Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 18, 2011

Not Grokking PPD-8: I’m a stranger in a strange land

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Arnold Bogis on April 18, 2011

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

–Robert Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land

In generic use, “grok” usually means a deep understanding of a particular topic. Not quite what Heinlein defined, but a term that can indicate an appreciation that goes beyond definition to intent and consequence.  So a step beyond simple reading comprehension.

While I generally consider myself to possess workable reading comprehension skills, I have to confess I still do not grok PPD-8.

I simply do not sufficiently understand what was offered, what the consequences might be, and what is genuinely required to meet the desired ends. Quite frankly, what are the desired ends?  A more prepared nation?  Of course…but how we get there  and what “there” looks like remains unclear.

Even with the invaluable analysis provided by Phil, Chris, and others I still feel myself at a loss to explain or understand what impact this new policy directive will actually have on either the normal operating lives of homeland security-concerned professionals throughout the country or even on those of us who are lucky enough to pretend to think big thoughts about such topics.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Chris’ post underlining the similarities between the new and old preparedness pronouncements (these events, in the previous and current Administrations, make me wonder if policy is being brought down from the mountain top.  Obviously today in short policy memo form, often in .pdf rather than stone tablets…). The Heritage Foundation’s WebMemo, noted in an earlier post, also raises some of the same issues of overlap with previous preparedness efforts.  The true sliver of originality seems to be in the form of a whole of “something” approach to the worst case scenarios.

I do not want to give the impression that my flip comments are meant to deride the hard work of current and past professionals working these issues at all levels of government, in particular the higher reaches of Administrations.  Some of them have given me jobs…but seriously, it is difficult from the outside to ascertain the benefit of rebooting and reorganizing these efforts instead of focusing and expanding.

If its possible to follow my disorganized thoughts, I’m thinking that HSPD-8 set a train in motion that is still running today in terms of preparedness efforts. Goals were set, planning scenarios written, and target capabilities listed.  In some form or other, these led to equipment being purchased, grant requests written, and exercises of various sizes carried out (am I the only one who things that an overwhelming number of these seem to be some form of the dirty bomb scenario?).

Now there could very well be serious concerns whether those exercises were serious, the grant requests appropriate, and the equipment required.  These concerns may have been addressed during the work of drafting PPD-8, though it is impossible to tell from the outside. But could the pre-existing system have crashed and required this reboot?

Phil argues that this stone tablet, I mean directive, does build on what came before it. I am prepared to be convinced of this (see non-grokking), in fact suspect that it is true to a large degree. But why bother seeming to set new goals and a new path if small course corrections were what was needed?

I probably seemed dismissive earlier with my “whole of something” comment.  Yet I think, perhaps grok, that this is the real talented rookie player for whom we’ve been waiting (by the way, given their recent play I’m truly sorry I ever brought up the Red Sox in past posts). Lip service has been paid to the important role of the private sector and citizens in all aspects of homeland security.  However, the low amounts of money provided to programs such as Citizen Corp and the exclusion of many private stakeholders in the immediate aftermath of Katrina pointed to a different mindset.  FEMA’s “Whole of Community” effort (the name that I prefer to “Whole of Nation” as it seems to me to focus more on the non-governmental entities) strikes me as paying more than lip service–it starts by considering MOMs, analyzes required capacity to deal with MOMs, and comes to the conclusion that government is unable to do everything necessary in the time frame required.  Working back from MOMs, the real inclusion of non-traditional homeland security players will only improve preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery to events of all sizes.  That logic progression hopefully will drive serious collaboration with people who aren’t privy to FOUO documents and don’t have access to homeland security information sharing systems (which seems to rarely occur and another reason I am skeptical about the otherwise forward leaning prose of PPD-8).

