The national preparedness goal (NPG) says the nation is successfully prepared when we have a
“secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”
I was with several dozen people last week who think the language is entirely too bureaucratic. Maybe it is. But of all the homeland security preparedness goals published during homeland security’s first decade, the current one is my favorite.
I like the “whole community” language.
Homeland security is now officially more than the Department of Homeland Security. The goal acknowledges that.
I also like the emphasis on “threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”
It’s not your grandfather’s homeland security anymore. Homeland security is focusing on the greatest risks, not just terrorism and natural hazards.
What are those greatest risks?
When Admiral Mike Mullen was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff — a job he left earlier this week — he many times said the national debt is the biggest threat to our national security. But the new chief doesn’t “agree exactly with that.”
I know threat is not the same thing as risk, but as a nation we can do better than having dueling threat assessments. The NPG recognizes that:
“All leveles of government and the whole community should present and assess risk in a similar manner to provide a common understanding of the threats and hazards confronting our nation.”
That makes sense to me (except for the “present” part, whatever that means). I would like to know what threats and hazards pose the greatest risk, especially considering the NPG observation that “understanding the greatest risks to the nation’s security and resilience is a critical step” in being prepared.
I want to be prepared. So bring on the threats and hazards information.
“In accordance with PPD-8, and in coordination with Federal departments and agencies, a Strategic National Risk Assessment was conducted.”
However, an informative NPG footnote says:
The complete results of the Strategic National Risk Assessment are classified. For an unclassified summary, see http://www.fema.gov/ppd 8.
I could not find anything at that location called an Unclassified Summary of the Strategic National Risk Assessment.
But I did find:
National Preparedness is aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the Nation by preparing for the full range of 21st century risks that threaten national security, including weapons of mass destruction, cyber attacks, terrorism, pandemics, transnational threats and catastrophic natural disasters.
The “full range of 21st century risks” seem a lot like 20th century risks. But perhaps the real risk assessment — the one that apparently cannot be shared with the “whole community” — is much rangier.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is being occupied by people exercising their first ammendment right “peaceably to assemble.”
And, according to a Wall Street Journal article titled “Wall Street Protest Digs In, Spreads”, and other reports, people in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and elsewhere inside and outside the United States are also peaceably assembling.
There’s a website called Occupy Together that seems to be keeping track of where these activities are taking place.
Another website, Occupy Wall Street, offers one perspective of what this “organic movement” (as the Wall Street Journal calls it) is about:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
Let’s see, Arab Spring: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Israel, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Western Sahara.
Unemployed people with cell phones, twitter accounts, facebook pages, youtube feeds.
Now there’s a 21st century risk.
I wonder if it is included in the Strategic National Risk Assessment.