Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 4, 2013

Thirty questions about the 2013 National Preparedness Report

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Christopher Bellavita on June 4, 2013

I read the 2013 National Preparedness Report on Monday.  If DHS is going to take the time to produce this second portrait of the Nation’s preparedness, the least one can do is read it.

The Report’s not bad. If nothing else, it reminds the reader about the megacomplexity of homeland security. There is information in the report about what myriad agencies are doing under myriad constraints to prepare for myriad threats.

The usual terrorism, cyber, “all hazards,” and resilience suspects appear frequently, but so too do active shooter incidents, drought, low crop yields, greenhouse gas pollution, improving energy use, saving water, rising sea levels, vulnerable populations, unity of military effort, biohazards, biosurveillance, big data, public health cutbacks, computer forensic demands, financial crimes, food and agriculture and animal safety, transportation security, housing, culture, cyber workforce, impact of extreme weather on deteriorating infrastructure, supply chains, citizen and private sector involvement, fatality management….

There really is a lot in this 60 page (plus or minus) document.

I wonder who will read the Report. Maybe some people in DHS. Maybe a few people on congressional staffs. Maybe homeland security students.

The Report’s analytical conclusions tend to follow this pattern: “Progress has been made. Challenges remain. The Report and the data it draws from will mature in future years as we get more experience assessing preparedness.”

I think those are fair claims.

I don’t think the report will satisfy people who look for unambiguous evidence about the impact, or lack of impact, from homeland security spending. I think the document is still mostly a synthesis of other reports, self-assessments, and anecdotes. The report’s authors call this quantitative and qualitative data.

But I don’t know a better, or more current, overview of what’s going on in homeland security with respect to preparing for just about everything one could anticipate. (I did not see mention of space weather, meteors or obesity; but I might have missed something.)

If you do care about homeland security, I think reading the report will be a good use of your time.

After you’ve read it, see if you can answer these questions.

The answers are in the Report but I will post them later in the week. (You can find acronym translations on pages 63 and 64 of the Report.)

1. Why was the Report written?

a. Required by PPD 8

b. To provide a national perspective on preparedness trends

c. To inform program priorities

d. To help allocate resources

e. To communicate concerns to stakeholders

f. All of the above

g. DHS budget will not be released until the annual preparedness report is completed

2. How many core capabilities are identified in the National Preparedness Goal

a. 15

b. 31

c. 51

d. 65

3. Number of times the National Preparedness Goal is described specifically in the Report

a. 5

b. 3

c. 1

d. 0

4. The majority of state and local respondents in a preparedness survey expect the federal government to be largely responsible for all the below, except for (select as many as you’d like):

a. Economic recovery,

b. Fatality management,

c. Cybersecurity,

d. Forensics,

e. Housing,

f. Planning

5. According to a 2012 survey of state Chief Information Security Officers, what percent were confident in their state’s ability to protect against external cyber threats?

a. 12%

b. 24%

c. 48%

d. 72%

6. According to the Preparedness Report, what is the percentage of Americans who have “physical, sensory, intellectual, or cognitive disabilities”?

a. 18%

b. 25%

c. 46%

d. Undetermined

7. Which of the following is not among the 4 capabilities states rated as areas where they were the least prepared

a. Economic recovery

b. Housing

c. Planning

d. Natural and cultural resources

8. Which of the following are “newly identified national areas for improvement”? (select all that apply)

a. Fatality management

b. Enhancing resilience of infrastructure systems

c. Forensics and attribution

d. Maturing the role of public private partnerships

e. Supply chain integrity and security

9. According to the 2012 state assessment of current capability, which of the 31 capabilities received the highest average capability score?

a. Public information and warning

b. Community resilience

c. Operational coordination

d. On scene security and protection

10. Which of the 31 capabilities received the lowest average score in the state assessment?

a. Interdiction and disruption

b. Mass care services

c. Cybersecurity

d. Critical transportation

11. As of 2012, agencies had to belong to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact if they wanted to receive a DHS preparedness grant

a. True

b. False

12. Applicants for Hospital Preparedness Program grants and Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants have to submit four separate grant applications to four different agencies before they are eligible to receive one of the grants.

a. True

b. False

13. FEMA’s 2012 household preparedness survey found an increase in the number of people who believe that a natural disaster was likely to occur in their community. That belief triggered a “substantial increase” in individual preparedness behaviors, such as building a disaster supply kit and making a household emergency plan.

a. Both statements are true.

b. The first statement is true; the second one is false.

c. The first statement is false; the second one is true.

d. Both statements are false.

