Over the last decade, a tremendous body of knowledge and experience has evolved and enhanced the design of the National Homeland Security Strategy (2007) and corresponding policies. During the last 12 months alone (March 2011–March 2012), the federal government released: Presidential Policy Directive 8–National Preparedness (PPD 8); the National Preparedness Goal; the National Preparedness System (NPS); the National Disaster Response Framework (NDRF); the Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030: Forging Strategic Action in an Age of Uncertainty; the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security; and many other sector-specific policies and programs. With the release of so many new policies in such a short timeframe, non-federal agencies and companies muddling through a fiscal crisis with reduced staffs are barely managing to keep up. A sense of confusion is building.
What impacts have these emerging federal policies had on the converging state, local and private sector efforts functioning in public-private partnerships? Mostly they are positive. There are significant opportunities to achieve greater integration and unity of purpose around a more intelligent, risk-informed approach. Achieving and sustaining national resilience is still the goal. The policies outlined in NPS and the other strategies are similar to their precursors, though with newer emphases on preparedness, resilience and understating of other functions such as mitigation, risk and consequence management. Rest assured that risk management is the architecture for resilience. Resilience is the mechanics for the convergence of security, safety, sustainability, defense, conservation and emergency management at the infrastructure, community, regional, state and national levels.
Enhanced resilience is an outcome of effective risk management. However, we, as a nation, have yet to define acceptable levels of resilience for all sectors and enterprises—a critical first step required to guide the application of risk management practices to the range of potential hazards. PPD 8 establishes an umbrella aimed at increasing our level of preparedness for all types of disasters by connecting national frameworks for prevention, protection, mitigation, response and, ultimately, recovery.
While the National Preparedness Goal and NPS include the need for standardized and comparable risk/resilience assessments of infrastructure, communities and regions, its hierarchical framework inherently marginalizes risk analysis and mitigation strategies. In addition to its efforts in linking National frameworks together, PPD 8 should also provide the foundation for communities, businesses and individuals to build on in their Regional Disaster Resilience Action Plans.
Preparedness depends upon Domain and Situational Awareness. The infrastructure of lifeline systems needed to ensure individuals and families have access to food, water, medical services, money and shelter throughout a disaster are nearing the end of their life cycles. In order to effectively address this we need to optimize capabilities and operations of the lifeline infrastructure portfolio. Additionally, we must educate design and construction principles for new and more resilient lifeline infrastructure. We also need to support regional and community decision-making processes, and adapt financial portfolio management techniques to regional infrastructure portfolio investment processes. Likewise, it is critical that we address the challenge of liability issues impeding companies and agencies from moving toward resilience strategies to manage risks. Lastly, unlike the water and wastewater sector, there are few standards and measures to assess resilience. We need to work with the standards organizations to develop standards and measures to assess infrastructure, community and regional resilience.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, TISP will focus on many of these issues. In the coming months we will e-mail several announcements regarding TISP Workshops and Task Groups focused on the topic of resilience of infrastructures and systems sustaining communities and regions—such as Locks, Dams and Levees; Public Health and Healthcare; and Energy and Fuels. Pay close attention to Resilience Today, and make sure your partners are subscribed to the newsletter and the TISP LinkedIn Group.
To learn more on how the new policies will impact infrastructure and resilience:
1. Read and implement the 2011 edition of the TISP Regional Disaster Resilience Guide. It can be found on the TISP Homepage at www.tisp.org. Join the Regional and Infrastructure Disaster Resilience Task Force to develop of the Infrastructure Resilience Primer, written for senior executives in the public and private sector. You may order printed copies of the RDR Guide for $25 or download a free PDF version. 2. Review and use the Community and Regional Resilience Institute’s Community Resilience System, a toolkit for community public-private partnerships to assess their resilience capability and develop a plan to become even more effective. Go to www.resilientus.org.
3. Read FEMA’s A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action, published in December 2011 with support of RAND.