Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 15, 2015

Sausage-making, delivery, consumption

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Private Sector,Recovery,Resilience,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on October 15, 2015


Presidential Policy Directive 8 is one of several tools designed to actuate the President’s constitutional authority under Article II.

PPD-8 sets-up the National Preparedness Goal, a second edition of which was released last week.  Acts of Congress might have been used to justify the Goal.  From PPD-8: “The national preparedness goal shall reflect the policy direction outlined in the National Security Strategy… applicable Presidential Policy Directives, Homeland Security Presidential Directives, National Security Presidential Directives, and national strategies, as well as guidance from the Interagency Policy Committee process. The goal shall be reviewed regularly to evaluate consistency with these policies, evolving conditions, and the National Incident Management System.” Absence is often meaningful.  The Goal, for better or worse, is a creature of the Executive.

Whether the legislature, executive, or both are involved, the creation of of such products is aptly called sausage-making: usually involving left-over scraps and fat, ground together, combined with spices and herbs, packed into something that tastes much better together than apart.

But making is only the first step.  An example:  In the 2011 first edition of the National Preparedness Goal there is one mention of supply chains:

Supply Chain Integrity and Security: Strengthen the security and resilience of the supply chain. 1. Secure and make resilient key nodes, methods of transport between nodes, and materials in transit.

This was one of many core capabilities listed.  This particular core capability was situated under the so-called “Protection Mission”. Protecting supply chains tends to invoke a security-orientation much more than a resilience-orientation.  It was a struggle to insert “and make resilient”.  Over the last four years I have applied these few words like a beachhead at Normandy (it sometimes felt like Gallipoli).

Later in the same 2011 document, under the Response Mission, is another core capability worded as:

Public and Private Services and Resources: Provide essential public and private services and resources to the affected population and surrounding communities, to include emergency power to critical facilities, fuel support for emergency responders, and access to community staples (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks) and fire and other first response services. 1. Mobilize and deliver governmental, nongovernmental, and private sector resources within and outside of the affected area to save lives, sustain lives, meet basic human needs, stabilize the incident, and transition to recovery, to include moving and delivering resources and services to meet the needs of disaster survivors. 2. Enhance public and private resource and services support for an affected area.

Supply chain resilience has become the weird personal mission of my sundown career. The words immediately above, despite their likely intent, complicated mission achievement.  When combined with the Protection mission language, the Response mission language could even encourage non-resilient choices.

In the second edition of the National Preparedness Goal released last week the capability under Protection remains the same.  The capability under Response now reads:

Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Deliver essential commodities, equipment, and services in support of impacted communities and survivors, to include emergency power and fuel support, as well as the coordination of access to community staples. Synchronize logistics capabilities and enable the restoration of impacted supply chains. 1. Mobilize and deliver governmental, nongovernmental, and private sector resources to save lives, sustain lives, meet basic human needs, stabilize the incident, and transition to recovery, to include moving and delivering resources and services to meet the needs of disaster survivors. 2. Enhance public and private resource and services support for an affected area.

My professional menu just evolved from boiled hot dogs to grilled kielbasa. And I will spend the next months, even years, trying to deliver this kielbasa as widely as possible.  Making is only worthwhile when a product is delivered and consumed.

The 2011 hot dogs were better than nothing.  But there is now a substance and flavor better matched to market realities and consumer needs.  I expect this kielbasa will be consumed much more widely and enthusiastically than those hot dogs.

Supply chain issues are equally important to mitigation. Plenty of sausage-making still ahead. I am a great fan of Merguez sausage (especially made with lamb).  It is a bloody, sticky, messy process.  But results can fill and satisfy.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn


Comment by William R. Cumming

October 15, 2015 @ 3:01 am


Comment by William R. Cumming

October 15, 2015 @ 3:21 am

PPD-8 a chimera?

Chimera (mythology)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greek: ???????, Chímaira) was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake’s head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 15, 2015 @ 4:24 am

Bill: In my experience most policy/strategy emerges with a strong resemblance to a Chimera: goat, lion, snake and too often parts of pig and rat. Then it depends on how the various communities involved in crafting the policy/strategy introduce it to society. Many are still-born. Still others barely survive a year. Those that come to matter usually have attentive caretakers in several different places (public, civic, private) and are reasonably well-fed (funded, not necessarily via taxes). Breathing fire only comes with some maturity.

