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Appendix A – Recommendations

1. National Preparedness

(Recommendations 1 – 21)

2. Integrated Use of Military Capabilities

(Recommendations 22 – 32)

3. Communications

(Recommendations 33 – 37)

4. Logistics and Evacuation

(Recommendations 38 – 43)

5. Search and Rescue

(Recommendations 44 – 48)

6. Public Safety and Security

(Recommendations 49 – 56)

7. Public Health and Medical Support

(Recommendations 57 – 62)

8. Human Services

(Recommendations 63 – 67)

9. Mass Care and Housing

(Recommendations 68 – 72)

10. Public Communications

(Recommendations 73 – 77)

11. Critical Infrastructure and Impact Assessment

(Recommendations 78 – 85)

12. Environmental Hazards and Debris Removal

(Recommendations 86 – 88)

13. Foreign Assistance

(Recommendations 89 – 97)

14. Non-Governmental Aid

(Recommendations 98 – 103)

15. Training, Exercises, and Lessons Learned

(Recommendations 104 – 111)

16. Homeland Security Professional Development and Education

(Recommendations 112 – 118)

17. Citizen and Community Preparedness

(Recommendations 119 – 125)

Critical Challenge: National Preparedness

Lesson Learned: The Federal government should work with its homeland security partners in revising existing plans, ensuring a functional operational structure—including within regions—and establishing a clear, accountable process for all National preparedness efforts. In doing so, the Federal government must:

  • Ensure that Executive Branch agencies are organized, trained, and equipped to perform their response roles.

  • Finalize and implement the National Preparedness Goal.


National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System

  1. DHS should establish an interagency team of senior planners with appropriate emergency management experience to conduct a comprehensive, 90-day review of the NRP and the NIMS. One of the main goals of this review will be to provide a cross-walk between the NIMS and the NRP to ensure that the two plans are properly integrated and clearly explained. Using feedback and lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina response, including addressing relevant recommendations from the Katrina Lessons Learned Review Group, the interagency group led by DHS and overseen by HSC will develop findings and recommendations for changes to the NRP and request detailed comments and feedback from all agencies. Before changes are finalized, the group will test the recommended changes through tabletop exercises to ensure the suggested changes are clear and improve the NRP. Revisions should include the development and promulgation of guidance on the purpose and procedures for declaring Incidents of National Significance and the development of a streamlined, standardized mission assignment process and clearly delineate the consequences of an INS declaration. A second, independent group of subject-matter experts from across the State and local emergency response and homeland security community and the private sector should then review and validate the group’s recommendations. Following the completion of the 90 day review, the recommended modifications to the NRP will be expeditiously reviewed through the HSC interagency policy process.

    1. Revise the NRP to address situations that render State and local governments incapable of an effective response. The NRP does not adequately anticipate that the Federal government may need to temporarily assume some inherently State and local responsibilities and augment State and local incident command staff during a catastrophic incident. The Federal government should develop plans to build and temporarily command the ICS until the local or State authorities are able to recover from the initial impact of the catastrophic incident and perform their roles under ICS. These plans should utilize any available State or local assets that may remain operational and necessarily require collaborative planning between Federal, State, and local authorities. These revisions should also be incorporated into the NRP-CIA and CIS. This effort should be part of the 90 day interagency review effort.

    2. Realign ESFs to NIMS structure. Although the NRP base plan was predicated on the NIMS incident command system, the Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) were taken from the old Federal Response Plan and were not adequately realigned to fit within the NIMS structure. The ESFs should be realigned to fit within the NIMS structure to ensure coordination and efficiency. Rather than having each ESF function independently undertaking common functions (i.e., operations, planning, logistics, finance/administration), the ESF structure should be realigned to separate operational elements from common support requirements.

    3. Require agencies to develop integrated operational plans, procedures and capabilities for their support to the base NRP and all ESFs and Support Annexes. The NRP required each ESF primary agency to “develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) and notification protocols.” Each primary department or agency for each ESF and support annex should develop a detailed operations plan on how they will become operational and coordinate with other annexes and ESFs during a major incident. These operational plans should conform to NIMS and be consistent with the recommended reconfiguration of the ESF structure. These plans should be exercised yearly through either National, departmental, or agency exercises. It should be recognized that these plans will take time to create and will need to be developed in collaboration with State and local officials.

    4. All Federal departments and agencies should align their response structures to NIMS. In accordance with this alignment, the entire Federal response structure should be NIMS based, reporting through one unified command using the same terminology and basic organizational structure. Although ICS is a field command structure, developing an understanding of the ICS at all levels will eliminate confusion, standardize operations throughout the government, and limit unnecessary interference with field command. DHS should lead a review of all Federal department and agency response operations plans to guarantee conformance with NIMS and the NRP, from response teams to command post operations.

      1. DHS should establish performance measures and metrics to allow an objective assessment of NRP and NIMS implementation status for all departments and agencies, and state and local governments.

      2. After the establishment of the performance metrics, all departments and agencies will report to the President through the Homeland Security Council (HSC) within 60 days on all NRP/NIMS implementation efforts to date and on whether they have met the guidance goals established in HSPD-5. The HSC will assess the progress of NIMS implementation for each department and agency.

      3. To ensure that State and local governments fully implement NIMS requirements to be eligible for Homeland Security Grant Program funding in fiscal year 2007 and thereafter, DHS should formally review all NIMS compliance certifications through a peer review process, in addition to a self-certification process. The peer review process should: (1) verify the satisfaction of training, planning, exercising, and other NIMS metrics; and (2) promote the sharing of lessons learned and best practices for institutionalizing the NIMS.

  2. DHS should institute a formal training program on the NIMS and NRP for all department and agency personnel with incident management responsibilities. The key to the implementation of ICS is training. All departments and agencies should undertake an aggressive ICS training program for all personnel who may deploy during a disaster. It is essential that personnel have a working knowledge of ICS before a disaster occurs. Adequate training will be a component of the NRP/NIMS assessment. In order to effectively implement the NRP and NIMS, senior officials at departments and agencies must also be familiar with the requirements for their ESF roles, increased participation for specific scenarios, how to request and assign assets, how to work within a JFO structure, and the level of representation and participation coordinating entities require. DHS should therefore develop and deliver detailed briefings and instructions on the NIMS and NRP to all relevant Federal decision-makers including each Cabinet Secretary and their emergency response staff. Additionally, DHS should develop and deliver similar briefings and instructions tailored to relevant state and local decision makers, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations.

  3. DHS should lead an interagency effort to develop and resource a deliberative, integrated and Federal planning and execution system to meet the requirements of the revised NRP. Departments and agencies should have both personnel and funds to be able to train, exercise, plan and detail staff to disaster response activities to enable better execution of their roles and responsibilities. Specific contingency plans must be integrated so that capabilities and gaps are identified and addressed.

    Departments and agencies should develop and resource “Force Packages” of rapidly deployable operational capabilities that meet the re-organized ESF requirements within 90 days of completing the revised NRP.

The Department of Homeland Security: A Regional Structure for Preparedness

  1. DHS should develop and implement Homeland Security Regions that are fully staffed, trained, and equipped to manage and coordinate all preparedness activities and any emergency that may require a substantial Federal response. Homeland Security Regions should be created and each region should be staffed with a preparedness group populated by subject matter experts from across the Federal government. Special consideration should be given to developing a separate National Capital Region due to the unique requirements associated with enduring constitutional government. The group’s goal within each region should be to prepare for disasters, conduct training, coordinate and integrate planning, measure capability and preparedness, and respond to a disaster if one occurs. The group should also help to ensure that Federal spending in the region is spent to bolster capabilities as outlined in the National Preparedness Goal. The size of the preparedness group should be determined by the size of the region, propensity of the region to experience a natural disaster or terrorist attack, risks within the region and general State and local preparedness measured against the National Preparedness Goal.

  2. Each Regional Director should have significant expertise and experience, core competency in emergency preparedness and incident management, and demonstrated leadership ability. The Regional Director should have full situational awareness of all events, risks, and response capabilities within the region. When an event occurs in the region, the Regional Director should be ready to become the PFO and should coordinate or direct as appropriate the Federal response assets deployed within the operational area. The Regional Director as PFO should establish and direct the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC). These Regional Directors will comprise the professional PFO cadre and receive initial and on-going PFO training.

  3. The PFO should have the authority to execute responsibilities and coordinate Federal response assets. The PFO should have the same authority as an FCO to manage and coordinate the Federal response to a disaster. The PFO should have the authority to make any operational decisions necessary, within the law, without having to obtain approval from headquarters. Giving the PFO this authority could be accomplished without a change to the Stafford Act by simply designating the PFO as an FCO. Alternatively, the Secretary of Homeland Security or the FEMA Director could delegate their authority to oversee FCO to the PFO. This action does not require demoting FCO’s within a particular region to Deputy FCOs. The FCO will retain all current authorities under the Stafford Act and will report through the PFO. An incident covering multiple states will require multiple FCOs operating concurrently under the command of the PFO.

  4. Each Homeland Security Region must be able to establish a self-sufficient, initial JFO anywhere within the region. The rapid establishment of a JFO is the keystone to effective Federal emergency response. It is critical that each Region have the resources, equipment, and personnel to establish a JFO after a major disaster. This JFO should be built using available State, local, and/or National Guard infrastructure. It should also be built in such a way that Federal officials can collaborate with their State and local counterparts and thereby better complement their response operations. The JFO must also be completely self-sufficient, with food, water, power, communications equipment, and housing for personnel, to enable deployment to areas where critical infrastructure are damaged or destroyed. To the extent possible for an anticipated event, the organization of the JFO should begin before the event. For a no-notice event, each region should have the ability to establish an initial JFO within 12 hours. To assist in this effort, each region should pre-identify JFO locations in areas with large populations. The ability to establish a JFO after a major disaster directly enhances the Federal government’s ability to maintain continuity of operations (COOP). Each regional JFO should also identify and conduct exercises at their respective COOP sites.

  5. Each region must be able to establish and resource rapidly deployable, self-sustaining incident management teams (IMT) to execute the functions of the JFO and subordinate area commands that are specified in the NRP and NIMS. The regional headquarters should create IMT’s that can rapidly respond to a disaster with robust, deployable communication packages and assist in establishing the command and control structures required in NIMS and the NRP. IMTs should be composed of experts in ICS who can establish a command for the Federal response to connect with State and local response structures during disasters and large scale events. IMTs should maintain certification in all levels of ICS for each ICS command element.

  6. DHS should establish several strategic-level, standby, rapidly deployable interagency task forces capable of managing the national response for catastrophic incidents that span more than one Homeland Security Region. These Joint Interagency Headquarters should be led by a senior official from a pre-designated pool of individuals with significant emergency management experience and assessed as capable of serving as the PFO for a catastrophic incident. Standard operating procedures, requisite billet structure, and training requirements for the coordination of Federal support to multiple Joint Field Offices should be developed. When stood up to support the National response to a catastrophic incident, the Joint Interagency Headquarters should be manned by an experienced incident management staff drawn from a pool of pre-designated and trained interagency personnel, and supported with dedicated communications and transportation assets capable of self-deploying in any environment.

Incident Management Organization and Capabilities at the Federal Level

  1. Integrate and synchronize the preparedness functions within the Department of Homeland Security. The recently established DHS Preparedness Directorate resulting from Secretary Chertoff’s review of the Department’s core policies, operations and structure should be fully implemented. To expand upon this initiative, DHS should integrate and synchronize the preparedness functions with the response, recovery and operational support activities currently located elsewhere in the department. Specifically, DHS should consider adding an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Programs and an Assistant Secretary for Operational Plans, Training and Exercises, and an Executive Director for Public and Citizen Preparedness to the Undersecretary of Preparedness’ senior staff, which currently includes Assistant Secretaries for Grants and Training, Infrastructure Protection and Cyber & Telecommunications, plus the Chief Medical Officer, Fire Administrator, the Office of State and Local Coordination and the National Capital Region Director. This adjustment to the DHS headquarters will integrate all the preparedness functions of the Department and preserves FEMA as an independent operating agency to perform their response and recovery mission. There should be no artificial, functional, or geographic divide between the components of the Preparedness Directorate. The Undersecretary for Preparedness along with the FEMA Director should serve as the senior advisers to the Secretary on all matters related to the Federal response during an incident.

  2. DHS should establish a permanent standing planning/operations staff housed within the National Operations Center (see recommendation #15). This body would evaluate the integration of Federal department and agency plans to ensure they align with resource availability. This group would replace the IIMG and be charged with coordinating national-level support to a region or multiple regions during a catastrophe, and staff interagency operational and policy decisions raised to the Disaster Response Group (see recommendation #19). The permanent group would be staffed by the interagency at the GS-15/0-6 level and comprise individuals with significant planning, preparedness, and response experience.