14. In 2012, federal agencies had to include climate change adaption plans in their sustainability plans.

a. True

b. False

c. False; there is no such thing as a federal agency sustainment plan

15. Which of the following acronyms is not related to the public information and warning capability (select all that apply)


b. WEA,

c. EAS,


e. FCC

16. Which of the following acronyms do not appear in the 2013 Preparedness Report (you may select more than one)


b. RRAP,





17. Which country was not involved (according to the Preparedness Report) with helping the US improve “operational coordination in law enforcement, cargo screening, and passenger screening”.

a. Australia

b. Mexico

c. South Korea

d. Canada

e. Switzerland

f. Republic of Congo

g. Indonesia

h. European Union (a country for the purposes of this question)

18. Average time DHS said it took to conduct searches of biometric watch list data from US ports of entry and US consulates

a. One week

b. One day

c. About three hours

d. Less than a minute

e. Under 10 seconds

19. According to the Preparedness Report, the approximate number of terabytes of data processed by regional computer forensics laboratories in 2011 was

a. 400 gigabytes, less than half a terabyte

b. 4 terabytes

c. 400 terabytes

d. 4000 terabytes

e. One yottabyte

20. DHS established a maturity model that identifies the four stages through which the national fusion center network will progress “as it moves toward full capability and operational integration as a unified system.” As of February 2013, the national network was at what stage of the maturity model:

a. Stage 1 – Fundamental

b. Stage 2 – Emerging

c. Stage 3 – Enhanced

d. Stage 4 – Mature

21. As of 2011, approximately what percentage of the 1500 requests for financial transaction data from the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was “directly related to terrorism”?

a. Zero

b. 25%

c. 50%

d. 90%

22. The State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Government Coordinating Council studied critical infrastructure programs in 31 states. Approximately what percentage of the programs were able to measure the effectiveness of their critical infrastructure protection activities?

a. Zero

b. 25%

c. 50%

d. 90%

23. Approximately how many Citizen Corps Councils are in the US?

a. 56

b. 112

c. 1200

d. 2170

24. The most common natural disaster in the US is

a. Tornados

b. Wild land Fires

c. Floods

d. Crime

e. Earthquakes

25. The method most frequently used by states and local jurisdictions to enforce mandatory evacuation orders is:

a. Arrest

b. Fines

c. Removal by force

d. Mandatory evacuation orders are rarely enforced

26. Which of the following is not a part of the DoD CBRN response enterprise?

a. Command and control CBRN response elements

b. National Guard WMD civil support teams

c. National Guard CBRNE enhanced response force packages

d. Homeland response forces

e. They are all a part of the DoD CBRN response enterprise

f. There is no such thing as a DoD CBRN response enterprise

27. According to the Preparedness Report, most counties in the United States have established capabilities to provide response-level interoperable communications within one hour of an incident.

a. True

b. False

28. The Federal Highway Administration estimate of the percentage of the nation’s bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete is

a. 1%

b. 15%

c. 25%

d. More than 50%

29. According to the Preparedness Report, “Interstate mutual aid plays a limited role in augmenting the capabilities of states and territories.”

a. True

b. False

30. Each year, the Nation makes additional advances toward realizing the National Preparedness Goal and implementing the National Preparedness System through improved guidance and new partnerships involving all levels of government; private and nonprofit sectors; faith-based organizations; communities; and individuals.

a. True

b. False






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Comment by HGRATTAN

June 4, 2013 @ 6:40 am

DHS’2012 National Preparedness Report found that while many programs existed to build and sustain preparedness capabilities, measures to gauge performance quantitatively or qualitatively did not yet exist.

DHS and the Government Accountability Office found that efforts to assess regional, state, and local preparedness were unable to determine what capability gaps existed, what level of resources were needed, or how grant funding could be prioritized to close those gaps. See GAO: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-456T

DHS’2013 National Preparedness Report found that the nation progressed in enhancing areas of national strength that were identified by DHS (2012b). “However, more significant changes in capability levels and overall national preparedness will become clearer by evaluating trends across multiple years.” (p.5)

Assuming the core capabilities are the HLS preparedness paradigm, stakeholders would need 3-5 years to evalaute their effectiveness (TBD).

I sense that you are suggesting that the NPR was designed for high level policy makers.

How about a National Preparedness Report for “Dummies.” I am not saying that in the perjorative. See:
http://www.dummies.com/. I have on my shelf SPPS for Dummies, On Line Surveys for Dummies, and Office 2010 for Dummies.

See also: HLS for dummies http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/news/2007/10/11/3559/homeland-security-for-dummies/

Perhaps the next Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies should address the NPR. CRS May 2013 did not. see http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41981.pdf

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 4, 2013 @ 7:01 am

Thanks Chris for lengthy post and HGRATTAN for perceptive comments.

