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April 2011 Archives
April 05, 2011

Here in Western Washington we seem to have had the unique capability to locate our major cities over seismic fault zones.  It isn't like the pioneers who settled this place 150 years ago did it on purpose, they just didn't know.

 

Which brings me to nuclear power plants and their locations here in the United States in relationship to population centers and seismic hazards.  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has a new report out Nuclear Power Plant Sites: Maps of Seismic Hazards and Population Centers  In it there are maps that show the location of the 104 commercial nuclear power plants here in the lower 48 states.

 

There are maps that show the plants in relation to major population centers and to known seismic faults.  Emphasis on the known.  The reason I say that is that the USGS and others continue to find more earthquake faults.  In the last 23 years since I've lived in Washington State they have come up with three major surface fault systems.  So, who is to say that the map showing the faults as they exist today is totally accurate.  Might there be additional faults?  Could the seismic risks of known faults be greater than what is being estimated today--or when the nuclear plants were constructed? Remember that the Northridge Earthquake happened on an unknown fault.

 

I'm not against commercial nuclear power.  It is one of the ways we can wean ourselves from our oil dependency.  Just know the risks going in and plan accordingly.  Interestingly, people also have a tendency to located near hazards.  Its like they are magnetic or something!


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April 06, 2011

Interestingly Cheryl Bledsoe found this on Twitter and not from some "official" form of communications.  See Obama Signs Policy Directive on Preparedness

 

I have not seen the text of the document, but from the media announcement there is this quote below--which I like:

"But the Obama directive places significant emphasis on an "all-of-nation" "all-hazards" approach to disasters, fusing together the capabilities of federal, state, and local authorities to respond to crises. It refocuses government resources on mitigation-preventing catastrophes from getting worse-and resilience-how communities actively respond to and recover from a major disaster."

 

Key words there are "all-hazards" approach to disasters, emphasis on mitigation and then resilience.  These are concepts that I can buy into.  I remember when after 9/11 it was terrorism only, all the time and nothing else was getting funded or worked on.

 

We have come a long way baby!


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April 06, 2011

We are all looking for "the resource" to help us figure out how to use the new social media tools that are dominating conversations and in the future (I think) they will dominate how we do business and communicate across an entirely new spectrum of applications and tools.

 

Kim Stephens of idisaster 2.0 shared the link to the IACP Center for Social Media  It looks to me to be a great resource for figuring out how to use social media tools.   A summary on the Resources Page reads, "The IACP Center for Social Media Web site contains a host of no-cost resources and technical assistance services to help your agency create, enhance, and maintain your social media presence."

 


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April 07, 2011

Story telling is becoming a lost art.  The wisdom of generations is not being passed down from generation to generation like it once was.  Instead we sit in front of a television or computer monitor and want to be entertained.  Story telling, when done right, captures the imagination and can motivate others to become better people, or in the case of this blog posting--better prepared.

 

Todd DeGreen's story is about being on a mountain with two climbing buddies and being able to rescue two other climbers who certainly would have died if they had not come along--and been prepared.

 

This is a story of not only having the right equipment, but also the training in how to use the equipment.  Too many times we brag about having this or that available, but who is trained to use it?  Check out this short video from the Red Cross Heroes Breakfast that I attended one week ago today.  There are other stories on the same link that may inspire you.

 

The title of this blog posting is not complete.  It should really read, "Success comes when preparedness and opportunity meet."  Are you prepared?  Are you ready to be a hero to someone in need?

 

Lastly, if you have not made a donation yet to your local Red Cross why not do so today.  91 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to people in need.  It will make you feel good to be part of something bigger and it will help save lives in the future.


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April 07, 2011

I started out my day by attending a Forum on the Evolving Terrorist Threat.  It was hosted by the Washington State Military Department.  This will be the longest blog post I've ever done because it consists of all of my notes that came from listening to Mike Walker share what he has gleaned from open sources. 

 

While at times I've complained about the early years of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and how they went hard-over to only being concerned about terrorism, I do ascribe to the fact that all-hazards does include the terrorist threat which is not going away and will be with us for decades to come.  In some cases a terrorist attack could be the "maximum of maximums."

 

There is some extremely important information below.  I hope I did Mike justice by my note taking.


Forum: Evolving Terrorism Threat
April 7, 2011, Presented by
Mike Walker


The following are notes taken by Eric Holdeman:

Major General Timothy Lowenberg, Adjutant General, Washington National Guard opened the session. Washington State had an early start on the concern for terrorism. It started the Committee on Homeland Security in 2000. We established regions across the state. None of us can do it alone; we need one another when a catastrophe happens.

