Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 9, 2011

PPD-8 and HSPD-8: Comparing and Contrasting Language

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Philip J. Palin on April 9, 2011

The new Presidential Policy Directive includes several definitional paragraphs.  So did the 2003 predecessor policy HSPD-8.  Below are all of the definitions listed in the new PPD.  In italics is a comparison to HSPD-8.


(a) The term “national preparedness” refers to the actions taken to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise to build and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from those threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation.

HSPD-8: The term “preparedness” refers to the existence of plans, procedures, policies, training, and equipment necessary at the Federal, State, and local level to maximize the ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from major events. The term “readiness” is used interchangeably with preparedness.

(b) The term “security” refers to the protection of the Nation and its people, vital interests, and way of life.

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.

(c) The term “resilience” refers to the ability to adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies.

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.

(d) The term “prevention” refers to those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism. Prevention capabilities include, but are not limited to, information sharing and warning; domestic counterterrorism; and preventing the acquisition or use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). For purposes of the prevention framework called for in this directive, the term “prevention” refers to preventing imminent threats.

HSPD-8: The term “prevention” refers to activities undertaken by the first responder community during the early stages of an incident to reduce the likelihood or consequences of threatened or actual terrorist attacks. More general and broader efforts to deter, disrupt, or thwart terrorism are not addressed in this directive. (Full disclosure: When this definition was first offered by HSPD-8 I was horrified by how narrowly prevention was framed and actively worked to get it changed.  While I (and others) failed in changing the words, the definition as practiced became much closer to that now offered in PPD-8.)

(e) The term “protection” refers to those capabilities necessary to secure the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters. Protection capabilities include, but are not limited to, defense against WMD threats; defense of agriculture and food; critical infrastructure protection; protection of key leadership and events; border security; maritime security; transportation security; immigration security; and cybersecurity.

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.

(f) The term “mitigation” refers to those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Mitigation capabilities include, but are not limited to, community-wide risk reduction projects; efforts to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure and key resource lifelines; risk reduction for specific vulnerabilities from natural hazards or acts of terrorism; and initiatives to reduce future risks after a disaster has occurred. (Personal Note: This shout out to mitigation is, depending on what is done with it, potentially one of the most important aspects of the new PPD.)

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.

(g) The term “response” refers to those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred.

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.

(h) The term “recovery” refers to those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively, including, but not limited to, rebuilding infrastructure systems; providing adequate interim and long-term housing for survivors; restoring health, social, and community services; promoting economic development; and restoring natural and cultural resources.

HSPD-8: Not specifically defined.


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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 9, 2011 @ 9:39 am

Helpful post! Thanks Phil!

Hoping someone produces a matrix and link to varrious definitions including those contained in the DHS LEXICON published several years ago. Even better would be more analysis like in the post indicating evolution of terms or differences. Some differences may well be distinctions without any true difference.

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