If memory serves me this is actually the 4th NPR issued. Three (3) are on my Vacation Lane Blog as well as PKEMRA 2006 that mandated this annual series.

Funny how they never address the actual physical and personnel assets applied to NP! How many personnel at all levels of government are involved in preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery including what training have they had what exactly is the planning basis they use for all-hazards and what funding and equipment are available 24/7 by 365!

By my count Congress has mandated in statute at least 5 times that a National Preparedness Inventory of the kind identified above be prepared.

But my further cncern is how Social Media 2.0 is being utilized nationally for the preparedness paradigm and what training and experience does the WHITE HOUSE [now the Nation’s EOC–a mistake IMO} understands its communications role and what has been done to educate the MSM in its role.

Well looking forward to Chris’ further informative posts on the NPR.

Perhaps the old axiom of journalism–who, what, where, how, and why would make a better NPR! Maybe not.

Pingback by National Preparedness Report – 2013 | Recovery Diva

June 4, 2013 @ 7:03 am

[…] blog posting that essentially is a quiz for those who have read it.  See this posting by Chris on HLSWatch, June […]

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 4, 2013 @ 7:12 am

I keep talking about a Planning Basis for Emergency Plans.For a decade in FEMA I pushed for the following capabiities [and note they numbers were based on FEMA studies and that included Civil Defense Programmatic studies that often had figures much more expansive]!

1. Plan for up to 5M homeless including all mass care needs for up to one (1) year.

2. Plan for 50K deaths and need for mortuary services.

3. Plan for 200K seriously wounded.

4. Study and plan for the nation’s whole blood and blood product supply for up to 2 years.

5. Plan for a large scale contaminated area [note that the Chenobyl reactor meltdown contaminated the equilvalent area of Botston to DC for up to 500 years.

6. Plan for the incident/event occuring in the Fourth quarter of the Federal fiscal year.

7. Plan for a substantial portion of the National Guard being deployed outside the USA.

8. Plan for multiple state involvement in the incident/event.

9. Plan for the STATES [at least one] having their governmental capability being destroyed and requiring complete rebuilding.

10. Planning for the event during a transition between Administrations.

11. Planning for the issuance of PAR’s on a wide-scale basis.

12. Plan for International aid to the USA for the incident/event!

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 4, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

When you look at Chris” outline of questions do you find it odd that FEMA is answering them in the NPR or partially answering them? As opposed to other organizations in DHS and the Executive Branch?

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 4, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

Presidential Policy Directive 8 and the National Preparedness System: Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, October 21, 2011

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 5, 2013 @ 6:30 am

Guess i am a scold! In my 20 years in FEMA that organization when reporting to the White House or OMB or Congress or the NSC would often use the terms as to status of some assigned task or report the terms “significant progress” or “substantial progress” even when NO progress had been made or worse the status of the subject of the report or assignment had actually deteroriated. Such terms became triggers for both the White House, Congress and other organizations to become concerned about FEMA. FEMA’s appointees and managers became inured to criticism from outside organizations complaints. See for example, OIG/FEMA analysis posted on the Vacation Lane Blog.

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 5, 2013 @ 11:25 am

Chris! Please identify in your answers to the outlined questions [if possible] as to the unit of DHS or Executive Branch responsible for the capability and whether system or process ow whatever to be developed, partially developed, fully operational, and fully maaintained?


Comment by bellavita

June 6, 2013 @ 7:11 am

Bill — I will post the responses Tuesday and will try to address at least the “unit of responsibility” point. Here’s what the 2013 Report says about scope:

“This report marks the second iteration of the National Preparedness Report (NPR). Required annually by Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness, the NPR summarizes progress in building, sustaining, and delivering the 31 core capabilities described in the National Preparedness Goal (“the Goal”). The NPR partially addresses several reporting requirements from the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, including the Federal Preparedness Report, State Preparedness Reports, and an evaluation of Federal preparedness and use of incident management doctrine.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 6, 2013 @ 7:39 am

To place a footnote on the record both Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and the Federal
Civil Defense Act of 1950 [Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress] placed responsibility on the President or his/her delgate [FEMA] to report periodically on the status of preparedness in the USA. With one exception under Louis O. Guiffrida, Ronald Reagan’s first Director of the almost brand new FEMA this was never done. Bureaucratic cowardice IMO!

I believe the entire series and related reports have largely failed to accuractly depict the status of preparedness in the USA with the exception of several statutorily mandated reports to Congress on the status of WMD preparedness and response which found almost no preparedness and are posted on the Vacation Lane Blog as historical markers.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Answers to 30 questions about the 2013 National Preparedness Report

June 11, 2013 @ 1:16 am

[…] are the answers (and page citations) to the quiz I posted last week.  See the end of this post for instructions on grading […]

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