Streamlined approach to U.S. preparedness

Published 13 April 2011

The administration has released a new presidential policy directive on national preparedness; the directive, the result of a comprehensive review of national preparedness policy, replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8; the administration says that the directive seeks to move away from burdensome requirements and instead build the key capabilities the nation needs to confront any challenge

The U.S. federal government is aiming to move preparedness activities away from overly burdensome requirements to a more streamlined approach with the release of a new policy. President Barack Obama signed a new presidential policy directive on national preparedness on 30 March, which is the result of a comprehensive review of national preparedness policy and replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8.

Emergency Management reports that Brian Kamoie, senior director for preparedness policy on the White House National Security Staff, told a group of stakeholders at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute on 8 April that many incidents were examined during the directive’s development, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, as well as Hurricane Katrina. The federal government included twenty-four national associations representing a range of stakeholders and disciplines in the review of the national preparedness policy.

Kamoie emphasized that the directive seeks to pmove away from burdensome requirements and instead build the key capabilities the nation needs to confront any challenge.

As an example, he said, building flexible capabilities such as search and rescue and medical surge enable emergency staff to respond to a wide range of incidents regardless of what caused the emergency.

The White House is also pursuing “more rigorous assessment systems,” Kamoie said. The systems will aid in measuring and tracking progress over time. “We simply need to do better in articulating our current level of preparedness and demonstrating what innovations have worked,” he said.

Emergency Management notes that the United States also aims to learn from studying the response to the recent tsunami and magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan. When asked about how well prepared the nation is for a nuclear event, Kamoie said efforts have been ongoing — National Level Exercise 2010 included radiological emergencies and planning guidance was released in June 2009 for improvised nuclear devices — but that is another area where the United States will learn from the events in Japan.

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