This is an all-hazards commitment to preparedness. The population densification and global supply change demands a "whole of community" [note this is the current FEMA speak] approach. Washington State had a state-wide strategy in place before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began asking for one. When they did ask we were in the second stage of revising the plan.

Unfortunately the acquisition of things took precedence over the planning that was needed. We are approaching the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we need to continue to become more sophisticated in how we prepare and respond to events.

About half of the time at a recent new governor's orientation was spent on public safety and the other half on the economy. We must adjust to a new reality. Now, whatever we build we must be able to sustain. The flow of money won't continue forever. The tough times are still ahead of us.

Mike Walker, native of TN, has been a congressional staffer on appropriations. He has been a presidential appointee several times. He has been with the Secretary of the Army and Deputy Director of FEMA. Today he is an active member of the Post Naval Graduate School. He is a prolific writer and deep thinker. He will be talking about the complexity and evolving nature of the human terrorist aspect of the threats we face.

There are new Homeland Security Advisors in Washington, D.C. Some come from public safety, FBI, state police backgrounds. Mike has helped with these mobile education teams.

This session is not to hype the terrorist threat, but to look at the evolving nature of the terrorist threat. Maybe we don't have it all figured out after all. As the threat evolves we need to evolve with it. What worked before, may not work in the future.

Mike Walker:

All his material is from open sources and is unclassified.

Has the terrorist threat been overblown? Are we just terrorizing ourselves? It is really media jihad? Are the Arab revolutions pointing to terrorists becoming irrelevant?

Support for suicide bombing is declining and there are some defections. There is however an unprecedented surge of terrorist activity in the USA. "The war has just begun." This is considered by some the most dangerous time since 9/11.

We face a splintered threat this is harder to detect and disrupt. To defeat the enemy we need to know how they operate.

Al Qaeda (AQ) is 22 years old. Most terrorist groups only last 5-10 years. In 1996 they declared war against the USA. Mike had to bring back the five bodies of Americans killed in terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. By 2000 Bin Laden 2000 was frustrated with what little progress was being made.  Still, all the while he was planning a Hail Mary event, the attacks of 9/11.

He wanted us to attack an Arab county and to get bogged down in Afghanistan. The Taliban was toppled in just six weeks of fighting. They thought it was the end of jihad.

The gift from god was the attack on Iraq. As a result, they were able to regroup and expand. They became an ideology. A powerful message that Islam is under attack was developed and is effective today.

Their strategy was to bleed us dry economically. Over 100 people have been arrested planning attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

They want to break our will and have us withdraw militarily and politically from the Mid-east. This will allow for an Al Qaeda Caliphate, not based on traditional Islam.

Strategy: Big operations will continue. AQ has offered a ten year moratorium on fighting the West. Goal is to get the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

AQ raises money like others, internet fundraising drives. Message, "The Caliphate is imminent and the USA is close to crumbling."

Since 9/11 we have increased our security here in the USA. We have targeted safe havens overseas. Therefore, they have started to change tactics. They are franchising to affiliates. They want to inspire homegrown terrorists in USA and the UK.

This is not a clash of civilizations. A civil war inside of Islam being lead by a handful of terrorists. Why do Muslim youth join terrorists organizations? It is not because of religious beliefs. We have young people seeking an identity. They are looking for something that is missing in their lives.

We are not at war with Muslim community, we are committed to peace in the Middle East, providing new development aid, and an end the war in Iraq.

They say that nothing has changed, just a new devil with a new face. The wars have continued. Expect that Muslims will be rounded up like the Japanese were in WWII. The West just wants our resources.

The Koran burning and the act prohibiting the building of a mosque in NYC are examples of what to expect. There was an uptick in Muslims believing the President, but the narrative and evidence has got the current polls trending down.

America is the biggest terrorist in the eyes of more and more Muslims. The drone attacks kill innocent civilians. There is a huge youth bulge, example is 2/3 of the population of Yemen for instance.

Many USA terrorists are well educated and from prominent families. People believe that our war on terror is a war on Islam. AQ has killed eight times more Muslims than Westerners. There are around 1.6B Muslims in the world. AQ is a radical Sunni organization. AQ sees Shias as also an enemy.

We have learned via Wiki Leaks that Iran and AQ are cooperating. The concept being, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

The majority of Sunni are not terrorists. They do not believe in the murder of innocents. It does not take many people to do damage.