  3. All departments and agencies should develop emergency response plans and a response capability. Many departments and agencies that traditionally do not have emergency response missions or roles assisted in the Hurricane Katrina response. To perform more effectively in future disasters, all Federal departments and agencies should develop emergency plans and possess the ability to operate in an emergency situation. Departments and agencies should coordinate and integrate their response planning efforts with those of other Federal agencies. DHS should be responsible for providing logistical support to these agency response teams in the field to avoid unnecessary duplication and expense of every Federal agency purchasing emergency response equipment for catastrophic incidents. Many Federal agencies will not have to respond to an emergency unless it is a catastrophic event.

  4. A unified departmental external affairs office should be created within DHS that combines legislative affairs, intergovernmental affairs, and public affairs as a critical component of the preparedness and response cycle. DHS should create an Under Secretary for External Affairs fully staffed and capable of performing the roles of legislative, intergovernmental, and public affairs. DHS already has an Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and an Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. Therefore, an Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs should be created. The DHS Regions should mirror this organizational structure and staff an external affairs function including intergovernmental affairs staff to better communicate with State and local officials before, during, and after disaster response. DHS should revise the NRP to include a deployable intergovernmental affairs surge capacity under ESF-15. The ESF-15 should be lead by the DHS Assistant Secretary of External Affairs.

  5. HSC should lead an interagency review to update or modify as necessary Executive Order 12656, dealing with updated national security emergency preparedness policies and strategies to ensure that continuity planning is expanded to include all hazards. This order directs the head of each Federal department and agency to “assist State, local, and private sector entities in developing plans for mitigating the effects of National security emergencies and for providing services that are essential to a National response” (Sec. 201 (9)). DHS should implement the order through an aggressive program designed to assist State and local governments in developing continuity of operations (COOP) plans. The order states that the Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible to “guide and assist State and local governments and private sector organizations in achieving preparedness for National security emergencies, including development of plans and procedures for assuring continuity of government, and support planning for prompt and coordinated Federal assistance to States and localities in responding to National security emergencies.” Investments in planning may be funded through Federal homeland security grants in conformance with the National Preparedness Goal. All Federal Agencies must have COOP plans at the headquarters, regional, and local level and should follow the guidance set forth in Federal Preparedness Circular 65 (FPC65) Federal Executive Branch Continuity of Operations (COOP), June 15, 2004.

  6. Establish a National Operations Center to coordinate the National response and provide situational awareness and a common operating picture for the entire Federal government. This interagency center will allow for National-level coordination of Federal/State/local response to major domestic incidents. This center will combine, co-locate, and replace the situational awareness mission of the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), the operational mission of the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and the role of the IIMG, and be staffed with full time detailed employees assigned to a planning cell from relevant departments and agencies. Staffed and managed by interagency officials, it will also provide situational awareness and a common operating picture on a real-time basis during a domestic emergency for the White House and all agencies. All department and agency command centers will provide information to the National Operations Center (NOC), which will develop a National common operating picture capable of being exported to the White House Situation Room and other Federal operations centers as necessary. The National Operations Center should be located and designed to meet the requirements of Enduring Constitutional Government. DHS will serve as the Executive Agent for the NOC and it will function as a true interagency command center.

  7. Establish a National Information and Knowledge Management System. Departments and agencies, working with the NOC and the Program Manager for Information Sharing, should develop a national system of information management to provide a common operating picture which allows for the processing and timely provisioning of interagency information sources (e.g. DOD National Military Command System, National Counterterrorism Center, FBI Strategic Information Operations Center). These information sources should be viewable at all Federal operation centers utilizing compatible geo-spatial information systems, and should operate on both classified (SIPRNET) and unclassified systems to allow State and local emergency management interface and integration.

  8. Establish a National Reporting System. Departments and agencies, through the NOC, should establish a single reporting system to establish a uniform information flow to senior decision makers. A single reporting system should be used to provision relevant information for the right decision maker, at the right time, and in a usable format. This reporting system should incorporate the existing uniform reports utilized in the ICS.

  9. Establish National Information Requirements and a National Information Reporting Chain. Departments and agencies, through the NOC, should develop information requirements at each level of the incident command structure to ensure that valuable, accurate information is reported in a timely manner. A national reporting chain should be established to ensure a standard information flow through all levels of the incident command structure.

  10. Establish the Disaster Response Group (DRG). The HSC should establish the DRG to create a forum where strategic policy and interagency coordination and deconfliction can take place. These decisions would then be implemented through the NOC. This HSC-chaired group would address issues that cannot be resolved at lower levels, and either resolve them or develop decision recommendations for Deputies and Principals. The group would function in a manner analogous to the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG). As such it would meet on a regular basis on preparedness and response policy and implementation issues and then more frequently as required during a crisis.

National Preparedness System

  1. Future preparedness of the Federal, State, and local authorities should be based on the risk, capabilities and needs structure of the National Preparedness Goal (NPG). Before an effective response plan can be created and an effective response implemented, gaps or shortfalls in required capability must be identified. Pursuant to HSPD-8, DHS should develop a system to assess the level of national preparedness by assessing the levels of capability identified in the NPG through performance metrics outlined in the Target Capabilities List (TCL). DHS should assess the Nation’s preparedness yearly and should, in conjunction with the interagency, recommend appropriate adjustments to the NPG, TCL and yearly priorities for Homeland Security Grants. This will enable organizations across the Nation to identify capabilities that need improvement and develop and maintain capabilities at levels needed to manage major events using the NRP and NIMS. The deficiencies in Federal, State, and local response to Hurricane Katrina highlight the need for a more efficient National preparedness system. For example, States should utilize their licensing authorities to require providers of essential services and commodities, such as gas stations, pharmacies, and cell tower operators to equip their facilities with generators to enable them to operate in an emergency where central power is lost. Federal, State and local departments and agencies all share the responsibility for protecting and responding to their citizens and should use the NPG and TCL as a planning tool to:

    1. Define required capabilities and what levels of those capabilities are needed. DHS should also lead a process to determine what capabilities articulated in the NPG are within the purview of the Federal government, what levels of those capabilities are required, and finally which Departments and Agencies should develop and maintain those levels of capability. The information should be included in the NPG;

    2. Revise the NPG as appropriate to define appropriate support roles for Federal and State employees to perform as emergency staff when an emergency prevents them from performing their regular duties.

    3. Strategies for meeting the NPG required levels of capability should be developed that prioritize investments on the basis of risk, need and National priorities in HSPD-8;

    4. Establish priorities within a resource-constrained environment;

    5. Clarify and understand roles and responsibilities in the National network of homeland security capabilities and revise the NPG as appropriate;

    6. Develop mutual aid agreements and Emergency Management Assistance Compacts that are informed by the requirements in the NPG and are synchronized in a manner to deliver the right capability at the right time to the right place to meet the right need; and

    7. Establish a program to measure and assess the effectiveness of preparedness capabilities across the Nation using the President’s Management Agenda Score Card tool, and tie performance results to Homeland Security Grant Program funding.

  2. DHS should develop and maintain a National inventory of Federal capabilities. Effective response plans cannot be developed absent a consideration of resources and capabilities. The Federal capabilities and corresponding assets and resources should be inventoried and placed into a database, per HSPD-8, by DHS. Key to this real-time inventory will be awareness of which assets are available during a disaster and of their deployment timeline from notification. Furthermore, DHS was required to establish a National inventory of Federal assets by Section 7406 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

    1. DHS should coordinate with other Federal agencies and States to identify physical locations around the country that could be used as crisis support centers or bases for receiving, staging and integrating emergency management resources during disasters.

Critical Challenge: Integrated Use of Military Capabilities

Lesson Learned: The Departments of Homeland Security and Defense should jointly plan for the Department of Defense’s support of Federal response activities as well as those extraordinary circumstances when it is appropriate for the Department of Defense to lead the Federal response. In addition, the Department of Defense should ensure the transformation of the National Guard is focused on increased integration with active duty forces for homeland security plans and activities.


  1. DOD and DHS should develop recommendations for revision of the NRP to delineate the circumstances, objectives, and limitations of when DOD might temporarily assume the lead for the Federal response to a catastrophic incident. Katrina demonstrated the importance of prior planning for rapid and complex response efforts.   DOD should develop plans to lead the Federal response for events of extraordinary scope and nature (e.g., nuclear incident or multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks causing a breakdown in civil society).

  2. DOD should revise its Immediate Response Authority (IRA) policy to allow commanders, in appropriate circumstances, to exercise IRA even without a request from local authorities. DOD should work with DHS and State officials to improve integration of military response capabilities.

  3. DOD and DHS should plan and prepare for a significant DOD supporting role during a catastrophic event. DOD’s joint operational response doctrine is an integral part of the national effort and must be fully integrated into the national response at all levels of government. DOD should have a contingency role and a requirement to assist DHS with expertise in logistics, planning, and total asset visibility. DOD should coordinate with DHS and DOT to identify DOD’s contingency role in airport operations and evacuations, and the planning and use of Ready Reserve Fleet vessels for housing, evacuation, communications, command, control, and logistics. The NRP and Catastrophic Incident Supplement (CIS) should specify the specific requirements for DOD resources based on the magnitude and type of a catastrophic event.

  4. DOD should provide support from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) as part of overall DOD support to DHS under the NRP to provide technical skills, situational awareness, imagery support, analysis and assessment for responding to catastrophic events. Requests for situational awareness capabilities should follow DOD processes for asset allocation. DOD will ensure requests for assistance are identified and satisfied for access to NGA, NSA and other Combat Support Agency’s capabilities. NGA and NSA have significant technical capabilities that should be integrated into the Nation’s preparation and response efforts. NGA and NSA have the capability to rapidly provide situational awareness and analysis. The response to Hurricane Katrina highlighted that NGA and NSA possess unique capabilities that can be utilized in homeland missions, to include severe weather events. The NSA was instrumental in matching up missing family members, and the NGA provided valuable overhead imagery of the disaster site. Defined roles in homeland security missions will allow for these capabilities to be better budgeted, developed, and ultimately leveraged. In support of missions in the homeland where DHS is the Primary Federal Agency, DHS should levy tasking requirements. These agencies have established relationships with governmental and private/commercial entities, which can be integrated as part of a larger national response effort. NGA and NSA roles and support to the homeland security mission should be added into the agencies’ core mission statements. NGA and NSA support should be coordinated with civil agencies providing geospatial support and analysis, including the U.S. Geological Survey. These agencies need resources to perform homeland security functions. In order to meet these new mission requirements these agencies need to expand from a legacy focus of being a producer to a broader role as a service provider.

  5. Set standards for “pushing” the pre-positioning of Federal assets to States and locals, in the case of an imminent catastrophe. DHS should create a civil operational planning capability to push assets that is robust, agile, and deployable; otherwise, the response will rely heavily on DOD capabilities. Factors slowing delivery of commodities require review and solutions adapted prior to future disasters. DHS should include much better planning efforts between State and Federal emergency management logisticians and operations personnel, the assistance and advice of DOD strategic logistics planners, and more robust private sector partnerships. DHS should mandate the use of pre-competed private sector contracts for capabilities ranging from airlift to advanced communications and life support and have available a rapid response capability similar to DOD. Federal funding should be predicated on States entering into their own contractual agreements, pre-crisis, with the private sector for procurement and delivery of commodities.

  6. In addition to the National Guard, the other Reserve Components of the military services should modify their organization and training to include a priority mission to prepare and deploy in support of homeland security missions. Reserve components historically have focused on military and war fighting missions, which will continue; however, we should recognize that the Reserve components are too valuable a skilled and available resource at home not to be ready to incorporate them in any Federal response planning and effort. Additionally, efforts should be made to leverage Reserve civilian skills in disaster relief efforts.

  7. DOD should consider fully resourcing the JTF State Headquarters to address capabilities gaps and to enhance readiness. Enhance National Guard capabilities by resourcing and fully implementing Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) State. JFHQ-State transformation is key to rapid deployment of National Guard forces in response to a catastrophe.

    The transformation of JFHQ-State and other National Guard capabilities for homeland security missions will ensure response forces are available in each DHS region. These capabilities should support NRP requirements including: security, maintenance, aviation, engineer, medical, communications, transportation, and logistics. The National Guard should develop rapid reaction forces capable of responding to an incident within 24 hours. This is vital to future rapid deployment of National Guard forces in response to a catastrophe. This transformation, as it nears completion, must continue to take root within DOD.

    JFHQ State will provide the command structure in which to lead and direct arriving Federal response capabilities, forming the backbone of State Incident Command System (ICS) and, as a result, the Federal Joint Field Office (JFO). It will facilitate unity of effort and provide the situational awareness needed for an effective response. To that end, the Command, Control, Communications, and Information (C3I) structure must be interoperable and satisfy a common set of mission essential tasks.

  8. Develop the capability to rapidly activate a JTF-State for contingencies.JTF-State is a forward deployed command group that can stage assets (by conducting reception, staging, onward movement, and integration); provide situational awareness and initial command and control for both State governors (for National Guard troops) and USNORTHCOM (for Federal active duty troops); and provide State level components to a Federal active duty JTF, should one be required. JTF-State coordinates with USNORTHCOM and State authorities to ensure the application of the full capability of the Joint Force for domestic response missions. A key component of the JTF-State should be the State’s WMD CSTs. The option to expanding the role of the CSTs to an all-hazards response team should be explored. This may require additional resources, but would improve situational awareness and command and control capabilities at the State level.

