Obama issues preparedness goals

In April, in a presidential policy directive, President Obama asked his government to prioritize the natural and human-made threats facing the country, draw up a plan to prevent or mitigate them if possible, and to respond to them quickly and efficiently if necessary.

On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates this national preparedness strategy, is releasing what it calls the Goal - a list of major identified threats and the type of actions the government can take to meet them. A full copy can be found here, on FEMA's website.

The Goal, obtained by National Journal, relies heavily on cooperation among state, local and federal governments, and boosts the roles and responsibilities of the private sector. It also envisions a change in the way the public views disasters: Americans have to prepare to be resilient.

The general strategy is being unveiled Friday by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate at the National Emergency Management Association Conference in Austin. The policy directive and national Goal will influence all emergency response plans that involve federal assets, and will guide the administration's disaster-related budget requests for years to come.

FEMA identified several major hazards that could pose a significant risk in the years ahead. Many are obvious natural disasters: wildfires, floods and hurricanes. The lengthy risk assessment, which is classified, also found an increased risk from technological and infrastructure failures, from a flu pandemic, from dam collapses, as well as cyber terrorism.

Though the government has many plans and directives to respond to emergencies, coordination and resource allocation remain largely ad hoc, something that several presidents, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have struggled with.

The Goal gives the Homeland Security Department, which still is vexed by questions about its mission, more direction, a road map to its own future, as it is the federal agency in charge of emergency preparedness.

As of today, the Goal is a just 28-page document, written in dry, bureaucratic language, with several classified annexes. Translating it into action will require heavy lifting from Congress, which may find its own priorities different from the executive agencies that must flesh out the strategy.

Obama's advisers say they have a "whole of government" approach to disasters, want to spend money more efficiently and with less of a direct emphasis on combating terrorism without strategic planning. The document breaks down mission areas, like responding to a disaster, into categories, like public warning, information sharing, operational coordination and community resilience. That last concept is a hobby horse of Fugate's.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.