanced collaboration that results in authentic preparedness.
Eighth question, international risk readiness.
And I apologize, but I am being called away. While posting I have received a copy of the six page PPD. Rather than simply cut-and-paste (others will undoubtedly do this), please look here over the weekend for an exegesis.
I got back just in time for the last question related to the role of private-public partnerships. Brian Kamoie’s answer was artful — and deserves a careful transcript — but I heard him say there are contexts where the government must be prepared to defer to private sector capabilities. As readers know, I am especially inclined to perceive this is the case in many catastrophic contexts. So, perhaps I am hearing what I want to hear. But if the PPD is meant to encourage this sort of strategic stance, it would reflect a significant shift in our long-time policy.