    A JTF-State model streamlines the command structure exercising command and control over all assigned forces supporting civil authorities. The JTF command and control architecture should provide a wide network to build a single common operating picture that increases situational awareness and redundancy. The JTF should assume command and control of Federal active duty forces and National Guard forces from other States. As part of the JFHQ State, the JTF maintains and provides trained and equipped forces and capabilities. If and when necessary, this JTF model enables a National Guard Commander familiar with State and local area of operations to serve both in a Federal and State status providing both unity of effort and unity of command for Federal and State forces.

  9. DOD should consider assigning additional personnel (to include General officers) from the National Guard and the reserves of the military services to USNORTHCOM to achieve enhanced integration of Active and reserve component forces for homeland security missions.

  10. DOD should support DHS development of an analysis and operational planning capability to enable DHS to predict detailed requirements and plan for specific actions needed to respond to future disasters. This DOD/DHS element should assess past catastrophic disasters and the successes and failures of the overall responses to those events. This information should inform detailed planning for future disaster response, and allow determination of specific decision points to aid rapid decision making. Ultimately a fully mature DHS planning capability should have additional utility by deploying during future catastrophic events and translating initial damage assessments into accurate needs assessments for local, State and Federal authorities.

  11. DOD should consider chartering the NGB as a joint activity of the DOD. Responsibilities should include:

    1. Serve as the focal point in developing, managing, and integrating employment of joint National Guard capabilities for the Joint Staff and the Departments of the Army and Air Force in support of the Combatant Commands.

    2. Act as the DOD channel of communication to and from the National Guard of the States and Territories.

    3. Support all Combatant Commanders in developing joint operational requirements for contingency and response plans. Specifically support U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), USNORTHCOM, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the States and Territories in developing strategy and contingency plans for homeland defense missions.

    4. Administer Army and Air Force programs; acquire, distribute, and manage resources; plan, coordinate, and provide situational awareness and other support to the Combatant Commanders.

Critical Challenge: Communications

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security should review our current laws, policies, plans, and strategies relevant to communications. Upon the conclusion of this review, the Homeland Security Council, with support from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, should develop a National Emergency Communications Strategy that supports communications operability and interoperability.


  1. DHS should complete the review of National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) communications policy by April 30, 2006. As requested by the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council, DHS should conduct this review to provide a preliminary strategic “plan for integrating communications for all levels of crisis in light of evolving threats and new and converging technologies, and for organizational and policy changes.” This review and resulting strategic plan will advance communications capability planning for the Nation’s response posture.

  2. HSC and OSTP should lead an interagency review of all current policies, laws, plans, and strategies that address communications and integrate them into a National Emergency Communications StrategyThe review should include:

    1. The development of an overarching National Emergency Communications Strategy should address a full range of hazards;

    2. A national emergency communications strategy should consider the direction of the telecommunications industry and supporting recommendations of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council;

    3. State and local emergency prevention, preparedness, and response personnel must maximize the resources provided by, and implement the procedures contained in, the Homeland Security Grant Program;

    4. Federal, State, and local entities should use the Target Capabilities List (TCL) as a reference to develop emergency communications strategies. The resulting strategies will enhance operability and support future interoperable emergency communications capabilities. State and local standards and performance measures for achieving for interoperability should be tied to Homeland Security Grant Program funding criteria; 

    5. By March 1, 2006, HSC and OSTP should organize an interagency group to begin the development of a national emergency communications strategy. An interim strategy, to be completed May 31, 2006, should provide sufficient guidance and direction to address the deficiencies identified in the Hurricane Katrina response.

  3. DHS should revise the NRP to conform to the new National Emergency Communications Strategy. The NRP should include sufficient guidance on communications operations when responding to a disaster. This guidance should address the full spectrum of possible effects to the Nation’s communications system from disasters and detail the required responses. It should also ensure that response operations employ all available communications assets to support operability and interoperability.  The following areas should be addressed as part of the revision of the NRP:

    1. Communications procedures and guidelines need to be defined, implemented, and practiced through simulations and exercises. Measurement of progress to increase overall crisis communications capability will be graded against the President’s Management Agenda criteria;

    2. Updated communications guidance must also emphasize the ability of emergency responders and private security officials to share information and use available communication systems to connect with authorities at all levels of government. Planning needs to cover not only system connectivity, but also operating practices, business processes, and initial data sets to make the system work;

    3. The NRP’s ESF-2 must direct the integration of all available Federal, State, local, and private communications assets. The full integration of communications capability requires an assessment of Federal assets and an inventory of available capability. During emergencies, ESF-2 must have the authority to implement, resource, and restore communications;

    4. State and local first responders must satisfy the requirements of the Target Capabilities List, in order to receive Federal funding.

  4. DHS should develop and maintain a national crisis communication system to support information exchange from the President, across the Federal government, and down to the State level.

  5. DHS should establish and maintain a deployable communications capability, to quickly gain and retain situational awareness when responding to catastrophic incidents. To restore operability and achieve interoperability, there is a strong need for rapidly deployable, interoperable, commercial, off-the-shelf equipment that can provide a framework for connectivity among Federal, State, and local authorities. A deployable capability to “reach-back” to “large headquarters units capable of providing superior support to deployed elements from their home stations where they have better facilities, resources and access to information,” can achieve initial operability. This transformational capability should ensure decision makers at all levels of government have accurate and complete data to assess courses of action. Inadequate situational awareness during the response to Hurricane Katrina resulted in decision makers relying on incorrect and incomplete information. DHS progress in this regard is essential to ensure adequate situational awareness. It must therefore set measurable goals and use the President’s Management Agenda initiatives to encourage progress and accountability toward achieving them. Available technologies can provide short-term operability and support long-term interoperability for emergency responders. However, to keep pace with technology changes, DHS should consider commercial, off-the-shelf solutions.

Critical Challenge: Logistics and Evacuation

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with State and local governments and the private sector, should develop a modern, flexible and transparent logistics system. This system should be based on established contracts for stockpiling commodities at the local level for emergencies and the provision of goods and services during emergencies. The Federal government must develop the capacity to conduct large-scale logistical operations that supplement and, if necessary, replace State and local logistical systems by leveraging resources within both the public sector and the private sector. The Department of Transportation, in coordination with other appropriate departments of the Executive Branch, must also be prepared to conduct mass evacuation operations when disasters overwhelm or incapacitate State and local governments.


  1. DHS should partner with State and local governments, other Federal agencies and the private sector to develop an efficient, transparent and flexible logistics system for the procurement and delivery of goods and services during emergencies. DHS should develop a logistics system, utilizing an integrated supply chain management approach, capable of supporting large-scale disaster operations by leveraging resources within both the public sector and the private sector.

    1. DHS should identify private sector resources that can be leveraged to supplement and provide surge capacity to the Federal support to disaster operations, execute direct vendor delivery contingency contracts with these sources prior to disasters, and encourage State and local governments to do the same. Such contracting practices would eliminate time-consuming and inefficient negotiations during emergencies. By utilizing direct vendor delivery contracts, shipments are sent directly to the customer from the supplier, bypassing unnecessary storage points. Participating State governments would identify their anticipated requirements and coordinate with DHS to ensure that contingency contracts are executed to meet those needs.

    2. DHS should require that local and State governments establish contracts with private sector vendors for disaster relief supplies in advance of an emergency with the assurance of reimbursement should these contracts be activated in a post disaster declaration environment.

    3. Federal government should allocate strategic goods and services or conduct re-supply operations during a catastrophic disaster when shortfalls occur in local and State resources. The new logistics system developed in concert with State and local governments, and the private sector should be transparent to all managers within the system (Federal, State and local governments and the private sector). The system should be comprehensive so that the full range of logistical requirements and the flow of goods and services can be tracked from provider to receiver. The system should take into account all the sources of logistical provisions such as mutual aid agreements within States, EMAC agreements between States, contracts between the private sector and Federal and State governments, and agreements between non-governmental, community, faith-based and volunteer organizations and Federal and State governments. The system should be designed to allow all Federal, State and local logistics managers to monitor the execution of mutual aid agreements between Federal homeland security regions, and to allow Federal prioritization of strategic logistics resources in circumstances where State and/or regional resources are depleted.

    4. DHS should improve planning and coordination with State and local partners, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. DHS should ensure that its logistics system leverages the capabilities within local and State governments and all other potential reliable and credible resources. DHS should work with the National Emergency Management Association to ensure the full coordination of Federal logistical support, provided under the Stafford Act, with State logistical support provided under EMAC. The use of commercial logistics best practices in supply chain management should be used to minimize the need for the Federal government to stockpile materials. Charities and faith based organizations should be fully integrated into resource planning and be incorporated into the supply chain in their local areas. Federal, State, and local logistical planners should use the best practices from successful large private sector companies as well as from DOD as the standard to develop improved operational capabilities and coordination procedures in the new logistics system.

    5. DHS, in cooperation with other departments and agencies, should develop the capability to identify sources of assets within the Federal government, and to track the movement of supplies during a disaster. This information would be extremely useful to resource managers at all levels of government during disasters.

    6. DHS should establish a Chief Logistics Officer to oversee all logistics operations across multiple support functions. The Chief Logistics Officer (CLO) would be responsible for developing and maintaining an integrated supply chain management system. This system should be structured in ways that are compatible with the structure of the National Incident Management System. The CLO would guide and assist those Federal, State and local organizations that manage emergency response assets and commodities, enabling them to procure and deliver supplies for emergency operations. The CLO would be responsible for logistics technology and software solutions that allow emergency managers to have visibility of all assets in the supply chain and to be able to access those supplies. A CLO should also be established in each homeland security regional office.

    7. DOD should detail logistics planners to DHS to assist in developing this logistics system. DOD and DHS should review and consider supply chain management best practices in developing the DHS logistics system. DOD should assist DHS in developing its logistics system; train DHS personnel in logistics management; exercise the DHS logistics system; and assist operating DHS’ logistics management system until a fully mature capability exists.

  2. DHS should streamline its procedures for issuing mission assignments to other departments and agencies. These mission assignments will be identified in advance of an emergency so that logisticians can operationalize assets and provide resource support rapidly. In addition, other departments and agencies should establish procedures for promptly executing mission assignments. The goal of these efforts is to minimize the delays observed during Hurricane Katrina when departments or agencies were slow to act because they either had not received a FEMA mission assignment, or did not have an effective system for executing the mission assignment once received.

  3. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should consider the efficacy of the Executive Branch and departments and agencies having the flexibility to transfer funds across accounts in advance of supplemental funding for immediate use during catastrophes in order to execute the departments’ and agencies’ respective missions under the National Response Plan. Transferred funds would not supplant the Disaster Relief Fund that is controlled and dispersed by DHS through the mission assignment process. Rather, it would provide the flexibility to use all sources of funds to fund emergency response actions in the aftermath of a catastrophic event in circumstances where the DHS mission assignment process is insufficient or inappropriate to handle the requirements of responding to the disaster.

  4. Designate DOT as the primary federal agency responsible for developing the Federal government’s capability to conduct mass evacuations when disasters overwhelm State and local governments. DOT should, in coordination with HHS, DOD, VA, DHS and the American Red Cross (ARC) plan, train and conduct exercises for the timely evacuation of patients and transportation of medical supplies and personnel. DOT, which is the primary agency for ESF-1, is best positioned to develop the capability to conduct and coordinate mass evacuation and associated critical tasks. DOT should identify, prioritize, and approve plans to: transport patients to and from all Federal medical treatment facilities, and; assemble and pre-deploy caches of medical supplies to strategic locations. Such proactive efforts should improve the ability of Federal agencies to conduct patient evacuations when State and local agencies are unable to do so in a timely or effective manner. DOT should coordinate directly with HHS, DOD, VA, USDA, DHS and ARC, as well as State and local agencies, to plan, train and exercise for mass evacuations. In addition to assisting States in planning and preparing for mass evacuations, ESF-1 would conduct evacuation operations when State and local governments are unable to do so. ESF-8 would retain primary responsibility for coordinating the evacuation of seriously ill or injured persons. In addition, USDA (one of the primary agencies for ESF-11: Agriculture and Natural Resources) would plan and manage the evacuation of animals. It should be understood that the development of these capabilities will take time and in most cases will be grown to full capacity incrementally.