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22 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 2:26 am

Not GROKKING here either. Skillful analysis of problems with HSPD-5 & 8 existed long before Obama became President. So why or why not no fix? The only explanation I can give is that most of the merger of the HSC staff and NSC staff into the NSS was to give a new home to holdovers very few of which understood the difficult issues of federalism underlying HS and EM and motivating the STATES and their local governments to do any kind of up tempo preparedness even beyond keeping their Public Safety forces (Police,Fire Service, EMT, HAZMATS, public health) going at full speed even with enhanced federal support while the economy of many STATES and their local governments were collapsing economically. So some hard hard decisions will have to be made. The real estate sector and small and middle banks are not going to recover any time soon from the debacle of underwater residential and commercial loans and foreclosures. The property tax underpins most if not all of local government finances. Many of those still are pretending in assessments that there has been no absolute reduction in values of residential properties. Just as computer restore capacity allows the owner to go back in time to restore the system as it was now we need the same for public safety. But I still see all levels of government pretending that (1) we don’t have a larger population that may need protection; (2) that technology has not just made life easier but has complicated impacts including adding expense that some cannot afford to achieve the realize the benefits of that technology; and (3) a political leadership that pretends that “resilience” is inherent in modern society and the polity when it is not.
There is something severely corrupt about the National Security State and perhaps that has overflowed to the Homeland Security State. Perhaps it all comes down to the desperation of many Americans just to maintain their status-quo in a problematic economy. A very difficult situation but fortunately at the moment not as difficult as that in Japan, or Haiti, or perhaps other nation-states. Although I count up to 25 nation-states out of say 200 existing that are not just on the ropes but on the mat knocked out. Robert Zoellick {President of the World Bank} has labeled the existing situation a world crisis in a major address and rests that conclusion based on food and energy prices. Perhaps he is wrong. MAIZE prices have climbed worldwide 76% in one year. WOW! Is anyone in circles of governance really paying attention. We have created a very very fragile economic and political system. History has not ended witness the Japanese and Haitians and NZ and Chilean events and others including drought here in US. Governing is the very toughest of jobs. Do we have leaders that can govern? TBD?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 18, 2011 @ 5:22 am

Arnold,

Reading your last paragraph regarding possible outcomes of PPD-8, I share most of these goals. I hope something similar will emerge from the process set out in PPD-8.

I do not want to be overly reductionist regarding what I perceive to be the purposes of PPD-8. There are a range of policy objectives it seeks to advance: focus on capabilities, a broader frame for prevention, renewed attention to mitigation, and more.

But mostly, I perceive — perhaps wrongly, it is not my document nor was I involved in its drafting — PPD-8 is saying that identification of a national preparedness goal and core capabilities is not meaningful unless the whole community is substantively involved in the process. While I do not read this in the PPD, it is my experience that a messy process of engaging the public in collaboration and deliberation will produce more authentic preparedness than the finest written preparedness plan.

There was pro-forma consultation and even some “coordination” with non-federal players in developing various outputs of HSPD-8 and in the prior swing at developing a national preparedness goal. Most of the state and local officials feel they were excluded and/or dismissed (though I will admit, this seems to be a chronic condition). The private sector — both commercial and civic — usually has no idea what you are talking about when the topic is raised.

In my view, the President has said, let’s stop talking to ourselves and fooling ourselves. Get out among the people and engage them, lead them, but mostly listen to them regarding the priorities that should shape national preparedness.

I do not view this as a “small correction.” If the NSS, DHS, FEMA, and others actually do what I hear the President instructing,it will be a monumental and difficult task. Bill’s reference to Don Quixote is not out-of-place (see Urban Cowboy post). But in my view the PPD is the man of La Mancha, not a windmill… and our colleagues in the agencies are Sancho Panza.

But then, that depends on how we each read Cervantes… and most do not read Cervantes.

From the original work, not the Broadway play: “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.”

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 6:58 am

Arnold,

PPD-8 is the latest chapter in the politics of preparedness, a process where a little real world connectivity is injected into the mix so as to confuse the masses. Want proof of the gaping hole between fantasy and reality in this domain? Just read this article that surfaced over the weekend.

