07 January 2012

PPD-8: Resilience of the Whole Community...

Business Resilience in 2012 will continue to be a factor of the private sectors ability to withstand the Operational Risks that it encounters. The strategy for business assurance will be cognizant of the environments developed for preparedness and sustainability set forth by local and federal governments.

This bottom up approach to achieving a "Whole Community" resilience depends upon the cooperation, coordination and communication at the citizen, city and county level. In the United States, Presidential Preparedness Directive 8 (PPD-8) has been put forth as the future baseline for both private and public entities to adopt and implement going forward:

National Preparedness is aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the Nation by preparing for the full range of 21st century risks that threaten national security, including weapons of mass destruction, cyber attacks, terrorism, pandemics, transnational threats and catastrophic natural disasters.

The National Preparedness System Description is the second deliverable required under Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8: National Preparedness. The National Preparedness System Description concisely describes current efforts and how we will build on those efforts, many of which are established in the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act and other statutes, to build, sustain and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve the National Preparedness Goal.

Specifically, it identifies six components to improve national preparedness for a wide range of threats and hazards, such as acts of terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemics and catastrophic natural disasters. The system description explains how as a nation we will build on current efforts, many of which are already established in the law and have been in use for many years. These six components include:

  • Identifying and assessing risks;
  • Estimating capability requirements;
  • Building or sustaining capabilities;
  • Developing and implementing plans to deliver those capabilities;
  • Validating and monitoring progress made towards achieving the National Preparedness Goal; and
  • Reviewing and updating efforts to promote continuous improvement.

The six components can be internalized for the citizen, community and private sector to encompass into their own respective operational risk management strategy. The mechanisms for elevating situational awareness have improved dramatically over the years since 9/11. Citizens have prepared their own personal 72 hour kits, business organizations have created awareness programs for their members to heighten planning activities and local city and counties have trained thousands of volunteers for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

This continues to get us so close to the goal and yet so far from really understanding the reality of where we are weak and where the single points of failure still remain. Think about it. How often has your household, community or business actually tested and exercised your ability to withstand a 72 hour crisis? The odds are you haven't and therefore all your planning and preparedness will never know where to improve and what resource investment is required to achieve greater degrees of safety, security and overall resilience.

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, are our first responders prepared? A new report conducted by Capella University seeks to answer this question.

"To assess our preparedness for another disaster, Capella University partnered with leading national public service and public safety organizations, including the U.S. Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers, the American Public Health Association, the American Society for Public Administration, the Comprehensive Emergency Management Research Foundation, and the FBI National Academy Associates to conduct a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 public service and public safety professionals. We wanted to hear directly from those who would be on the front lines of the next crisis."

Key findings include:

  • 71% believe the United States is better prepared for a terrorist attack today than we were in the days before September 11, 2001.
  • 67% think the federal government and our leaders in Washington, DC, are not giving this issue enough attention.
  • 66% say their governor and state government leaders are not giving this issue enough attention.
  • 69% are worried that the United States will experience another major terrorist attack.

Regardless of the outcomes of this study, each community, state and region will be at a different degree of readiness. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out where your community is today and how to get to the next level:

  1. No Awareness
  2. Denial / Resistance
  3. Vague Awareness
  4. Preplanning
  5. Preparation
  6. Initiation
  7. Stabilization
  8. Confirmation / Expansion
  9. High Level of Community Ownership

Do you think that Houston is more prepared than Denver? Why or why not. Do you think Los Angeles is more prepared than Las Vegas? The degree to which an area has an ongoing perceived threat and vulnerability will in most cases dictate where they are on the 1-9 scale above.

Ultimately, the United States National Preparedness System’s ability to succeed, is based upon ensuring the whole community has the opportunity to contribute to its implementation to achieve the goal of a secure and resilient Nation. How often is the private sector the catalyst or the citizens community asking government to participate in their exercise, as opposed to the other way around?