  5. DHS should require State and local governments, as a condition for receiving Homeland Security grants, to develop, implement, and exercise emergency evacuation plans and to cooperate fully with all Federal evacuation activities. DHS has commendably incorporated a similar requirement in its FY 2006 Homeland Security Grant Program. State and local governments should use the National Preparedness Goal’s Target Capabilities List (TCL) as a standard for the development of these evacuation plans. In addition to those TCL capabilities, State and local evacuation plans should specify procedures to address the pre-positioning of food, medical and fuel supplies. These plans should address establishing first-aid stations, tracking and coordinating movements of evacuees, evacuating pets, unaccompanied minors, the elderly, and evacuating people who lack the means to leave voluntarily. Each State, starting in FY 07, should receive an annual evacuation readiness status report. This report will be in the form of an evacuation readiness “report card” that will grade the ability of the State to conduct evacuation operations. The report card will be based on exercises, training, effective use of Federal grant monies, and other relevant criteria as a condition of further grant funding. Much like the President’s Management Agenda, States will be given the expected results which they need to accomplish with their grant funding. This assessment would not only classify each State on its level of evacuation readiness, but also track how well homeland security grant funds are spent for evacuation planning. States that do not use their grant funds effectively would have their grant funds reduced or terminated.

  6. DHS should, in coordination with DOT, evaluate all State evacuation plans as well as the evacuation plans of the 75 largest urban areas. As the President declared when he addressed the Nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans, “Our cities must have clear and up-to-date plans for . . . evacuating large numbers of people in an emergency.” DHS reviewed State catastrophic planning, including evacuation planning, and submitted a Congressionally mandated report to Congress on February 10, 2006. In addition, DHS and DOT are jointly reviewing evacuation plans for the Gulf Region, their findings due to Congress on June 1, 2006. These two departments should report their findings to the President through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism concurrently with their submission to Congress. These reviews should specifically address special needs populations, people who lack the means to evacuate voluntarily, and the evacuation of animals, as well as other aspects of evacuation planning mentioned in Recommendation 5 above.

    1. Consideration should be given to revising the Stafford Act to restrict reimbursement eligibility to only those States that have met basic performance requirements for critical functions such as mass evacuation.

Critical Challenge: Search and Rescue

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security should lead an interagency review of current policies and procedures to ensure effective integration of all Federal search and rescue assets during disaster response.


  1. DHS should lead an interagency team to review and revise the NRP to ensure the integration of all Federal search and rescue assets. This review should:

    1. Expand ESF-9 to ensure the coordination of all Federal search and rescue operations, not just urban search and rescue. Under this new construct, both the urban and civil search and rescue coordinators would report to the Operations Section Chief under the Incident Commander. This structure is consistent with the National Search and Rescue Plan (NSP) requirement for the civil search and rescue coordinator to serve as the search and rescue representative to the Incident Commander, as well as with NIMS and ICS principles that place both urban search and rescue and civil search and rescue under the Operations Section. It would allow both coordinators to support each other and share resources, depending on the nature of the incident. Ideally, the ESF-9 coordinator in the Joint Field Office (JFO) should have extensive training and education in both urban search and rescue and civil search and rescue.

    2. Require coordination throughout Incident Command to ensure continuity of care for those rescued. The ESF-9 coordinator should work with the logistics section under ESF-5: Emergency Management and the other ESF’s grouped under the Emergency Services Branch (including ESF-8: Public Health and Medical Services) to ensure victims receive medical care and are transported to an adequate housing shelter.

    3. ESF-9 must include the United States Forest Service’s (USFS), DOI and EPA capabilities to perform search and rescue operations. USFS is given the role as primary agency under ESF-4: Firefighting and as supporting agency under ESF-9. DOI is a principal partner with USFS in carrying out ESF-4 functions. As firefighters make up a large percentage of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams, their expertise and capabilities should also contribute to search and rescue operations. Under ESF-9, the mission statements of USFS and DOI should include the availability of firefighting personnel, not just equipment and supplies, for use in search and rescue operations. ESF-9 must include the capabilities of all participants in the National Search and Rescue Committee.

  2. The National Search and Rescue Committee should revise the National Search and Rescue Plan (NSP) to include disaster response operations. The NRP references the NSP as a supporting operational document. However, the NSP is confusing because it specifically states that it does not cover overall response to disaster operations, as called for in the NRP. The NSP should therefore be revised to clarify its role in disaster response operations. The revision should specifically address air traffic control and coordination.

  3. Each State and major city should incorporate Search and Rescue and US&R annexes into their overall disaster response plans. Federal grant assistance should require each State, under the State Homeland Security Grant Program, and urban area under the Urban Areas Security Initiative, develop a search and rescue annex within its specific disaster response plan, as part of its concept of operations. This search and rescue annex should be scalable, modular, organized along ICS principles, and be all-hazards in scope. It should also specifically delineate which agencies have primary responsibility for each aspect of search and rescue. The plan should specify in what order Federal assistance assets or State-to-State mutual aid assets (through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact) will be requested and detail how search and rescue coordination will be integrated into incident command.  These search and rescue annexes should identify where victims are to be taken in the event Federal, State, and local logistical support to the victims is required. Representatives of National Search and Rescue committee organizations should assist the development of State and local search and rescue plans.

  4. DHS should expand the National Preparedness Goal’s Target Capabilities List (TCL) Capability: Urban Search and Rescue to require Federal Urban Search and Rescue teams and State and local entities to train, equip, and exercise for civil search and rescue missions. Currently, this capability only focuses on urban search and rescue and does not include any of the types of civil search and rescue, such as maritime rescue. An expanded capability should use the NSP as the guide for including civil search and rescue performance standards. State and local entities not currently in the national civil search and rescue community could then use the expanded search and rescue capability as a reference to plan, train, and exercise for both urban search and rescue and civil search and rescue missions. Funding for urban search and rescue teams should reserve a portion of their funding allocated to train and equip FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force members for civil search and rescue operations.

  5. DHS should create a national search and rescue volunteer certification program. This national certification should be used to verify the identity and the level of skills and training of search and rescue volunteers. Volunteers could report to “reception centers,” which should be established along the perimeter of any impacted area to receive spontaneous volunteers. A national certification program would speed the incorporation of these individuals into the unified search and rescue command structure and greatly increase the effectiveness of the response. Voluntary organizations such as the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR) should be requested to assist with such a certification program.

Critical Challenge: Public Safety and Security

Lesson Learned: The Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, should examine Federal responsibilities for support to State and local law enforcement and criminal justice systems during emergencies and then build operational plans, procedures, and policies to ensure an effective Federal law enforcement response.


Law Enforcement

  1. DHS should, in coordination with DOJ, revise the National Response Plan to provide more effective coordination of the law enforcement response to a disaster by clarifying and expanding the role and mission of the Public Safety and Security support function and the Senior Federal Law Enforcement Officer. The revised NRP should:

    1. Designate DOJ as the primary agency responsible for the ESF-13 Public Safety and Security function. The NRP designates DHS and DOJ to serve jointly as primary agencies for the ESF-13 function. This diffusion of responsibility creates unnecessary confusion at the scene of the crisis and violates the principle of unity of command. We recognize that DHS has significant law enforcement assets, both in Washington DC and in field offices throughout the country. However, the Attorney General is, by law, the President’s primary law enforcement officer. DOJ’s long experience and recognized public law enforcement responsibility for prosecuting Federal crimes, in addition to its existing ties with the State and local law enforcement communities, make it best positioned to assume the lead role, though it still must continue to work in partnership with DHS. Through its United States Attorneys Offices in all 50 states and through the FBI’s 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces, DOJ has the capability to leverage these important relationships with State and local law enforcement. We also consider DOJ to have greater traditional law enforcement experience, whereas DHS’s law enforcement programs are more specialized, focusing on areas such as border control, aviation security, and protective services. In addition, giving DOJ responsibility for leading the Public Safety and Security support function will let DHS focus on its overall coordination of emergency response mission.

    2. Finalize the drafting of Public Safety and Security policies and procedures. The Public Safety and Security (ESF-13) Annex of the NRP required primary and support agencies to define their functions and develop policies and procedures by April 2005, four months after the NRP was issued. While drafts exist, this effort needs immediate completion to provide clarity to the organization and functions of the Public Safety and Security support function.

    3. Specify that the Attorney General will, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, designate the SFLEO. When the Secretary of Homeland Security declares an Incident of National Significance (INS), the Attorney General should promptly designate the SFLEO; during a non-INS event, the Attorney General may appoint an SFLEO if needed. Also, the NRP should give the Attorney General the authority to designate a Deputy SFLEO from a department other than that of the SFLEO. In recognition of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s role in coordinating the Federal response under HSPD-5, the Attorney General should consult with the Secretary prior to designating the SFLEO.

    4. Include a new position designated as the “Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General” (SCRAG). As with the SFLEO, the Attorney General should immediately appoint the SCRAG to serve as the Attorney General’s representative for issues requiring senior-level involvement of a DOJ official. Whereas the SFLEO is responsible for managing the operational aspects of the Federal law enforcement response, the SCRAG will assist as needed in resolving any significant law enforcement policy issues that might arise with State or local officials, or between Federal official.

    5. Require the establishment of a law enforcement coordination center within the Joint Field Office (JFO) to coordinate the Federal, State, and local law enforcement response during all types of emergencies. While the NRP includes such an entity for a terrorist-related incident or a National Special Security Event, it does not clearly set forth how Federal law enforcement coordinates with its State and local counterparts during other incidents.

  2. DOJ should lead the development of the capability to surge Federal law enforcement resources in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. As outlined by the NRP, law enforcement personnel should be drawn from the following sources, in this order:  1)  Civilian law enforcement and National Guard from affected State; 2)  Civilian law enforcement and National Guard from other States;  and 3)  Civilian law enforcement from Federal agencies. To maximize the availability of law enforcement assets from each of these categories, the following should be done:

    1. DOJ should establish a program to review State and local plans for continuity of operations for law enforcement and the criminal justice system during a crisis.

    2. DOJ should develop a program to increase States’ awareness of the procedures for requesting Federal law enforcement assistance under the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Act.

    3. DOJ should lead an interagency effort to catalogue the Federal law enforcement assets within the Executive Branch. This effort will serve as the basis for developing a database of assets available for use during an INS, in order to ensure appropriate use of all available Federal law enforcement assets.

    4. DOJ and DHS should each develop, in coordination with the other, the capability to rapidly deploy a contingent of Federal law enforcement officers to prevent and respond to civil disorder. Consistent with the principle that law enforcement is the responsibility of local and State governments, this force should deploy only in the event that State authorities request Federal assistance pursuant to the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Act, or as otherwise directed by the President. However, the NRP should make clear that where, as in this case, the need for additional law enforcement resources is manifest and obvious, it should be the Attorney General’s responsibility, after notifying the Secretary of Homeland Security, to make an offer of Federal law enforcement support to the affected Governor.

  3. DOJ should develop procedures for streamlined deputization of qualified Federal law enforcement officers.  This effort should address circumstances where Federal law enforcement personnel require Federal deputization to enforce Federal laws outside their jurisdiction, or State deputization to enforce State laws. DOJ should work together with the States’ Attorneys General to develop agreements whereby a State requesting Federal law enforcement assistance agrees in advance to grant limited State law enforcement authority to Federal agents for the duration of the emergency.

  4. DOJ should, in coordination with DHS, further incorporate force protection into Federal response planning, to prevent disruption of Federal agencies' operations and to protect Federal personnel and property. While the Public Safety and Security annex of the NRP designates force protection as an ESF-13 responsibility, further response planning is required on this issue in light of the problems encountered during Hurricane Katrina.

Criminal Justice

  1. DOJ should, in coordination with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, develop a program to ensure the continuity of the Federal criminal justice system and to provide assistance to States in developing complementary plans. While the operation and continuity of the court system falls under the purview of the Judicial Branch, the Department of Justice should ensure that adequate plans exist to ensure the continuity of its critical prosecutorial functions. Components of DOJ such as the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons are critical to the operations of the Federal court system and must be incorporated into the contingency planning.

  2. DOJ should develop plans to improve the accountability for persons under supervision by the Federal criminal justice system, and to provide assistance to States in developing complementary plans.

  3. DOJ, in coordination with DHS, should establish a program to provide oversight and technical assistance for States’ emergency plans for evacuating prisoners in the event of a disaster. Although evacuation of State and local prisoners is primarily a State and local responsibility, prisoners are protected by Federal civil rights laws and thus the Federal government has an interest in ensuring that such evacuations are appropriately planned and implemented.

  4. DHS and DOJ should coordinate their respective grant and assistance funding programs to States and local governments to establish uniform standards and conditions of awards in furtherance of the above recommendations. If both departments should determine a need for legislation to remedy the disparate standards or criteria for different grant sources, OMB should consult with the departments to draft proposed legislation.

Critical Challenge: Public Health and Medical Support

Lesson Learned: In coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security partners, the Department of Health and Human Services should strengthen the Federal government’s capability to provide public health and medical support during a crisis. This will require the improvement of command and control of public health resources, the development of deliberate plans, an additional investment in deployable operational resources, and an acceleration of the initiative to foster the widespread use of interoperable electronic health records systems.