Comment by Quin

October 15, 2015 @ 8:12 am

Actually the National Preparedness Goal is required by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act. See 6 USC 743. But it wouldn’t be good form to give Congress credit for that. I’ve always found it kind of funny, actually, to the lengths people go to, to avoid talking about the actual requirements for the NPG and other PKEMRA requirements. Must be a beltway thing.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 15, 2015 @ 8:17 am

Quin: Thanks.I should have been explicit regarding the PKEMRA connection. But your second and third sentences make the point I was trying to communicate.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 15, 2015 @ 8:58 am

Thanks Phil and Quinn! My understanding is GAO doing a comprehensive workup on PKEMRA 2006 compliance now. And not just FEMA tasked by that statute.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 15, 2015 @ 8:59 am

Did anyone else note Webb’s emphasis on cyber as NS threat?

Did anyone else see this week’s NOVA on PBS?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 15, 2015 @ 1:59 pm

Phil, I have to say that I could not disagree more with your statement that: “Supply chain issues are equally important to mitigation.” In fact, I was fairly baffled by it, because the lack of credible basis for it seems so clear to me.

But I also just wanted to pose to you what is always my fundamental, touchstone question for any policy position or directive, which is why do I, as Jane Q citizen, give a crap about the above change in language that you just highlighted in the NPG? What greater public value is it supposed to offer me, or anyone, on the ground and in the real world – especially given the mountain of critical research and analysis of the west’s market-based recovery framework, that has been so widely panned, and has next to nothing sustainably positive to show for itself from an even remotely whole-community perspective. In fact, our standard market-centric approach to recovery is a fairly good if not textbook model for increasing social vulnerability overall to future disasters, as it almost always does (I’m willing to allow for some exception here, but I’ve certainly can’t think of any).

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 15, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

Also, forgive me if I’m just being really dense, but when you say:

“The words immediately above, despite their likely intent, complicated mission achievement. When combined with the Protection mission language, the Response mission language could even encourage non-resilient choices.”

I have absolutely no idea what you’re referring to or talking about – and I bet I’m not alone (but who knows, maybe I am). It would be great if you could enlighten us…

Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 15, 2015 @ 4:59 pm


First an attempt to address the “give a crap” criterion and then a quick effort at clarification of text.

The policy/strategy context is disaster preparedness/response and really catastrophe preparedness/response. The problem-case is something much worse than Sandy, probably worse than Katrina: a CAT-5 barreling through Houston or Miami, major shift of the San Andreas, New Madrid awakening, Cascadia sliding… that sort of thing. Then relevance is a function of how you are currently supplied with water, food, pharma, medical goods, fuel… and where you live. If you live in a dense urban area you will tend to be especially dependent on supply chains for basic commodities. Especially if you live in a dense urban area the only sources of supply that have the capacity to meet the demand of major population concentrations the days after a Big Event are basically the sources who were supplying the day before the event. There is no credible source of replacement capacity. (Others play an important role in gap-filling and various special needs, but do not have the capacity to assume full responsibility.) The challenge then is restoring (and often redirecting)supply chains before thousands die. This has not been the focus of prior policy/strategy. If the Big Event happens tomorrow, thousands will die. Given the current incremental process of shifting policy, perhaps in five years thousands will not die.

I regret the paragraph you cite is indecipherable. Hope this helps:The original language (not underlined) was often taken to mean that resources needed to be sufficient to support First Responders and the initial response. I don’t think that was the intent or the only possible meaning of the language. But that was often the way it was read. This constrained thinking, planning, preparedness. The new language (underlined) is much more likely to focus attention on how all survivors can be well-served… and points to the crucial role of supply chains and logistics in getting this done (see supra).

Got to run to a dinner. But hope this helps and does not further confuse. Thanks.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 21, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

Phil, thanks for your quick response, which was quite clarifying. I apologize for not responding sooner. I’ve actually been dragging my feet about it, because the truth is – all evidence to the contrary – I really don’t enjoy disagreeing with you so much, really I don’t – and I am, once again, in fundamental disagreement (or at least that’s how it feels). First, I was glad you posted about the new, 2nd ed, “National Preparedness Goal” as its so awkwardly titled. I wasn’t aware it had been released, and I have to confess that, based on my responses to the second, I”m not actually sure I’d even read the first one from start to finish.

