Increasingly, I am supportive of the notion that emergency management is not a contrived subject or profession but in fact underlies much of organizational process that leads to various forms of governance.
I’m not sure if I accept this notion, but it is a big idea. However, I do think his opinion on the use of the military in most other nations for emergency management responsibilities is an important insight.
Well in my opinion, emergency management is the worst form of organizational response to crisis management and resilience (that includes elements of preparedness, planning, prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery) except all others. What alternative choices are there?
One big one is a military command and control system that actually can prevent effective collaboration and cooperation, whether among individuals, NGOs, governments or other spontaneously developing post-disaster organizations. Since more than 90 percent of the nation-states have vested their EM function in their military, organizationally designed to inflict maximum organized violence on some other group or nation-state, I find that this approach is largely vested in a leadership’s desire for control and resurrecting the status quo ante. These factors are not absent from emergency management but seem more likely not to dominate when the civil sector is dominate.
He goes on to provide five building blocks for emergency management going forward. Please see Holdeman’s blog for the full text as it is well worth your time to read. It is also worth pointing out here his summary:
In summary, perhaps the system of emergency management must promote collaboration and cooperation so that the system is supportive of the best resilience. And while individual brilliance will from time to time appear and needs to be utilized, systems and processes must reflect the collective wisdom of those involved with the emergency management process in any crisis or disaster.
What I like here is the focus on process and system. Often, at least it seems to me, leadership development and education is held up as the holy grail of homeland security development. I believe Bill is pointing out that while when you get exceptional, or even adequate, leadership good things follow but the most important thing is to develop an overall system within which best practices are developed, shared, and implemented.