  1. HHS should lead a unified and strengthened public health and medical command for Federal disaster response.

    1. HHS should develop a comprehensive plan to identify, deploy and track Federal public health and medical assets (human, fixed and materiel) for use during a catastrophic event. HHS should assume primary control of the public health and medical support effort, coordinating the activities of supporting agencies from a central location. The Secretary of HHS should be aware of, and in charge of coordinating, all Federal medical and public health assets available for use. All Federal departments must support and facilitate HHS in the execution of its responsibilities to coordinate all Federal public health and medical assets. Medical operations are highly dependent on efficient inter-agency cooperation and the successful completion of tasks is dependent on a fully integrated Federal effort.

    2. HHS in coordination with OMB and DHS should draft proposed legislation for submission to Congress, to transfer NDMS from DHS to HHS. As the agency charged in HSPD-5 with the overall coordination of disaster response in America, DHS should clearly articulate the operational requirements for disaster medical assistance. HHS should then be responsible for building and maintaining the appropriate operational capability: it should guide, direct, and develop the NDMS and integrate it into other HHS operational elements. NDMS is a critical component to the success of any Federal disaster response requiring medical support. As such, public health professionals and emergency medical responses should be managed and overseen by HHS which has the greatest health experience and expertise. Thus, NDMS should be returned to the direct command of HHS. It should be understood that the development of these capabilities will take time and in most cases will be grown to full capacity incrementally.

    3. HHS should organize, train, equip, and roster medical and public health professionals in pre-configured and deployable teams. These personnel should be comprised of officers of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the NDMS, health care providers within DOD and the VA, and volunteer health professionals from the private sector. This is consistent with the HHS efforts to enhance the medical and public health response to meet future challenges by transforming the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. This will enable a critical emergency response resource to address public health challenges more quickly and efficiently. The Commissioned Corps will increase its ranks, streamline its assignment and deployment process, and increase its ability to recruit the best and the brightest to defend the Nation’s public health. HHS announced administrative steps toward this end. HHS has also drafted legislation in this area and forwarded it to OMB for Administration review and clearance. HHS should be given appropriate authorities to carry out this responsibility and should establish and test a system to quickly and efficiently identify, credential and assign personnel to missions.

  2. HHS should ensure coordination and oversight of emergency, bioterrorism, and ongoing public health preparedness needs. In a public health emergency, the Secretary of HHS should have the integrated support of the public health and public health emergency preparedness programs. Within HHS, two Staff Division and seven Operating Division Assistant Secretary level positions oversee some aspect of public health programs, many of which have overlapping functions in an emergency response. The Secretary of HHS should review this issue and determine how best to ensure the integration of all relevant HHS information and functions during a public health emergency.

  3. The Surgeon General should routinely communicate public health, as well as individual and community preparedness guidance to the general population. While there are other prominent and capable Federal health officials, the Surgeon General’s stature and credibility should be used to repeatedly and proactively deliver a consistent public health preparedness message to the public. This will not only help to increase personal, community and national disaster preparedness, it will also make the Surgeon General a more effective and credible source of guidance during public health emergencies.

  4. Create and maintain a dedicated, full time, and equipped response team composed of Commissioned Corps officers of the U.S. Public Health Service. The size of this team would be determined by the Corps’ senior leadership, and be sufficient to meet the response needs as set forth by the Secretary. This team, overseen by the Surgeon General, could rapidly and effectively deploy to any event requiring medical and public health expertise and remain on station as long as needed. Other Corps officers, NDMS, the MRC, and the private sector could augment the team under the Surgeon General’s command as required.

  5. DHS and HHS should look for the means to increase the capacities and capabilities of local and State health infrastructures. Local and State health departments are the foundation upon which the National public health preparedness rests. HHS and DHS provide Federal grants to local and State health departments, but additional funding is needed in view of the threats to the Nation from: weapons of mass destruction; biological agents; pandemic influenza and natural disasters. Grant funds from HHS and DHS should be synchronized to maximize the benefit to local and State health departments. Furthermore, all grant funding must be targeted toward increasing needed capabilities and then be reviewed to grade State and local performance according to the Presidential Management Agenda.

  6. Accelerate the HHS initiative to foster widespread use of interoperable electronic health (EHR) records systems, to achieve development and certification of systems for emergency responders within the next 12 months. The adoption of interoperable EHR systems will support first responders and health providers and dramatically improve the quality and efficacy of care to displaced patients across a population. The President signed an Executive Order, Incentives for the Use of Health Information Technology and Establishing the Position of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator, on April 27, 2004, that provides guidance for the development of a nationwide interoperable health information technology.

Critical Challenge: Human Services

Lesson Learned: The Department of Health and Human Services should coordinate with other departments of the Executive Branch, as well as State governments and non-governmental organizations, to develop a robust, comprehensive, and integrated system to deliver human services during disasters so that victims are able to receive Federal and State assistance in a simple and seamless manner. In particular, this system should be designed to provide victims a consumer oriented, simple, effective, and single encounter from which they can receive assistance.


  1. AssignHHS the responsibility for coordinating the provision of human services during disasters. HHS should serve as the single Federal coordinating agency, with full situational awareness across agencies, and manage the delivery of services by other Federal departments. HHS working with DHS should review and, as appropriate, amend the NRP to ensure a single point of contact for victims to access all applicable Federal human services in an emergency and a capable deployment plan to enable this effort.

    1. Federal agencies with an ongoing role in delivering human services should be prepared to do so in a disaster environment. In addition to HHS, other Federal agencies have responsibility for providing human services. All Federal agencies responsible for the administration of human service programs should plan and prepare for the delivery of services in a disaster environment, with HHS coordinating and authorizing reimbursement for their respective disaster-related expenditures. Federal agencies that routinely deliver human services should build on established relationships with State and local agencies and private sector organizations, but also create contingency plans to assure the independent delivery of Federal assistance when necessary.

  2. HHS should inventory all Federal human services. As part of this effort HHS should:

    1. Inventory the range of human services programs of the Federal government. There are thousands of human service programs across the interagency, many of which are jointly administered by State and local agencies. A catalogue of available programs will facilitate the prioritization and delivery of services, especially during emergency situations.

    2. Identify current statutory authorities that permit the waiver of impediments to the delivery of services during an emergency. Knowing which regulations can be waived will help responding agencies to more efficiently deliver services in emergency settings when speed is a high priority. Agencies should identify current waiver authority and impediments to service delivery and should provide HHS with suggested threshold criteria for triggering waiver authority. Agencies should also identify current authority for reimbursing disaster-related administrative costs and related impediments to reimbursing service providers for legitimate costs.

  3. HHS should develop a simple, comprehensive, and efficient means for disaster victims to enroll for all available human services at a single encounter. Many important human service programs have wide variation in eligibility requirements. HHS’ coordination and integration role is vital in helping to simplify access to complex and varied human service programs. Upon completion of the inventory of programs and available Federal facilities, HHS should prioritize the delivery of human service programs and develop plans to establish “one-stop” centers where disaster victims would enroll in Federal, State, local, and non-governmental human assistance programs. These “one stop” centers should complement the continued and expanded use of simplified telephone and internet-based registration modalities. The goal should be for the victim to go to one physical location, encounter one person who gathers all the necessary data and inputs it into a database that is shared and transparent among all human service providers at the Federal, State and local level as required. This will likely increase efficiency, reduce frustration of evacuees and expedite the delivery of services for eligible recipients.

    1. Task the appropriate Federal agencies to develop processes to assess disaster victims’ needs and process their applications for assistance within consolidated “one-stop” centers. These processes should avoid duplication of effort, employ streamlined in-take and case management strategies and foster the interagency administration of human services in a disaster area.

    2. HHS working with DHS should work to include faith-based, community, and non-profit organizations in the emergency planning, preparedness, and delivery of human services. These private sector organizations contributed greatly to the Hurricane Katrina response. They should actively participate in all phases of a Federal disaster response and HHS should specifically facilitate access to their services in all “one-stop” centers.

    3. HHS in coordination with DHS should oversee the development of deployable interagency teams to assess human service needs and deliver assistance. Created before the disaster, these teams can be deployed immediately to the disaster area to begin coordinating access to human services. These teams should be composed of knowledgeable and experienced Federal employees as well as personnel from State and local agencies and the private sector, as appropriate. They should serve in the “one stop” centers and also visit shelters and other locations necessary to facilitate the deliver of human services.

    4. HHS working with DHS and the Department of Labor should inventory existing Federal infrastructure and resources which could be utilized for provisions of consolidated services to affected areas. Contingency plans should be developed for the utilization of Federal facilities, equipment such as phones, computers, and personnel on short-notice to provide consolidated services in response to a crisis. These plans should be exercised and evaluated on a routine basis.

  4. HHS and DHS should jointly work with the private sector to encourage the development of a capacity to voluntarily store and retrieve personal identifying information. Encourage the private sector development of a capability for individuals to voluntarily submit their personal identifying information for virtual storage that citizens and their families could access during emergencies. The capability is best thought of as a 21st century version of a bank vault, with virtual safe deposit boxes for information. Disaster victims could access the virtually stored data to apply for Federal assistance, medical treatment, or insurance benefits. Because of the sensitivity of the personal data stored, strict privacy limitations and protections would be required. HHS should consider how their experience with Electronic Health Records (EHR) might inform such an effort.

  5. Existing Federal sources of information should be identified which might assist Federal authorities upon an emergency or disaster declaration by the President. While numerous current Federal information sources exist (such as those maintained by SSA, DHS, VA, Treasury and the Department of Defense), they are not designed to identify or track individuals. Limited emergency access to existing Federal information sources should be considered and evaluated for their potential value in improving the Federal response. The development and deployment process must account for privacy, security, scalability, and compatibility

Critical Challenge: Mass Care and Housing

Lesson Learned: Using established Federal core competencies and all available resources, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in coordination with other departments of the Executive Branch with housing stock, should develop integrated plans and bolstered capabilities for the temporary and long-term housing of evacuees. The American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security should retain responsibility and improve the process of mass care and sheltering during disasters.


  1. ARC and DHS should retain the mass care and sheltering responsibility during disasters. With long-standing experience providing mass care and shelters during disasters, ARC is a highly valued national asset: it must be a primary agency, along with DHS. ARC has extensive experience with mass care and sheltering during disasters, however, their status as a non-government organization limits their access to Federal planning meetings. DHS and ARC should strengthen their planning and operational relationships with HUD. HUD’s expertise lies in the provision of mid- and long-term housing. To assure the appropriate expertise is brought to bear in all phases of a disaster (preparation, response, recovery and rebuilding) and a seamless integration of care for disaster victims, HUD, DHS and ARC must develop a close working relationship, not just during crises. During non-emergency times, they must jointly plan for mass care and housing during disasters. In conjunction with other Federal agencies, they must train for disasters and conduct exercises to evaluate the response readiness of the Federal government.

  2. Designate HUD as the lead Federal agency for the provision of temporary housing. HUD, with extensive experience providing housing resources for those in need, must use its extensive network of regional offices and State and local housing agencies, to prepare for potential relocation emergencies. While there will always be a need for some victims to remain on their property while rebuilding their homes, the provision of trailers should not be the default means of temporary housing offered to all evacuees leaving shelters. HUD, rather than DHS, should be the lead Federal agency for housing and HUD should devote resources to gain this competency with support from ARC, and other Federal agencies. HUD must create a professional staff to augment its current housing capacity in order to create the ability to arrange housing for disaster victims and adequately train, exercise and resource this capability. But, DHS should retain its vital coordinating function for the entire disaster response. It should be understood that the development of these capabilities will take time and in most cases will be grown to full capacity incrementally.

  3. Assist States and municipalities in developing mass relocation plans for each major metropolitan area and inventories of existing shelters and shelter sites. Such plans must match mass evacuation plans developed for metropolitan areas and should include the pre-identification of sites suitable for the establishment of shelters. Plans should also include appropriate guidelines regarding suitable shelters and thorough inventories of shelters already in existence. HUD should receive the lead role in relocation planning and inventorying shelters, with DOT, DOI and USDA assuming supporting roles. HUD can combine data from Federal, State, and local sources to compile inventories and establish the frequency of inventory updates. Federal grant money should be predicated on States and municipalities periodically updating their relocation plans and shelter inventories.

  4. DHS should develop a system to maintain awareness of the movement of shelter and temporary housing residents. Local, State, and Federal officials in charge of sheltering evacuees must know the number and type (e.g., number of disabled, number of minors) of evacuees in addition to their names and personal identifying data as they move between shelters and from shelters to temporary housing. This will improve allocation of resources to shelters (such as food and water), as well as the reunion of separated family members. Such a system must complement other systems to register evacuees for available social services.

  5. DHS should review and revise the Federal regulations under the Stafford Act to emphasize “location-independent” housing assistance. Current regulations allow payment of rental subsidies to disaster victims, but not the routine payment of security deposits or utility fees. Reimbursement for repairs to existing available housing units are also not authorized, effectively precluding the use of a large supply of federally controlled units that may only need minor repairs in order to be occupied. These restrictions effectively push many people to trailers and other manufactured housing units, while leaving other available housing vacant. Revising these housing regulations would allow greater flexibility in meeting urgent housing needs in the aftermath of a disaster.