“Justice Department shelves upgrade of communications
Sept. 11 panel called for single system”

By Shaun Waterman

The Washington Times
7:39 p.m., Sunday, April 17, 2011

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/17/justice-department-shelves-upgrade-communications/print/

The Justice Department is freezing efforts to create a single radio network that allows its various agencies to talk to each other — a key recommendation of the Sept. 11 panel…

So, do we still have a long way to go in terms of preparedness in general? You bet. This article just helps to remind us that PPD-8 may be little more than the latest distraction, and that a lot of the basic stuff that has haunted us from the start and constitutes the foundation for improved response measures remains unresolved. It makes it clear that despite the best efforts of a lot of people, our priorities are still unclear and decision-makers in Washington, D.C. either still don’t get it or they are apparently too reluctant to take bold steps – even after spending quite a lot of money searching for a fix.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 7:28 am

From Phil’s comment:
“But mostly, I perceive — perhaps wrongly, it is not my document nor was I involved in its drafting — PPD-8 is saying that identification of a national preparedness goal and core capabilities is not meaningful unless the whole community is substantively involved in the process.”

What do we know of efforts prior to issuance to involve the whole community in PPD-8? Is its issuance a product of cooperation and collaboration?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 18, 2011 @ 7:38 am

Bill, I am told that 40 plus different associations and such were involved in the consultations that produced the PPD. I have heard from several participants in the process who felt as if their inputs were meaningfully received and reflected in the document. It is also my impression — but no one has connected the dots on this for me — that the PPD was considerably influenced by the Preparedness Task Force (see: http://www.fema.gov/preparednesstaskforce/) which was a very collaborative consultation. There was also a pretty broad swath of unofficial consultations during the drafting process… at least through December or so.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 7:49 am

Peter Brown! What makes you think that the various sub-cabinet agencies in DOJ want to talk to each other?

The FBI of course has always been an independent kingdom!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 8:02 am

Well looks closely at the Preparedness Task Force final report and the membership. If that was the principal coordination it failed. That task force was largely STATEs and locals but very very odd picks. Often with almost no background in HS or EM. Hey new blood is fine sometimes. That final report has had no influence on anything or anybody and did not reflect the annual statutory mandate for FEMA to generate a preparedness report which DHS did for FEMA once in January 2009. That report not mentioned in the Task Force Report and no metrics. Most of the real conversation in that TASK FORCE was give the STATES and Locals federal money for which there is no accountability and let the feds do the heavy lifting in real world events.

If you or someone could turn the task force report into a word document [I have no ability to break up a pdf] then I would be happy to flyspeck it.

Oddly DHS and FEMA never ever seem able to incorporate or comment or include prior work effort and indicate why or why not it succeeded or failed. And of course the same for the NSS staff. Perhaps a Presidential Review Memorandum of the HSPD system and its successes and failures would have been useful.

I personally now believe the next administration will largely be starting over from scratch. Too bad when the world’s oldest and richest democracy can not afford competence.

And given the prominence of this blog and the skills and competence of the bloggers (except for all others than me) why did the powers that be not give you a chance to review and comment? Hey it is unclassified but of course the NSS staff probably does not know that only two published Executive Orders delegate authority to the National Security Council [and thereby its NSS] but hey who at NSC cares about the law. Only two AGs have sat as Ex Officio members of the NSC. Robert Kennedy and Ed Meese. Putting the AG on the NSC as a statutory member might just be a start to restoring the rule of law in the USA.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 8:09 am

And Phil! I went to the Preparedness Task Force link in your comment and it is to a cold website [April 2010] and not to the report. Hey some of us have important work to do so any time saved is valuable.

I am taking some time off now getting ready to review the over 20 heavy weight articles and books getting ready to be released after the 4th of July concerning the events of the last decade since 9/11/01 and lessons learned or not learned.

One thing I have learned is that given current levels of competence the merger of the HSC staff and NSC staff just meant that HS and EM was and is largely ignored. Probably worth an article. After all the resilience staff alone (over 32 FTE at NSC) is the single largest staff unit in my memory at the NSC although I only cover the last 45 years. What has the total production of that group been on HS and
EM? Hoping more than PPD-8!