No one is more radical than Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi. But, others are accusing him of going soft. A more radical generation of terrorists is being developed.

The next generation of leadership will be more radical than Bin Laden. Abu Ya Ya (?) is a Libyan. He is the only single leader in AQ who has had religious training. He is an excellent speaker and an effective communicator.

Even if we were to kill Bin Laden the ideology of the terrorist will continue and the threat will continue for a long time. Abu Musab al-Suri is writing the playbook for the future. He is the most dangerous man you never knew. He is in custody, but he left behind a playbook for global terrorism. You don't want a organization, you want autonomous cells. Basically, you can't stop us if we are everywhere.

Al Qaeda 3.0's down side is that these new terrorists are:

• Not very smart
• Cell builders, talent scouts or facilitators
• Establish cells then fade away.
• Leaderless jihadists.

Many are thinking that we are immune. Muslims are better integrated into our society and less susceptible to radicalization. The Census does not keep records on religion.

A PEW pole said that 7% of younger people have favorable views of terrorists. If population is 3M, then we still have a significant number of people who could be radicalized.

After the increased drone attacks, AQ shows growing interest in Home grown terrorists. This happened after the Summer of 2009. AQ in the Arabian Peninsula (AP) has the mission of recruiting homegrown terrorists in the USA. They have started publishing an English Language magazine. The editor is from Charlotte, N.C. who defected to Yemen. "I'm proud to be a traitor to America." Leaders from his mosque in NC tried an intervention three times and failed.

Anwar al Awiaki, the Pied piper of terror is an American who now operates out of Yemen. He is very active on the Internet producing DVDs and videos influencing people to become terrorists. He has played a role in at least three attacks. He is a very articulate and influential speaker. He is a danger to us here in this country. "You don't need permission to go attack Americans."

Some analysts will say that homegrown terrorists won't amount to much. Others see it differently. We should not underestimate the danger of "do-it-yourself" terrorism. Eventually they will become successful.

Senior AQ operatives are making contacts with cells here in the USA. There are Americans being trained overseas, up to 150 per year. They are looking for people with clean records and passports. "There are more out there being trained than we know about." Dozens of Americans have traveled to Somalia. One was a barber from Seattle--who was killed in Somalia.

American Suicide Bombers are being used in the Mid-east.

Recently foiled bombings give us some insights, e.g. Christmas Day Bomber. These attacks are causing them to be encouraged. More fear, tie us down, shows we can penetrate your defenses.

Revolution Muslim is an official blog. It suggested that fake operations should be planned. This will create more fear and desensitize law enforcement to the threat. Confusion is part of the larger strategy. The "printer attack" cost them $4,200 and our reaction is costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Theirs is a "strategy of a thousand cuts."

"Lone wolves should attack in the USA", is the message being given.

There were 86 terrorist attacks in the last 10 years. Half have been lone wolfs. There is less pre-operational planning, and fewer opportunities to detect. It will be more difficult to detect terrorism in the future.

The message of "if you see something, say something." is the watchword for the future. 36 terror plots were foiled from tips by Americans and the Muslim community.

The insidious nature of the threat. Former USA altar boys joining AQ in Pakistan. We seeing a broadening of the terrorist profile. The next terrorist may look more like Jack Bower than previous terrorists.

The Northern VA Five. The radicalization pace is growing and can happen very quickly. This is a disturbing new trend. The radicals understand our youth better than we do. They showed no signs of radicalization. Their Facebook page had 313 members. An allusion to the projected number who will win the final battle. They bonded over the Internet watching videos that are "jihad cool." One of the thoughts is that jihad is not terrorism. "Jihad is about righting the wrongs by the West." The radicalization of today is not spontaneous combustion.

Lure the disaffected over the Internet. On 9/11 there were 50 extremist web sites. Now there are over 7,000. However, it is not the only path to radicalization.

There are groups traveling to college campuses to do recruitment. Prisons are another place where radicalization may have happened.

We rely don't have a good idea of how to stop Americans from becoming terrorists. Mosque leaders in NC contacted law enforcement. Moderate Muslims are speaking out now, but we don't hear about it.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh has spoken against terrorism.

Meeting in Turkey last year. It was to look at and point to reinterpret the ibn taymiyya's 14th century fatwa on jihad which is the justification for jihad used by Bin Laden. "The terrorists are plain murderers." AQ responded to this by saying, "We should put them straight with our swords." There was a big reaction from the terrorists.

