Friday, June 20, 2008

Disaster Preparedness: Status Update

Shameless linking:

HSToday does a good job summarizing a number of recent reviews of the federal disaster preparedness system.

Shameless quoting of a few key points:

DHS “needs to better integrate stakeholders in its revision of key policy documents, particularly the National Response Framework,” stated William O. Jenkins, Jr., director of GAO homeland security and justice issues.

[In] the National Pandemic Strategy and Implementation Plan, [GAO] found that there are numerous shared leadership roles and responsibilities, leaving uncertainty about how the federal government would lead preparations for and response to a pandemic.

[G]iven what a good many authorities – including federal preparedness insiders – have told about preparedness problems throughout the federal government (see’s reporting on emergency medical care, pandemic planning, and FEMA disaster preparedness), the ability of the federal government to adequately respond to a major and catastrophic disaster or crisis clearly is in doubt - despite the fact that the government's readiness today is clearly far, far better than it was just a few years ago.

"There is a real concern among the state homeland security directors around the country that there are people in the federal government who want to put the interests of the accountants ahead of the interests of our citizens. That would be a grave mistake," the subcommittee was told by Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director, James M. Walker, Jr.
It's not all bad news, though it may seem so from the excerpts above. DHS is moving forward slowly, slowly...

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