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 8:55 am

Bill, Why can’t you just use txt version of report so as to avoid need for breaking down the pdf?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 10:28 am

Peter! If I knew how I would but never was able to locate a text version. And computer illiterate. Or cheap not sure which applies. I know adobe has a program to break apart PDF but last I checked over $125!

hey I am a nonprofit.

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 10:41 am

Bill,

Try

http://www.fema.gov/txt/preparednesstaskforce/perspective_on_preparedness.txt

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 11:04 am

Now that we have that sorted out, it is good to hear that the TVA will soon start equiping all of their nuclear power plants with satellite phones and portable generators. Such steps in the right direction are always welcome – no matter how long it takes for them to happen.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 11:08 am

Thanks Peter!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 11:19 am

Well Peter sorry you helped me as in reviewing for the 10th time the following phrase jumped out at me:

“Capabilities and Assessments: We uniformly believe that our Nation is significantly better prepared
than it was on September 11, 2001—each of us has significant anecdotal data, unique to our jurisdictions,
to support this premise. Yet we acknowledge that while stakeholders across the Nation have been
working to improve preparedness, specific, measurable outcomes for these efforts have yet to be defined
and assessed.”

Just as Chris challenged me to document reduction in STATE and local capability and starting to do so–this language shows that no STATE or LOCAL or TRIBAL rep was able to or wanted to give any hard data on capability. Basically the STATES are NOT prepared. The TRIBES are not prepared. The local governments to the extent that they have PUBLIC SAFETY capability do have some. But I would argue that less than the 5,000 largest units of local government out of the 90,000 have any real capability.

Anyhow will continue to look over the report but one thing is clear that this body had appointed only those who would “behave” and not create a runaway train.

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 11:28 am

The membership in question seemed pretty broad and diverse to me. Given the many places and agencies they represented, I would not have expected them to simply roll over and act as a rubber stamp for Uncle Sam. Prepared or better prepared? It strikes me that we are better prepared, but always rubbing up against the potential to be overwhelmed regardless of funding. Will all the trucks roll and all the planes fly when needed? Don’t count on it, but don’t give up either just because no magical solution has been found,

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 11:36 am

The membership was not allowed to self-initate agenda items.

Don’t mean to belabor the issue but this will be my final comment for the moment since I guess PPD-8 is the first product some would argue based on the Task Force Report!

Extract:

ecommendation: Conduct Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) processes at
all levels of government to establish a foundation to justify preparedness improvements.

The Task Force believes that every level of government should be able to define its risks—whether man-
made or natural. This process can range from a complex risk assessment methodology at the national
level down to a simple historical accounting of previous natural disasters for a local jurisdiction.

At the local level, we recommend that every jurisdiction prioritize risks—both man-made and natural.
The Task Force believes that localities should be free to use an appropriate methodology or tool to help
them collect and analyze baseline risk data. We caution against developing and mandating complex
assessment methodologies—complexity has an inverse relationship with participation, particularly at the
local level where personnel are often volunteer, part-time, or inadequately staffed. Using the web-based
support tool described in a later recommendation, local jurisdictions should also provide their risk
analyses to their respective State to enable aggregate-level analysis.

State and UASI jurisdictions should participate in a more rigorous and standardized THIRA process. The
Task Force believes that existing State hazard mitigation processes serve as a potential model upon which
to base this State/UASI THIRA.

Individual Tribal nations should decide how best to participate in the THIRA process. This could be
directly with FEMA, or as a quasi-local jurisdiction reporting to FEMA through the appropriate State
government. If acting directly, Tribes should comply with the same standards and timelines as State and
UASI jurisdictions.

At the Federal level, DHS should conduct a national-level THIRA using both Federal-level data as well as
aggregated data from States and UASI jurisdictions. DHS should disseminate the results of this THIRA
to, at a minimum, Federal departments and agencies with lead and support roles for the Emergency
Support Functions in the National Response Framework.