Critical Challenge: Public Communications

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security should develop an integrated public communications plan to better inform, guide, and reassure the American public before, during, and after a catastrophe. The Department of Homeland Security should enable this plan with operational capabilities to deploy coordinated public affairs teams during a crisis.


  1. DHS should revise the NRP to improve the Public Affairs Support and External Affairs annexes to ensure a better coordinated, more effective response.

    1. DHS should revise standing operating procedures, command relationships, training, organizational structure, and communications between Federal Public Affairs Offices (PAOs) and their State and local counterparts.

    2. DHS should revise the NRP to delineate clearly when National and Incident JICs should be required to activate and deactivate. This guidance should also determine the proper location and number of JICs to be established in response to catastrophes.

    3. DHS should revise the NRP to delineate a clear structure for a fully coordinated, integrated, and synchronized public communications strategy, across the Federal government and with State and locals.

  2. DHS should establish rapidly deployable Public Affairs teams, able to operate self-sufficiently, in austere conditions. These deployable Public Affairs teams should be established across all Federal departments and agencies with key Homeland Security responsibilities. These teams should be capable of providing Public Affairs assistance within hours to incident locations. These teams could be used to form the Incident JIC. All Federal departments and agencies with domestic operational responsibilities should establish programs to use embedded media where appropriate.

  3. DHS should expand Federal partnership programs with State and local Public Affairs Officials (PAO).

    1. DHS should strengthen its relationship with groups such as the National Governors Association to provide joint incident communications training programs for State governments.

    2. DHS should also strengthen relationships with the Defense Information School, Navy Post Graduate School, National Defense University, and other academic institutions. These Federal partners can assist in providing training and certification to State and local emergency management and the PAOs of key DHS organizations (e.g., DHS, FEMA, U.S. Coast Guard) and personnel such as PFO and Federal Coordinating Officer candidates. Such training would help to improve incident communications efforts.

  4. Develop a Public Communications Coordination capability for crisis communications at the White House. Designate a senior White House Communications official to be responsible for the Homeland Security Council and crisis communications portfolio. In close collaboration with DHS’ Office of Public Affairs, this official would be responsible for:

    1. Coordination of public communications and public affairs within the homeland across all relevant Federal departments and agencies;

    2. Establishing a permanent strategic communications capability, to facilitate messages to the public, the media, and all departments and agencies;

    3. Developing a national public communications and public affairs strategic plan;

    4. Develop “Risk Communications” to communicate pre-incident expectations to private citizens. This may be carried out by identifying credible spokespersons who can frequently update the public on preparedness, current threats and crisis communications.

  5. DHS should establish an integrated public alert and warning system in coordination with all relevant departments and agencies.

    1. The system, building on the Emergency Alert System (EAS), must leverage advanced communication technologies and existing Federal, State, and local systems.

    2. Federal, State and local levels of government must have the means to communicate essential and accurate emergency information to the public prior to, during and after a catastrophe.

    3. Use the National Preparedness Goal’s Target Capabilities List as a reference to build and sustain the system.

Critical Challenge: Critical Infrastructure and Impact Assessment

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security, working collaboratively with the private sector, should revise the National Response Plan and finalize the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan to be able to rapidly assess the impact of a disaster on critical infrastructure. We must use this knowledge to inform Federal response and prioritization decisions and to support infrastructure restoration in order to save lives and mitigate the impact of the disaster on the Nation.


  1. DHS should revise the National Response Plan to:

    1. Provide for a stronger Infrastructure Support Branch in the National Operations Center. The Infrastructure Support Branch will coordinate among the appropriate ESF’s to ensure that the guidance developed by the Critical Infrastructure Policy Coordinating Committee is followed for infrastructure protection and restoration after an event. In addition, this branch will coordinate with critical infrastructure sectors, provide senior leaders with a summary of reports and modeling, and develop recommended preemptive and responsive actions to remediate or mitigate the impact of the loss of critical infrastructure. These optional actions will be based on reports from the Impact Assessment Working Group, the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), Sector Coordinating Councils, and consultation with DHS/IP.

    2. Strengthen the role and responsibility of the Infrastructure Liaison. Currently, the Infrastructure Liaison is designated by DHS/IP, to serve as the principal advisor to the JFO Coordination Group regarding all national and regional level critical infrastructure and key resource incident-related issues. This role should be more clearly defined, and have greater responsibility which should include a designated group of trained critical infrastructure staff from Federal departments and agencies including DHS staff versed in infrastructure protection that are available for immediate deployment to the JFO to fill the role of the expanded Infrastructure Liaison group. The liaison should: (1) Gather and fuse relevant data about private infrastructure operational status; (2) Coordinate overall Federal response efforts for infrastructure restoration and recovery; and (3) Strengthen direct communications with private infrastructure owners and operators. This expanded Infrastructure Liaison will incorporate the Private Sector Liaisons to ensure unity of effort.

Policy and Planning

  1. DHS should revise the National Preparedness Goal to require the collaborative development of regional disaster plans (such as those required by the DHS Urban Area Security Initiative) with the private sector. This activity will not only prepare the Federal government to respond, but will set private sector expectations of specific actions the government will take in response to a disaster.

  2. Set basic criteria for private sector preparedness against which these regional plans can be measured. There is a lack of a clear and agreed upon prioritized implementation plan to address the coordinated restoration and protection of critical infrastructure during times of limited resources and competing demands. Basic levels of private sector preparation similar to those outlined in the National Preparedness Goal should be set and used to measure progress in restoration planning.

  3. DHS should review, revise, and finalize the Interim NIPP within 90 days to:

    1. Standardize Federal government policy to link the prioritization of both protection and restoration. Linking prioritization for protection to prioritization for restoration will motivate private sector participation in the effort to prioritize critical infrastructure and to develop disaster response plans.

    2. Require the use of a systems and resiliency approach to determine the global consequence of the loss of each asset. Using a systems approach will clearly identify the assets in each region whose loss has the greatest potential to cause a national impact.

    3. Address cross sector dependencies in the systems approach. As outlined in the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, critical infrastructure restoration and protection efforts should take into account the five cross-sector security priorities.

    4. Add an annex to the interim NIPP to describe how those policy considerations that are learned in the prioritization for protection will be used to develop restoration priorities. The Federal government can develop priorities for restoring critical infrastructure using much of the same information used to prioritize protecting it. Having restoration priorities will allow the Federal government to make crisis decisions informed by clearly established restoration priorities.


  1. DHS should expand the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center’s (NISAC) Modeling and Analysis capability to allow more robust and accurate systems modeling. Sector specific agencies should provide the NISAC with any modeling available to their department for their assigned sector, and all NISAC analyses should in turn be shared with sector specific agencies. In addition, as directed in HSPD-7 the Department of Homeland Security will work with other appropriate Federal departments and agencies to geospatially map, image and analyze critical infrastructure.

  2. The National Economic Council should form an Impact Assessment Working Group to provide an overall economic impact assessment of major disasters, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce, Energy (Energy Information Administration) and Labor as well as the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Since Hurricane Katrina, NISAC has significantly improved their capability to provide reports detailing the cascading impact of major disasters on the Nation’s infrastructure but it does not include a robust assessment of the economic impacts. The various economic modeling expertise of the members of the Impact Assessment Working Group should be incorporated into the NISAC models.

  3. The Department of Commerce should lead, in cooperation with the Department of Treasury, Homeland Security, and other sector specific agencies as appropriate, the development of a proposal to the Department of Homeland Security for incentives and other mechanisms to motivate private sector cooperation and participation in efforts to prioritize infrastructure protection. This group should review the Defense Production Act, the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Act, as well as financial incentives. These incentives should then be incorporated into the articulation of a business case for private sector participation in infrastructure protection. This business case should discuss protection and prioritized restoration as well as encourage private sector infrastructure resiliency and redundancy. In addition, States are encouraged to share best practices regarding financial incentives to motivate private sector cooperation and participation in infrastructure protection and restoration efforts.

  4. DHS should share the plans and policy for Federal response and delineated roles and responsibilities with the private sector. The National Response Plan urges businesses to develop disaster contingency plans. Businesses have been unable to develop completely effective contingency plans without understanding the actions Federal, State, and local governments will take in response to a disaster. Furthermore, the Federal government has been unable to develop agreed upon response plans for prioritized restoration. The first step to establishing a collaborative planning and exercise program with the private sector is to, with appropriate protections, share relevant sections of the NRP with key private sector partners.

Critical Challenge: Environmental Hazards and Debris Removal

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, should oversee efforts to improve the Federal government’s capability to quickly gather environmental data and to provide the public and emergency responders the most accurate information available, to determine whether it is safe to operate in a disaster environment or to return after evacuation. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security should work with its State and local homeland security partners to plan and to coordinate an integrated approach to debris removal during and after a disaster.


  1. DHS, in coordination with EPA, DOL/OSHA, HHS, DOC/NOAA, and DOD/USACE, should:

    1. DHS should enhance the Emergency Response Team (ERT) capability to conduct initial environmental assessments and communicate warnings to the general public and emergency responders by adding HHS and DOL/OSHA members. DHS should lead the collaborative development of detailed plans to guide initial environmental assessment operations under the NRP.

    2. DOL/OSHA should lead the development of operational procedures for Worker Health and Safety. Planning must include pre-disaster identification of potential hazards to inform out-of-area responders.

  2. DHS, in coordination with EPA, HHS, OSHA, and DOE should develop an integrated plan to quickly gather environmental data and provide the public and emergency responders the most accurate information available to decide whether it is safe to operate in a disaster environment or return after evacuation. This plan should address how to best communicate risk, as well as determine who is accountable for making the determination that an area is safe. It should also address the need for adequate laboratory capacity to support response to all hazards. The plan should be completed in 180 days.

  3. DHS should jointly lead DOD/USACE, DOI, USDA, and EPA to address and coordinate debris removal issues as part of ESF operational procedures. The procedures should include an integrated public communication approach for debris removal, especially as it applies to private property.

Critical Challenge: Managing Offers of Foreign Assistance and Inquiries Regarding Affected Foreign Nationals

Lesson Learned: The Department of State, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, should review and revise policies, plans, and procedures for the management of foreign disaster assistance. In addition, this review should clarify responsibilities and procedures for handling inquiries regarding affected foreign nationals.


  1. DOS should lead the revision of the International Coordination Support Annex to the NRP, clarifying responsibilities of DOS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DOD, and other supporting agencies in response to domestic incidents . This revision should begin immediately.

  2. Prior to June 1, 2006, DOS and DHS should lead an interagency effort that will quickly develop procedures to review, accept or reject any offers of international assistance for a domestic catastrophic incident. This should include an appropriate mechanism, led by DHS and supported by DOS and Treasury, to receive, disburse, and audit any cash assistance received in support of victim needs. These operating procedures should include:

    1. A coordination process among Federal agencies and non-governmental partners to solicit, accept, receive, integrate and distribute foreign assistance;

    2. An expedited review process for international aid that addresses both critical needs and legitimate foreign policy objectives;

    3. The inclusion of a USAID representative to the Joint Field Office (JFO);

    4. The inclusion of a representative from USAID/OFDA on the State Department Task Force and a DOS representative on USAID/OFDA’s Response Management Team to improve interagency coordination; also the addition of a DHS representative to both task forces to provide more efficient information sharing about assistance needs on the ground.

  3. DHS should lead an interagency effort to create and routinely update a prioritized list of anticipated disaster needs for foreign assistance and a list of items that cannot be accepted. These lists should be completed before June 1, 2006.  These lists would be based upon notional planning scenarios, State/local emergency managers’ anticipated requirements, and current legal impediments on prohibited forms of aid. Once complete, DHS should distribute these lists to all appropriate agencies, to include regulatory agencies, in order to address regulatory barriers in advance.

  4. DOS should establish, before June 1, 2006, an interagency process to: determine appropriate uses of international cash donations; to ensure timely use of these funds in a transparent and accountable manner; to meet internal Federal government accounting requirements; and to communicate to donors how their funds were used.

  5. Public and Diplomatic Communications during domestic emergencies should both encourage cash donations -- preferably to recognized nonprofit voluntary organizations with relevant experience -- and emphasize that donations of equipment or personnel should address disaster needs. Financial contributions provide emergency managers maximum flexibility to meet requirements in crises and avoid regulatory challenges. In a catastrophe, rapid, proactive communication of requirements reduces the potential for the refusal of assistance. The Department of State should have domestic crisis communications procedures in place before June 1, 2006.

  6. The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security should, before June 1, 2006, jointly develop procedures to ensure that the needs of foreign missions are included in domestic plans for tracking inquires regarding persons who are unaccounted for in a disaster zone.

    1. During a crisis, DOS and USAID should provide DHS with personnel who have technical expertise in humanitarian and disaster management issues, to include population displacement.

    2. In improving their strategies for providing faster information and assistance to American citizens, Federal, State, and local emergency management officials should include provisions covering the needs of affected foreign nationals. To ensure these provisions meet U.S. legal obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, these officials should work with DOS. DOS in turn should inform foreign missions about these provisions. This should be accomplished through changes to the NRP, and through refinement of agencies’ NRP implementation plans.