Some will say that Islam and democracy are not compatible. The vast majority of Muslims believe in democracy. There is an effort for Muslim leaders to speak up to say that "injustice against injustice" is not right.

Calling for the caliphate is not a crime. There are groups that are seen as "conveyer belt group" leading youth toward terrorism. American Muslims and relationship with the law enforcement is declining. The perception of this can lead to more radicalization. It is more than a law enforcement issue.

We need to stop walking on egg shells and attack the violent radical terrorist.

To defeat the enemy you have to concentrate on the enemy's "center of gravity" Clauswitz.

Need to help empower traditional Muslims to defeat the radicals from within.

What does victory look like? When is the AQ narrative defeated.
We are failing to intervene early enough in the radicalization process.

Our USA methods are currently dealing with the end of the radicalization timeline. We need to understand how people become radicalized and then what turns them violent.

Building "Trust" is the answer. We need the Muslim community to do this work. Find ways to support their efforts. There is nothing being done here in the USA. Countering Violent Extremist Narratives is not easy.

We can change the narrative by our actions worldwide. Example is the US Navy teaming with project Hope in disaster relief. Support for AQ was improved by 50% when we show our "soft power" actions.

It will not be easy. There is a Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, a subcommittee for the Homeland Security Council. Community policing is not enough. There is a new Presidential Policy coming.

When should the community intervene? After the violence, or at sometime before.

We need a national dialog on radicalization. The terrorists are counting on us to over react. The terrorists want us to "abandon our ways and abandon our values." The dialog needs to begin at the local level.

There are other terrorists. Elf, etc. Cyber war is increasing. Mexican cartel gangs are big here in the USA already.

White Supremacists are still around. After 9/11 domestic extremists dropped significantly. Now there are about 1,000 domestic supremacists groups in the USA. There is a surge of private armed militias. There were 42 in 2008 and now over 300 today.

Law enforcement has foiled 75 domestic attacks in the last 10 years. Recently here in WA State a bomb placed along the MLK parade route in Spokane, WA. The confidence in the federal government and fear of federal government is more volatile than the 1990's. All that is lacking is a spark to ignite more activity.

Al Qaeda is certain to attack. That is the message that is being given by our own intelligence officials. The message is to strike the American heartland. The goal is to strike the American economy. AQ is close to launching another strike in the USA. There could be AQ plants among the 70,000 Iraq refugees?

Bin Laden criticized for not calling Americans to Islam before the 9/11 atttack. Is this all just talk in order to get the West to spend more money to defend on multiple fronts? "Assume operatives are in the country and can attack with little or no warning."

Mumbai in America, with multiple attacks on soft targets. Focused on transportation rail and air. They do however still want to attack with WMD. Destroy the capitalist hegemony by taking the economy down.

There was a commission report that a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be used in a terrorist attack by 2013. In the book "The Exoneration" the goal is to kill 10M Americans. They continue to seek weapons grade uranium.

There have been statements that Al Qaeda has a nuclear weapon. There is "Officially" no indication that AQ has a nuke capability. The chance of them exploding a bomb in America is 1:1,000,000 The fact is that every two days there are reports of the illegal trafficking of uranium material.

Pakistani militants are joining the Pakistan government to destabilize the government. They are the fastest growing nuclear weapons inventor. The weapons are dispersed and vulnerable to hijacking. It is the "insider threat" that is the greatest one. There are abductions of nuclear workers. There are 8,000 scientists and 70,000 workers. Some of these are bound to be radicalized. Already one scientist was arrested along with 34 others.

There have been hundreds of Pakistan army officers arrested for collaborating with the terrorists. Bin Laden is probably living comfortably in a gated compound in Pakistan in the tribal area.

Pakistan is the most likely country to give nuclear secrets to terrorists. We don't know where all of Pakistan nuke weapons are.

We can hope, and continue to "muddle through" but the trends are moving in the wrong direction. Troubling poll, Pakistanis believe (59%) see the USA an enemy.

We have reason to worry and be concerned about the future for Pakistan. There have been reports of terrorist cells working on nuclear weapons. To include, "A crude low yield nuke attack is possible." Note that there is more USA guidance out there on nuclear attack response planning.

Nuke attacks are not the end of the world. We can respond and save lives. Prevention comes first. New Presidential Directive, HSPI, watch for live announcement on it on the Internet. One emphasis will be on a prevention framework.

The terrorist tactics may have changed, goals and objectives have not changed. They look at time differently than we do. They have long range goals.