But, thanks to you, I have now read the second, from start to finish, and its no exaggeration to say that it literally left me sitting at my desk with my head in my hand. It honestly did. I don’t know that I’ve read anything else that so succinctly illustrates the slow-motion gutting of Emergency Management by the HLS establishment that has unfolded over the last decade as the NPG does. I would argue that any confusion that has flown from it has more to do with the incoherent, convoluted, deeply fragmented and utterly unfocused overall conceptual nature of the document itself, rather than the linguistic minutiae that you’ve highlighted – however much changes in such might positively effect the trajectory of your individual work or career. It also, at core, reflects such a fundamentally militaristic mindset that it truly just took my breath away. No wonder FEMA staff are increasingly just an extension of the military, or that, according to you, people are actually confused about what and who supply chain logistics are actually in service of, etc. I assure you that is a level and kind of confusion that was not meaningfully occurring before what I call the hostage takeover of EM by HLS. I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t. it is also no wonder that, as someone said recently here, state and local EM staff attitudes can be summed up by the “just tell us what we have to do to get the money” mentality, if this is the kind of total “eyes-off-the-prize” nonsense that they’re being constantly bombarded with by DHS.

But what the document illustrates best is the extent to which the forced integration of EM into HLS and the frameworks that flow from that culture and far more authoritarian, militaristic, top-down mindset and values (rather than the integration of appropriate components of terrorism defense (to be distinguished from counterterrorism per se) into the far more well developed all-hazards EM framework that was argued for by EMers) really does produce both a conceptual and bureaucratic animal that simply does not, and should not, appear in nature.

And I would certainly argue, regrettably but firmly, that your blythe statement that supply chain logistics and management was as important as mitigation is also a good example of that takeover and mutant results. There is not the slightest equivalency or comparison between the two, Phil, especially along the lines of their potential for saving lives. Poor supply chain management did not leave thousands drowning in New Orleans, or slowly dying without food and water or medicines afterward either one – improperly constructed levies (i.e., badly implemented mitigation) is what killed, and could’ve saved almost everyone who died during Katrina (and the few that died of lack of basic supplies most certainly should not have, but they did so because of both a failed and fundamentally security-oriented rather than humanitarian relief effort was mounted, not because of bad supply logistics). Appropriate mitigation strategies, both structural and non-structural, properly designed and implemented, is not only where you can both save the overwhelming majority of disaster deaths in this country, but where you can offer prevent the disaster altogether. No amount of great supply chain management can accomplish that, no matter what kind of fantastical movie screenplay mega-catastrophe you’re attempting to conjure. And I find your figures about how thousands would die, languishing away with out food, water, heat or whatever (which takes quite a while actually in most instances) if such an event happened now equally incredulous, and would love to know what models they’re based on, because it doesn’t sound like how even the largest disasters would unfold currently in the U.S. – no matter how bad our response afterward could quite possibly be (especially under the current framework, for sure).

I’m in no way saying better versus worse supply chain management isn’t important, or doesn’t potentially save some lives because it can and sometimes does, but that’s mostly in relation to the most vulnerable populations generally, and those with various medical needs in particular – which American EM has been notoriously bad at planning for and responding properly to since its inception. And whatever those numbers can, have or should be – and they indeed matter in absolutely every instance – they are absolutely dwarfed by the potential for lives lost or saved by proper mitigation, whether it be earthquake, flood, fire, hurricane, tsunami – or whatever flavor of disaster we’re discussing, due to the direct impacts of a hazardous event.

That is why Mitigation, with all its many and far more powerful strategic options and components, was emphasized as the cornerstone of the real world of professional emergency management, and chosen as one of the major phases and functions of EM – not supply chain logistics. It is my impression that most of the seemingly small community surrounding this blog really doesn’t care very much about any of this – and the fact that in the fairly long list of Categories in the right-hand column of this blog we have every kind of topic or subject imaginable, including such things as “stray dog attack” – but not a word about mitigation really does say it all. I would only say in response to this beyond glaring omission that if saving “thousands of lives” really does matter to anyone here – that omission and glaring lack of appropriate orientation, whether it be about disasters or terrorism, really does need to change.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 21, 2015 @ 7:40 pm

Vicki: Thanks. At this point anything that we write to each other here is likely to be lost to the rest of the world… and it strikes me as a discussion that could benefit from the potential involvement of others. So, what I will do is look for some future opportunity to renew the conversation on the “front page”, link back to this exchange, and see where that might go.

I will note that I did not intend my original post to suggest that supply chain management is of equal importance to mitigation. I wrote, “Supply chain issues are equally important to mitigation. Plenty of sausage-making still ahead.” I think you read me to say supply chain issues are as important as mitigation. Rather I was wanting to suggest that supply chain issues can also play an important role in mitigation (and are not yet explicit to that mission).

I agree with you that mitigation is a higher-order strategic issue than any aspect of supply chain resilience alone.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

October 21, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

Thanks, Phil. Again, I apologize for responding so late. I have a chronic problem with that on this blog – if I respond at all. I’ll try to do better.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>