This common approach will enable all levels of government to maintain a baseline understanding of the
risks that they face, facilitating efforts to identify capability and resource gaps and ultimately capability
improvements. We also emphasize that, as appropriate, higher levels of government should share
relevant THIRA information that affects other jurisdictions—ensuring that all levels of government are
able to accurately assess their risks and fill capability gaps.

Once completed, future grant investments should be tied to assessed risk and existing capability at the
local, State, Tribal, Territorial, regional, and national levels. Jurisdictions should continue to have the
freedom to pursue the capabilities that best address their risks. FEMA should expect State Administrative
Agencies (SAAs) and Regional Administrators to comment on Investment Justifications, validating that
capabilities requested are consistent with risks assessed at the State and regional levels.

Desired Outcomes:

.
All levels of government are able to assess their risks using appropriate methodologies;

.
Framework for preparedness Investment Justifications is established;

.
Preparedness levels and progress are measured from year to year by evaluating the gaps ”

There is no evidence that this effort was ever started or will be started and the whole report conditions STATE, and LOCAL and Tribal enhancement of preparedness on the completion and existence of this report.

Hey has it been cited by any federal department or agency in any program, function or activity as being implemented as to its recommendations? But hey it is like most HS and EM products of some utility. Or is it in fact the reason that some like Juliette Kayyem decided her future was elsewhere?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

Okay apologies for length of this comment after promising no more!

The purpose of the TASK FORCE established by Congress was to inform Congress of Congressional actions that could enhance the nation’s preparedness. It has been suggested that PPD-8 was in part an outgrowth of the
task force efforts. And yes agree with Peter that some of the members were indeed distinguished.

So what were the recommendations to Congress? Well here they are extracted from the report!

TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONGRESS

Appendix A: Recommendations to Congress
Strategic Investments to Sustain and Grow Preparedness

Recommendations 1-25

#1: Include preparedness in the portfolio of strategic, futures-oriented analysis currently
conducted by the National Intelligence Council.

Desired Outcomes:

The National Intelligence Council integrates preparedness-related futures analyses into its
activities; and
.
DHS is able to use futures analyses to make authoritative judgments about future
requirements and/or capabilities, enabling anticipatory investments in key areas.

#2: The Department of Education, working with FEMA, should develop materials that school districts can use to implement a preparedness curriculum.

Desired Outcomes:
.
School districts around the country integrate preparedness principles and materials into
curricula; and Citizens entering adulthood understand the preparedness mindset and have taken basic steps to better prepare themselves individually or as a family at home, in the community, and in the workplace.

#3: Establish a system of financial incentives to encourage individuals, families, and businesses to train and materially prepare for emergencies.

Desired Outcomes:
.
Governments at all levels increasingly consider and implement innovative financial
incentives to promote preparedness; and increasing numbers of individuals and businesses engage in preparedness planning and activities.

#4: Provide incentives for jurisdictions to take pre-event steps that will reduce the length and magnitude of disaster recovery.

Desired Outcomes:
.
Jurisdictions take steps—such as those identified in the San Francisco Success Story—to
initiate advanced recovery planning efforts; and jurisdictions are able to recover from catastrophic events more efficiently, rapidly, and effectively.

#5: Ensure national cybersecurity efforts address local, State, Tribal, and Territorial preparedness implications.

Desired Outcomes:
.
Cybersecurity capability enhancement is prioritized at the local, State, Tribal, and
Territorial levels; and

#4. National cybersecurity policy is expanded to include considerations for the resiliency of increasingly cyber-dependent preparedness and emergency management activities at all levels of government.

#5. Policy and Guidance

Desired Outcome:

Transform existing advisory bodies into a “networked” overarching
preparedness policy advisory system capable of influencing policy
policy from initiation to implementation.

#6: Expand the reach of the National Advisory Council.

Desired Outcome:
.
The NAC functions as an intergovernmental focal point and forum for local, State, Tribal,
and Territorial participation in all stages of the preparedness policy process.

#7: Revitalize and “network” the Regional Advisory Councils.