So what:

• We must continue to take the war to the terrorists.
• There will be no military victory.
• This is not just the DoD and intelligence community to defeat them
• We need an engaged and aware American people

What is the probability of an attack? We know they are resilient and adaptive. They continue to train and adapt. What happens in Yemen can impact Main Street USA.

Complacency is our greatest enemy.

Question and Answer:

There are triggers that can set off world-wide events. Think about the fruit seller who set himself on fire in Indonesia that set up the movement in Egypt and now the entire Middle East in motion. AQ sees the elimination of the leaderships/regimes in countries. This will provide radicals an opening.

Radical Islamist parties may make peace in the Middle East harder to achieve.

What about Christian Fundamentalists, e.g. burning the Koran. It was not on American media. Russian media first and then on YouTube. This protected free speech is a strength and a weakness when people in other countries who don't understand our culture. They will believe that actions like the Koran burning are sanctioned by our government.

What does success look like? Fewer being arrested because fewer are being radicalized.

We need to have a dialog on radicalization that allows for a constructive debate that does not get challenged and seen as an attack like the Congressional hearing that Representative King tried to hold.

The terrorist organizations are much more adept at using social media in the pre--attack phase and as shown by the Mumbai attacks during the attack phase. We need to start using those tools.

What about the asymmetric side of the equation. It is not just nuclear, what about biological? There is more work and concern in D.C. on biological attacks than others. Bio will have a huge impact, but it doesn't have the same visual impact.

Where is the money coming from to fund attacks? There is still a great deal of money traveling from oil rich countries to terrorist organizations. It is like "summer camp" some groups are saying "bring your own weapons."

Note: when young Mike Walker was intending to become a journalist. The problem is that news is more about entertainment. The revolution in social media is taking out the newspapers and gutting newsrooms. The reporters as specialists are gone except for the largest of newspapers.

What are people doing with this information? The purpose of the talk, there is a huge and continuing budget issue. Even the DoD is going to suffer. The further away from 9/11 and NYC you get there is less concern. Without a successful attack [Fort Hood?] we are becoming complacent. Information sharing is better, but there is still an issue in Washington, D.C. They don't trust the people at the state and local levels.

We must take the war to the terrorist. We cannot leave Afghanistan. Troops will be needed there for a long time. The current approach probably won't work. We'll need a counter terrorist approach. If we don't, it will be much easier for them to come back and attack us again.

Admittedly, taking the war to the terrorist will mean that some innocent people are killed. This will continue to be a challenge to us taking direct action.

 

 

 


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April 07, 2011

See announcement below on the webcast you can watch on your computer:

 

Please join the Homeland Security Policy Institute for a discussion about Presidential Policy Directive - 8: National Preparedness, featuring Brian Kamoie, Senior Director for Preparedness Policy on the White House National Security Staff. President Barack Obama signed a new Presidential Policy Directive on National Preparedness last week and the Directive will be publicly released at this event. The new policy outlines the President's vision for strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for threats to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, pandemics, significant accidents, and catastrophic natural disasters. The Directive follows a comprehensive review of national preparedness policy and replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8) (2003) and HSPD-8 Annex I (2007).

WHEN:
Friday, April 8, 2011, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, Eastern Time Zone.

 

This is another example of the move toward preparing the national for larger scale events that are catastrophic in their size and scope.


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April 08, 2011

The Natural Hazards Observer has a cover article titled, Breaking the cycle of neglect  The topic is children and disasters.  With 75 million children in the nation, children are a significant portion of our population.

 

While we did some things in King County with schools we did not do enough.  There were school focused emergency management conferences, we handed out NOAA Weather Radios to Schools in unincorporated King County, and we partnered in other ways when the opportunity came along.  One of the issues was the sheer size.  There are over 600 schools in King County with many of them being private.  Still, when I read the linked article above it made me think of all the things we didn't do to adequately plan for children in disasters.

 

The problem is always one of resources.  However, as we do planning we can keep children in our mind as one consideration.  Evacuation, sheltering, reunification, medical care--the list goes on.  It can feel overwhelming I know!

 

My best advice is to eat the elephant one bite at a time.  Be invitational to schools and school officials.  Here is one idea!  My own city's emergency manager has the idea of making the school and its building(s) the hub of resilience in a neighborhood.   That is one way to attack the issue of schools, kids, and shelters.

 

On Wednesday morning I heard that Pierce County Washington (where I live) has been doing light search and rescue training with school staff.  They are now scheduling an exercise and drill with staff at an abandoned school that one school district made available for the training.  Another great idea!