  7. DHS and DOS should revise the NRP to include DOD and USDA-Food Safety Inspection Service as cooperating agencies to the International Coordination Support Annex. Including DOD more directly in foreign assistance management would leverage existing relationships with partner military establishments and help to ensure that staging areas for the acceptance of foreign aid are preplanned and quickly available.

  8. DHS should include DOS and foreign assistance management in domestic interagency training and exercise events. Inclusion in the new National Exercise Program (NEP) should occur before the end of FY06.

  9. DHS should provide daily disaster response situational updates through the Secretary of State to all Chiefs of Mission or Chargés d’Affaires. These updates should improve situational awareness and provide information to address host government concerns or questions.

Critical Challenge: Non-governmental Aid

Lesson Learned: The Federal response should better integrate the contributions of volunteers and non-governmental organizations into the broader national effort. This integration would be best achieved at the State and local levels, prior to future incidents. In particular, State and local governments must engage NGOs in the planning process, credential their personnel, and provide them the necessary resource support for their involvement in a joint response.


  1. DHS should revise the NRP to designate responsibility for coordinating non-governmental assistance, including faith-based organizations, during emergencies. These responsibilities should fully address the following:

    1. Improve communication of requirements from the incident site;

    2. Pre-identify and catalogue non-governmental goods and build a process to deploy these goods to specific regions for catastrophic events;

    3. Develop a statewide support function for volunteers (both pre-trained and spontaneous) in each State to assist local emergency managers and NGOs to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters;

    4. Recruit, train and identify National Incident Management System (NIMS) trained volunteers;

    5. Incorporate NGOs into the planning, training, and exercising process; and

    6. Ensure there is a mechanism to coordinate spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers.

  2. DHS should establish an office with responsibility for integrating non-governmental and other volunteer resources into Federal, State, and local emergency response plans and mutual aid agreements. Further, DHS should establish a distinct organizational element to assist faith-based organizations. There is no single office within DHS that is responsible for integrating non-governmental and faith-based assistance into emergency response planning. By establishing such an office, DHS can foster an integrated planning process through which government at all levels can identify and communicate their requirements to NGOs during response and recovery operations. This office should also study and recommend improvements to the process to deploy resources and personnel to specific regions for catastrophic events, through emergency assistance compacts or other mechanisms.

    The responsibilities of the office should include, but not be limited to the following:

    1. Increasing relationship-building to include conducting a national conference for NGOs and the private sector on emergency preparedness and response where they can share best practices;

    2. Identifying potential donation sources; and

    3. Identifying and eliminating difficulties pre-incident that NGOs encounter with the Federal government when delivering services.

    4. Inventory, develop partnerships with and promote the best practices of successful Faith-Based disaster relief programs such as the United States Emergency Chaplains Corps.

  3. DHS should condition State and local grants, under the Homeland Security Grant program, on incorporating NGOs and the private sector into their emergency planning, training, exercises, and disaster relief efforts. These revised plans should include the following:

    1. Participation of NGOs, including small regional and local groups, in planning for disaster response and recovery efforts; and

    2. Pre-determined roles and responsibilities for volunteer organizations, which identify their mission, capabilities, training, and certification.

    An improved plan to incorporate and connect volunteers and private sector assets with emergency management officials would have enabled the better use of NGO contributions. Some states have improved how NGOs respond to incidents by creating a volunteer and social service infrastructure. In Florida and North Carolina, NGOs and emergency managers have formalized their relationships at the State and local level by including a volunteer coordinator in the State EOC. As a result, their State and local emergency managers better understand what non-governmental assistance is available before, during, and after a disaster.

    Federal, State, and local officials should use the National Preparedness Goal’s Target Capabilities List: Volunteer Management and Donations as the standard to improve capabilities. The next version of the Target Capabilities List should expand the explanation of the roles and responsibilities of volunteer organizations and include establishing their role in staffing State emergency operations centers.

  4. DHS should improve access to, and awareness of, private sector and non-governmental resources available for use during emergency response operations. This process should include the following:

    1. Pre-arranged and contingency contracting;

    2. Provision of requirements estimates to NGOs and private sector organizations that are willing to provide resources during catastrophic events;

    3. Consistent, accurate, and timely messaging of resource needs to NGOs;

    4. Providing NGOs and private sector organizations with information on reimbursement and access to Federal aid;

    5. Development of robust donations and volunteer management software system standards;

    6. Completing the development of a credentialing system, already being created by FEMA’s NIMS Integration Center, to allow authorized volunteers and workers restoring critical infrastructure access to relief sites; and

    7. Identification of what Federal, State, or local support NGOs will need to sustain operations (sanitation, electricity, food, and water).

    The Federal government cannot comprehensively plan and coordinate how NGOs and private sector entities will respond locally or regionally in a catastrophic disaster. State and local officials must take the lead in planning the best use of non-governmental resources at the local level. All States should consider existing models to coordinate and integrate non-governmental resources in disaster planning and response, recognizing that business-government partnerships require a level of trust and agility most easily built at the regional level. One such model which has proven successful is the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) Business Force project. Business Force partnerships of regional, State, and local officials, together with businesses and NGOs, have been successful in emergency response planning and using private sector resources and volunteers to fill gaps in preparedness and response capabilities. The BENS model also includes a web-based catalogue of private sector resources. The Federal government should recognize that the private/non-government sectors often perform certain functions more efficiently and effectively than government because of their expertise and experience in applying successful business models. These public-private partnerships should be facilitated, recognized, and funded.

    Additionally, integrating regional partnerships and resource databases (like the ones created by BENS) with national databases and response capabilities gives incident commanders full visibility of supply and volunteer sources. The capability to draw on these resources should inform and be part of Federal, State, and local logistics systems and response plans.

  5. Legal and liability impediments to the use and coordination of non-governmental and private sector resources during a catastrophic event should be removed.   Measures that should be implemented include:

    1. DHS should lead an interagency effort to remove Federal legal and liability impediments to the use and coordination of non-governmental and private sector resources during a catastrophic event. Encourage the passage and enactment of S.1747, currently pending in the 109th Congress, a Bill to limit liability for volunteers and those providing goods and services for disaster relief.

    2. Recommending uniform provisions for State law similar to the Non-Liability of Federal Government provision in the Stafford Act, to ease State and local government fear of legal liability;

    3. Recommending uniform State “good Samaritan” laws to protect organizations donating goods and services from legal liability;

    4. Revision of the two-year maximum service rule for national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, to allow experienced volunteers to continue serving after two years; and

    5. Simplification and clarification of Federal auditing and oversight procedures during a disaster. We should allow trusted organizations (those with established Federal relationships) to respond quickly during a disaster and wait to review their activities post-disaster.

  6. DHS should encourage NGOs and the private sector to plan their giving streams at the local level in order to provide comprehensive support to affected local areas during an emergency and prevent duplication of relief efforts. By improving the integration of planning among voluntary organizations at the local level, these organizations will be better positioned to serve citizens during an emergency. FEMA should authorize local voluntary organizations to accept gifts and donations of cash, goods, and services pledged to FEMA at the local level.

Critical Challenge: Training, Exercises, and Lessons Learned

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should establish specific requirements for training, exercise, and lessons learned programs linked through a comprehensive system and common supporting methodology throughout the Federal, State and local governments. Furthermore, assessments of training and exercises should be based on clear and consistent performance measures. DHS should require all Federal and State entities with operational Homeland Security responsibilities to have a lessons learned capability, and DHS should ensure all entities are accountable for the timely implementation of remedial actions in response to lessons learned.


  1. DHS should finalize the Target Capabilities List (TCL). DHS should finalize the TCL by the end of Second Quarter, FY06 with input from Federal, State, local and professional entities in order to evaluate preparedness. The TCL should define performance-based standards and outcomes grounded in capabilities which can be used to assess a State’s ability to properly execute a desired mission. Without the TCL, training and exercises have no goal against which to measure their performance. Consequently, lessons are not learned or incorporated into the capabilities-based planning process.

  2. Strengthen Homeland Security Council (HSC) coordination of Federal emergency training, exercises and lessons learned. Homeland Security Council should designate a Senior Director of Education, Training, Exercises, and Lessons Learned. The most recent Top Officials (“TOPOFF”) exercise in April 2005 revealed the Federal government’s lack of progress in addressing a number of preparedness deficiencies, many of which had been identified in previous exercises. This lack of progress reflects, in part, the absence of a remedial action program to systematically address lessons learned from exercises. To ensure appropriate priority and accountability are being applied to address these continuing deficiencies, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism now annually conducts four Cabinet-level exercises with catastrophic scenarios. The HSC, weighing a variety of factors, should:

    1. Establish the National goals of what should be trained and exercised for the coming year and make recommendations for follow-on goals;

    2. Ensure the establishment of a Remedial Action Management Program (RAMP) to ensure agencies are enacting lessons learned to improve response capabilities. The RAMP would provide the basis for systematically identifying, analyzing, and monitoring the implementation of initiatives aimed at resolving deficiencies uncovered in exercises, training events, real-world events, and policy discussions. Equally important, the RAMP would conduct remedial action tracking and long-term trend analysis, ensuring that remedial actions are completed and inform the cycle of preparedness activities. This program will provide the Federal Interagency with the means of overcoming the perennial problem of observing the same issues repeatedly characterized as “lessons learned” in reports compiled following major events;

    3. Review Senior Official exercise priorities to ensure more challenging scenarios based on the most catastrophic threats (natural and man-made) that exercise the National Goals and the use of Federal resources; and

    4. Ensure all Cabinet Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary and other appropriate personnel, especially those who are identified as primary or supporting agencies of Essential Support Functions, train and exercise on their respective roles for catastrophic events. This will help to meet the Interim National Preparedness Goal Overarching Priorities to “Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan” through the use of Senior Official Exercises (SOEs).

  3. All agencies with operational components should establish and fund Remedial Action Management Programs (RAMPs). All agencies with operational components should establish and fund RAMPs to identify and incorporate lessons learned by the end of FY06. This program will enable Federal agencies to overcome the perennial problem of observing recurring problems in AARs. To assist in this effort, DOD should work closely with DHS to establish the overall program, using the current DOD model as a basis.

  4. DHS should conduct State and local officials training and exercises. Key State and local officials should participate in training and exercises to ensure Governors and their cabinets attend a training course on their roles and responsibilities during a disaster and be exercised annually. The same will hold true for mayors of UASI cities and their Urban Area Working Group. These steps will help the Nation meet the Interim National Preparedness Goal, Overarching Priorities to “Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan” and “Expand Regional Collaboration.” Lack of coordination should be taken into consideration for future grant funding.

  5. DHS should restructure the TOPOFF Exercise Series. DHS should restructure the scope and scale of the TOPOFF exercise series to provide maximum effectiveness for its participants before execution of the FY07 Full-Scale Exercise. Though the intention of TOPOFF was to utilize terrorist based scenarios, further scenarios should encompass all-hazards and be HSC-vetted. Scenarios for future exercises should include recovery issues that explore the role of the private sector and non-governmental agencies, including faith based organizations.

    These restructured TOPOFF exercises should use a variety of exercise types, as outlined in the NEEP. Rather than simply conducting full-scale exercises every two years, the TOPOFF structure should execute a series of exercises every year identify lessons learned from those exercises in a timelier manner and issue an AAR that identifies the remedial actions to be taken with a deadline for implementation.

  6. DHS should develop an Exercise Series to Evaluate Nationwide Preparedness Utilizing the Final TCL. DHS should provide a series of exercises to all Urban Area Security Initiative cities and State capitals. The purpose of these exercises should be to evaluate and provide a baseline for the Nation’s overall preparedness. These exercises should be provided through G&T’s Direct Support program. Once a current baseline of preparedness measures at the State level has been identified, each State, starting in FY 07, should get an annual level of preparedness status report. This report will be in the form of a comprehensive preparedness “report card” that will grade capabilities, exercises, training, effective use of federal grant monies, and other relevant criteria as a condition of further grant funding. Much like the President’s Management Agenda, States will be given the expected results which they need to accomplish with their grant funding. This “report card” would not only classify each State on their level of preparedness, but also track how well homeland security grant dollars are spent. States that do not use their grant dollars effectively would have their grant dollars reduced or terminated.

  7. DHS should consolidate the DHS Training and Exercise Structure. DHS should consolidate homeland security related training and exercise assets in a new Office of Training, Exercises and Lessons Learned (TELL) during FY06. This office should reside under the Preparedness Directorate and reflect the continuing transformation within DHS. DHS should separate training and exercise components currently within the G&T and place those assets within the new TELL. Key components should include, but not be limited to:  Noble Training Center, Center for Domestic Preparedness, National Emergency Training Center, National Exercise and Evaluation Program.

