An integrated national plan for response to terrorist attacks and other national emergencies is likely to be approved by Cabinet secretaries by the end of this week, Deputy Homeland Security Secretary James Loy said Tuesday.
By this time next year, the final National Response Plan will have replaced the disparate plans now in effect at federal agencies that work terrorism response, the former Coast Guard commandant said at a maritime-security conference in Washington organized by Defense Today and held at George Washington University.
A February 2003 directive by President Bush required the fledgling Homeland Security Department to design and implement the National Response Plan and the associated National Incident Management System in a bid to "establish a single, comprehensive approach" to managing terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other large-scale emergencies.
The system establishes "standardized incident management processes, protocols and procedures" for incident command organization, communications and preparedness, Homeland Security said in a March fact sheet. The effort is intended to allow first responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines to better coordinate responses to natural and unnatural disasters.