 

Remember, your emergency management program will be what you choose to work on.


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April 09, 2011

This job working for L3 requires you to have some experience in emergency management, but if you have the degree, especially a masters you might not need as much as others.

 

I've found that people who are willing to relocate are the ones who have more opportunity in finding positions that will advance their careers.  Are you willing to move?

 

See Emergency Management Program Analyst


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April 09, 2011

What a lot of wasted effort in getting ready for a government shut down that is now "thankfully" not going to happen.  There were many things about the shut down that created unknowns concerning grants, payment for invoices, etc.  Now that looks to be behind us.

 

We still don't know at this point what will be in the bills that are going to pass the House and Senate and fund the Federal Government for the rest of the FFY11 budget year, really only less than six months at this point.  Every year is different when it comes to Homeland Security Grants and this one is no exception.  The biggest impact of it all may be the time compression to get Investment Justifications submitted quickly in order to get the process moving.  Then we'll hurry up and wait for everything to be processed at FEMA.  If nothing else we'll have the Environmental Historic Preservation (EHP) paperwork to fill out to make everyone happy and lower productivity at the state and local levels. 

 

Leading up to the most recent agreement there were plenty of bills being considered, 31 from the House Committee on Homeland Security alone.  There has been the debate on the admin percentage that has fluctuated between 3% and 5%.  One good thing is that they are talking about removing the mandates for a specific percentage to be set aside for a set program or area, e.g. 25% for IEDs.  This would be in line with the latest HPD-8 on Preparedness rewrite announced yesterday that seems aimed at providing more flexibility at the local and state levels to use grant funds to meet the risks and hazards that they have in their locale. 

 

Might it be possible that some of the HLS funds are being cut as part of the budget compromise?  This I doubt will happen.  Neither the Republicans or Democrats will want to be branded as reducing our capability as a nation--and then have an attack happen!  Per the messaging that was coming from FEMA almost a year ago, I do expect some grant streams will be combined with others.  Perhaps the Firefighter Grants will be combined with the HLSGP.  The last budget number I heard briefed were:

 

  • $3.8B for State and Local
  • $350M for EMPG
  • $1B for HLSGP
  • $13M for Citizen Corps (this is really a shame when you think of "whole community" messaging.  Give me a break!)
  • $1.57B for UASI  (no word on if there is still a push to eliminate some of the UASI cities--probably not)


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April 09, 2011

President Obama has signed a new PPD-8 replacing the old one (old language at this link) from 2003  The question always is when something like this comes out is, "So what?"  Will there really be a difference or will things only change glacially overtime...maybe.

 

I was not able to listen to or watch the webcast that was held on Friday.  The good news is that Elaine Pittman with Emergency Management Magazine was watching and wrote an article on the event New National Preparedness Presidential Policy Focuses on Capabilities

 

I like what she wrote.  More flexibility, fewer cookie cutter approaches, fewer directives that make the nation waste money because it is one person's pet project.  I remember when the "terrorism only crowd" considered an "all-hazards approach" as meaning only natural hazards.  They of course were a hazard themselves to having a balanced emergency management program in the nation.  Thankfully those days are past us -- for now.

 

You can read a copy of the new PPD-8 at this link and make up your own mind.  One new term there is "All-of-Nation" which will join "Whole of Community" as the watchwords for the Fugate tenure at FEMA.  Mom, apple pie and cherry pie is all there for us to take in and gorge ourselves on. 

 

One item in particular struck me.  The formation of a National Preparedness System.  Some would say that ICS is the National Response System (I don't agree with that).  ICS is an incident management system--in the field, orchestrating resources on scene.  It will be interesting to see how this is all rolled out.  Once again the Feds are saying all this will be coordinated with the appropriate parties.  In this case I believe them.  The last administration lost all credibility for how they asked for opinions and then ignored the feedback they got.  My hope springs eternal!

 

Interestingly, a well known emergency manager who is now a consultant, and I were talking a few months back.  I told him that the HLS money was starting to dry up and consulting opportunities were starting to dwindle.  He remarked that in his time in the emergency management business there is always something that comes along that re-energizes the system and creates new work opportunities.  9/11 and Katrina were examples of what he was talking about.  I won't put PDD-8 up at that level, but is the start of something new that will need to trickle down to the states and local jurisdictions. 

 

All you consultants out there should start thinking about how you will spin your "all-of-nation and whole community" experience qualifications into a bunch of new proposals to RFPs that are sure to come.

 


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