Desired Outcome:

The RACs serve as regional nodes in a preparedness policy advisory system that
communicates regional local, State, Tribal, and Territorial perspectives and informs
national-level policy decisions.

#8: Embed local, State, Tribal, and Territorial officials in the FEMA National Preparedness Directorate (NPD).

Desired Outcome:

.
Embedded local, State, Tribal, and Territorial officials advise their Federal counterparts on emerging policy issues and serve as a conduit through which the NAC and RACs can
contribute to and keep informed of national preparedness policy.

#9: Establish a clear and consistent policy coordination process.

Desired Outcome:

.
DHS establishes a clear, consistent, and efficient preparedness policy process that better
balances the Department’s need for deliberative flexibility with its need to engage broader elements of the homeland security and emergency management enterprise in collaborative policy-making.

#10: Engage non-governmental stakeholders in a collaborative policy process.

Desired Outcome:
.
Individuals and non-governmental organizations are engaged in a genuinely collaborative
preparedness policy process.

#11: Planning-related policy and guidance should ensure that basic emergency plans match community demographics.

Desired Outcome:
.
Communities better understand and account for their unique requirements and plans reflect these realities.

#12: Establish and fund a national, comprehensive mutual aid system based on NIMS.

Desired Outcome:
.
Local, State, Tribal, and Territorial governments efficiently coordinate mutual aid before,
during, and in the aftermath of major emergencies and events requiring national or
interstate level responses through a national, comprehensive mutual aid system.

#13: Develop a strategic policy planning process to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.

Desired Outcome:

The NAC futures analysis workgroup performs long-range assessments and policy planning to mitigate the risk of strategic surprise and optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of preparedness investments.

Capabilities and Assessment –Overarching Prioritize development and phased implementation of a national Recommendation preparedness assessment framework

#14: Conduct Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) processes at all levels of government to establish a foundation to justify preparedness improvements.

Desired Outcomes:
.
All levels of government are able to assess their risks using appropriate methodologies;
.
Framework for preparedness Investment Justifications is established;
.
Preparedness levels and progress are measured from year to year by evaluating the gaps
between current and targeted capability levels across all levels of government; and
Investments made to close gaps in capability levels result in a more prepared Nation and
reflect a measurable return on investment.

#15: Prioritize ongoing efforts to update the existing Target Capabilities List with tiered, capability-specific performance objectives and NIMS-typed resource requirements.

Desired Outcomes:
.
All levels of government are able to assess their capability levels, with associated
performance objectives and resource needs;
.
FEMA works with all levels of government to identify and address capability performance
gaps; and
.
FEMA works with all levels of government to identify and address gaps in nationally
deployable NIMS-typed resources.

#16: Establish a NIMS-typed resource inventory for nationally deployable homeland security and emergency management assets.

Desired Outcome:
.
Homeland security and emergency management stakeholders have greater visibility into
and access to the range of nationally deployable assets.

#17: Use existing, familiar, user-friendly systems, such as NIMSCAST, to collect preparedness assessment and resource inventory data from all levels of government.

Desired Outcome:
.
FEMA provides a system for data collection and subsequent reporting that is transparent,
repeatable and defendable.

#18: Implement the elements of a preparedness assessment framework over a three-year period, with an integrated set of annual milestones.

Desired Outcomes:
.
All levels of government have an understanding of their threat and hazard profiles,
associated capability needs, and documented capability shortfalls;
.
Grant investments and other preparedness activities are linked to documented capability
shortfalls; and
.
All levels of government have access to a NIMS-typed resource inventory of nationally
deployable assets.

Grants Administration

Make targeted improvements to preparedness grant-related

Overarching coordination and collaboration, business processes, and
capability assessment linkages.

#19: Establish an interagency working group to better coordinate preparedness grants at the Federal level.

Desired Outcomes:

Federal agencies administering preparedness grants meet regularly to coordinate, as
appropriate, development of grant guidance, application/award timelines, monitoring, and
assessments;

.
Federal agencies providing preparedness grants have visibility into grantee-developed

strategic documents and use these documents to inform grant allocations and awards;
.
Preparedness grant programs reflect more consistent timelines; and
.
Preparedness grant programs employ the Grants.gov system as a common system.