  8. DHS should establish a National Exercise and Evaluation Program (NEEP). Building on the existing NEP, DHS should coordinate the establishment of a NEEP for homeland security related exercises by the end of FY06. As currently constructed the NEP does not include and coordinate the full range of National homeland security exercise programs. DHS should provide a “National Exercise Strategy” as prescribed by HSPD-8. The NEEP should designate HSEEP as the common exercise methodology across all levels of government, so all exercises are using the same doctrine. The NEEP should also include domestic and international exercises that enable Federal, State and local governments to improve interagency coordination across all types of crises. DHS should provide, on a periodic basis, consolidated Federal homeland security training and exercise schedule and a status report on lessons learned and appropriate follow-up from completed exercises to the HSC’s Director of Training, Exercises, and Lessons Learned. DOD’s Chairman’s Exercise Program and the joint Exercise Program) should not fall under DHS domain, but appropriate exercises should be coordinated with DHS and incorporated in the NEP/NEEP.

    To assist Federal, State and local collaboration, DHS should develop and fund a National Exercise Simulation Center (SIMCEN), similar to the Department of Defense’s Joint Warfighting Center. The SIMCEN would act as a tool to simulate the Federal role in emergency response and be capable of working with State and local exercises. This SIMCEN should be designed to mirror the National operations center and provide a learning environment for Federal agencies. Agencies should be appropriately resourced, so that they are able to provide personnel to attend training and operate at the SIMCEN. DHS should support the use of simulation and modeling to assist in the development of operational procedures and exercises (particularly those based on catastrophic incidents) and as a resource to assist in responding to catastrophic incidents. Simulations of this type should be run out of the SIMCEN.

Critical Challenge: Homeland Security Professional Development and Education

Lesson Learned: The Department of Homeland Security should develop a comprehensive program for the professional development and education of the Nation’s homeland security personnel including Federal, State and local employees as well as emergency management persons within the private sector, non-governmental organizations, as well as faith-based and community groups. This program should foster a “joint” Federal Interagency, State, local, and civilian team.


  1. Each Federal department and agency assigned specific homeland security roles should establish a homeland security professional development program that encompasses career assignments, education, exercises, and training. All departments and agencies assigned specific homeland security roles should establish professional development programs to insure they have the skilled personnel necessary to execute these responsibilities. These personnel must have the requisite professional credentials and experiences, knowledge of their organization’s emergency responsibilities, and understanding of other organizations’ related emergency responsibilities. Homeland security professional development programs should include interagency and intergovernmental (i.e., Federal, State, and local governments) perspectives. Further, the scope of homeland security requires that these programs focus on all hazards: terrorism, natural disasters, accidents, and other disasters. Departments and agencies must determine which offices are assigned homeland security roles and responsibilities, and should also determine the education, training, and technical expertise required for homeland security senior leaders and crisis managers. Each should establish education, exercise, and training requirements for personnel assigned to offices with homeland security responsibilities throughout all levels of government.

  2. OPM should establish, and Federal Departments and agencies should implement a career development process that mandates interagency and intergovernmental assignments as well as professional education. These career development processes must require and reward interagency and intergovernmental homeland security assignments. Such assignments will enable homeland security professionals to understand the roles, responsibilities, and cultures of other organizations and disciplines. Interagency and intergovernmental assignments will build trust and familiarity among homeland security professionals from differing perspectives. These assignments will also break down barriers between organizations, thus enhancing the exchange of ideas and practices. The need for intergovernmental assignments should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

    1. Each career development program should require that homeland security personnel complete interagency or intergovernmental assignments, and professional education, prior to assignment to senior managerial positions, including the Senior Executive Service (SES). Interagency and intergovernmental assignments should be designed to build a cadre of homeland security professionals across all levels of government who possess common knowledge of operational roles and responsibilities. Career development programs must reward strong academic performance in professional education programs.

    2. Departments and agencies should establish fellowships that allow State and local homeland security professionals to serve in a related Federal department or agency for a limited period of time. This can promote the development of a common planning culture and foster collaboration among Federal, State, and local governments. Further, these fellowships can enhance partnerships that result in more effective and efficient emergency responses.

    3. The White House should consider if legislative or regulatory changes are required to facilitate interagency and intergovernmental assignments. The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 transformed the Department of Defense (DOD) into a truly integrated department by requiring an assignment in another branch of the Armed Forces as a prerequisite for promotion to flag or general officer. Similar legislation should be considered for the Federal government to achieve the same sort of integration across Executive Branch departments and agencies.

  3. The Department of Homeland Security should establish an interagency working group to establish specific goals with objective standards against which Department and Agency progress toward full implementation of effective professional development programs can be measured. The interagency working group should ensure consistency and uniformity among Federal homeland security professional development programs. The interagency working group should provide quarterly reports to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism on the status of Federal homeland security professional development programs.

  4. DHS should provide training, technical, and other assistance in support of other departments’ and agencies’ homeland security professional development programs. DHS should expand its use of innovative techniques and technologies to enhance the quality and dissemination of homeland security education and training. This may include the use of distance learning programs and interactive computer methodologies. DHS must expand its efforts to promote awareness and implementation of the NIMS and the NRP throughout Federal, State, and local governments, and private sector.

  5. DHS should establish a National Homeland Security University (NHSU) for senior officials that serves as a capstone to other educational and training opportunities. An NHSU should be established to provide a strategic perspective of homeland security and counterterrorism that transcends organizations, levels of government, response disciplines, and the private sector. This requires that the NHSU faculty and student body include interagency, intergovernmental, and private sector representatives. NHSU programs should prepare officials for senior homeland security and counterterrorism assignments in Federal, State, and local governments. To achieve this, the NHSU curriculum should focus on all hazards and all phases of emergency preparedness and response. It should expand students’ understanding of the strategic aspects of homeland security and counterterrorism planning, policy development, incident management, and support functions, among other topics. NHSU educational programs must be scalable and portable in order to reach the widest audiences. NHSU should offer traditional in-residence courses in Washington, DC. It should also offer regional and virtual educational programs, and utilize innovative educational methodologies, such as simulation centers, for use by faculty, students, and government officials. The NHSU should serve as a center of homeland security and counterterrorism strategic thought and expertise for the nation. DHS should consider leveraging the infrastructure and expertise at the National Defense University by partnering with DOD to have the NHSU be a joint DHS/DOD initiative that focuses on both Homeland Security and Homeland Defense.

  6. Federal departments and agencies should strengthen their existing homeland security educational and training programs. The Emergency Management Institute, the Naval Postgraduate School, the National Defense University, and other university programs are critical national resources for developing skilled and knowledgeable homeland security professionals. Departments and agencies should ensure that these and other similar homeland security educational programs have the greatest impact. This should include requiring State and local participation in such programs through Federal fellowships. This will provide the Nation with a cadre of trained homeland security professionals. DHS should support these educational and training programs by providing them with curricula and other technical assistance. DHS should pursue opportunities to replicate innovative educational programs, such as the joint New York City Fire Department-U.S. Military Academy’s Counterterrorism Leadership Program.

  7. The White House should consider establishing a Presidential Board to review the national security, homeland security, and counterterrorism professional development programs of Federal departments and agencies to identify opportunities for further integration. The Nation can no longer view national security, homeland security, and counterterrorism independently. Federal professional development programs must recognize the interdependencies among all three and adjust their respective career assignments, education, exercises, and training accordingly. The Board should provide a roadmap for uniting the efforts of DHS, DOD, and other departments and agencies in educating, training and preparing our leaders for their crucial roles in safeguarding the Nation. Further, this review should promote the establishment of a common security paradigm that integrates national security, homeland security, and counterterrorism. This review should also identify opportunities for greater collaboration and integration. Importantly, this vision is not to eliminate the departments’ own professional development programs, each of which serves an important role and is tailored to meet the needs of their respective organizations.

Critical Challenge: Citizen and Community Preparedness

Lesson Learned: The Federal government, working with State, local, NGO, and private sector partners, should combine the various disparate citizen preparedness programs into a single national campaign to promote and strengthen citizen and community preparedness. This campaign should be developed in a manner that appeals to the American people, incorporates the endorsement and support of prominent national figures, focuses on the importance of individual and community responsibility for all-hazard disaster preparedness, provides meaningful and comprehensive education, training and exercise opportunities applicable to all facets of the American population, and establishes specialized preparedness programs for those less able to provide for themselves during disasters such as children, the ill, the disabled, and the elderly.


  1. DHS should make citizen and community preparedness a National priority. To facilitate this initiative, Cabinet Secretaries and other prominent National public figures (e.g. the Surgeon General) should serve as spokespersons to promote citizen and community preparedness. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Education, United States Surgeon General, and other National public figures, should publicize the importance of the community and individual preparedness. The goal of this effort should be to have citizens better understand the role and limitations of government and to encourage individual preparedness.

    1. In addition, DHS should continue to research means to lower the barriers to personal preparedness and adapt outreach and instructional materials to address the findings. Public awareness messaging should shift to include more substantive information within the message, as opposed to telling citizens they need to “do” something. For example, the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” campaign used so successfully in fire safety as part of the “Learn Not to Burn” program embedded the message and provided citizens with an action. Other successful campaigns include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” program which fines drivers for not wearing their seatbelt, and the “Buckle Up America” campaign which prescribes proper use of seat belt and child safety seats.

    2. DHS should leverage the success of public education conducted by fire departments nationwide which has reduced the loss of lives and property by fire. The Citizen Corps public education effort should be integrated with the DHS’s United States Fire Administration so that preparedness efforts of local fire departments can be expanded to include citizen and community preparedness. Additionally, DHS should leverage the success of the USAonwatch program to form a National Network of Community Watches comprised of citizen volunteers to develop best practices, a common doctrine and metrics for all-hazards community preparedness.

    3. The newly created Office of Public and Community Preparedness should continue to assist with implementing National strategies for citizen preparedness and communities. However, this office should be removed from the Office of Grants and Training, so as to focus solely on homeland security policies, plans, strategies, and guidance at the Federal, State, and local levels which highlight citizen and community preparedness.

  2. DHS should consider increasing grant funding for citizen and community preparedness programs and where program metrics demonstrate effectiveness, DHS should consider allowing greater use of Federal funds for Citizen Corps Council staff positions at the State and local level within the FY07 grant program. State and local governments generally do not have full time staff assigned to support this critical component of community preparedness. The availability of full-time positions at the State and local level for the Citizen Corps to coordinate the government and community planning is critical. Locations with full-time staff assigned to this tend to have developed robust plans. While Citizen Corps has existed since 2002, funding for the program has not been consistent.

  3. DHS should build baseline skills and capabilities needed by all citizens and communities DHS needs to establish a comprehensive list of skills and capabilities to assess how well citizens are prepared utilizing resources such as the Rand Corporations “Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks.”  These baseline skills include assembling preparedness kits, developing communications plans, training in basic first aid, and learning how to react to a variety of hazards and disasters. Additionally, the DHS should develop a process to evaluate national progress toward improved citizen preparedness capabilities through the use of the Target Capabilities List and established metrics, evaluated annually as a condition of receiving Homeland Security grant funding.

  4. DHS should develop tools for State and local governments to use in order to prepare, train, exercise, and engage citizens and communities in all areas of preparedness in FY06. Special consideration should be given to persons with disabilities, health problems, language barriers, income barriers, and unaccompanied minors. Planning also needs to contemplate household pets and other animals. Developing these tools at the National level, in partnership with non-governmental organizations, private sector, emergency responders, and experts on vulnerable populations, will achieve economies of scale. Providing tools, such as instructor guides and participant handbooks for classroom based instruction, identified standardized skills and capabilities, and strategic planning guidance, will elevate National preparedness without depleting scarce resources at the local level.

    Although DHS and other organizations already have established websites to assist with community preparedness (e.g.,,, there is no measure to evaluate if they have increased overall citizen preparedness.

  5. The Department of Education (DOEd), working with DHS, should include individual and community preparedness into current elementary and secondary educational programs. The DOEd should recommend funding to better student preparedness initiatives and disseminate teaching materials. Schools should use materials and curricula developed by DHS and the American Red Cross to prepare students. Students should be required to take courses in first aid, disaster preparedness or other related topics as a part of their curriculum starting in FY07.

    School programs on littering, recycling, anti-smoking and seat belt safety have demonstrated their effectiveness at helping to achieve National community goals beyond just students. We should build on these successful initiatives to educate and prepare our children and their families for the threats of the 21st Century.

  6. DHS should immediately highlight preparedness best practices through the DHS Lessons Learned and Information Sharing website ( the Citizen Corps Council’s National conference. By identifying best practices during exercises and audits, Citizen Corps Councils will be able to keep abreast of the emerging trends in citizen preparedness.

  7. Working with the National Governors Association, DHS should encourage the establishment of State tax relief holidays throughout the year to allow citizens to purchase disaster preparedness supplies. Providing periodic tax breaks throughout the year would encourage people to purchase emergency supplies. These tax holidays should consider the State of Florida’s model in defining what types of supplies would qualify. The government should also work closely with the private sector to build “preparedness packs” in various sizes (individual through family size) for sale at low cost, much as the American Red Cross has done.