#20: Incentivize coordination among local, State, Tribal, and Territorial stakeholders regarding preparedness-related grant funds.

Desired Outcome:
.
SAAs for all Federal grant programs have increased visibility into grant initiatives,
resulting in more efficient and effective use of Federal grant funds.

#21: DHS should evaluate the role of match requirements in Federal preparedness assistance grants to ensure that match requirements do not disincentivize local, State, Tribal, and Territorial participation and that they support capability development and sustainment.

Desired Outcome:
.
DHS conducts evidence-based evaluation to understand how match requirements influence local, State, Tribal, and Territorial participation in preparedness grants.

#22: Federal agencies with decentralized grant administration and monitoring functions should ensure consistent application of standards.

Desired Outcome:
.
Grant programs are administered and monitored consistently by regional offices.

#23: Allow grantees flexibility to use federal grant funds to support sustainment and maintenance costs without limitation.

Desired Outcome:
.
Local, State, Tribal, and Territorial grantees are able to use federal preparedness grants
flexibly to sustain and maintain existing capabilities.

#24: To reflect the diverse goals and objectives of Federal grant programs, grant funding should be allocated using a variety of approaches, including: 1) baseline amounts for each state and territory; 2) amounts based on risk formulas targeted to specific areas; 3) category/programs specific grants; and 4) competitive programs that encourage innovation.

Desired Outcome:
.
Grantees have access to a full range of preparedness grants to meet diverse needs.

#25: More closely link grant programs with capability assessments.

Desired Outcome:

Assessment data supports local, State, Tribal, and Territorial stakeholders by identifying
how grant funds contribute to capability improvements.

I defy anyone to tell me which of these give the slightest help to Congress in designing constructive legislation to enhance preparedness. Most look to me as though directed to DHS and FEMA to improve their performance! Views au contraire would be of interest!
Also is this the first time this report has been discussed on HLSWATCH.COM?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 18, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

Bill: No time just now to respond substantively, but, yes, HLSwatch has previously engaged the Task Force report.

Mark wrote a substantive post on October 27 http://www.hlswatch.com/2010/10/27/beyond-72-hours/

I posted a more trivial bit on October 29 http://www.hlswatch.com/2010/10/29/perspectives-on-preparedness-nudging-us-forward-bit-by-bit/

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 18, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

Thanks Phil! After rereading remember Mark’s interesting post and I meant to reading Dr. Redliner’s book and somehow skipped doing that but will now.

Comment by Peter J. Brown

April 18, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

One last observation –

Speaking of Dr. Redlener, as we assess PPD-8 here, perhaps Dr. Redlener’s recent reaction to the budget deal and the $786 million reduction in FEMA grants to first responders is worth pondering. So what if the grants are being cut by one-fifth?

“The cuts undermine the security of the country, as far as disaster preparedness is concerned,” Redlener told ProPublica. “A very significant cutback is really inexplicable given what we’re observing unfold now in Japan.”

And later he got to the heart of the matter at least as far as this thread is concerned.

“I don’t think anyone proposed these particular cuts based on a finely tuned, nuanced analysis of which programs are working and which aren’t,” Redlener said. “This is much more of a sledgehammer set of reductions within FEMA.”

See

http://www.propublica.org/article/experts-emergency-preparedness-cuts-in-budget-deal-threaten-us-security

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 19, 2011 @ 12:45 am

Peter! Thanks for the link. Actually while these specific grants have had some problem the DOC is basically correct that the cuts were made without documentation. I myself have long advocated mobile EOCs as opposed to fixed EOCs. A remarkable number of fixed EOCs over time have been put out of business due to various kinds of events.

But clearly this man is the kind of guy needed in DC to help with first response issues. Calls it as it is.

Did I mention that early documentation shows the Japanese event will be a MAJOR impact on that large economy. At least for next year or more.

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