As a co-chair of the Homeland Security Policy Institute Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force – along with former FEMA Administrator David Paulison and former New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni – we released our Interim Report on Resilience this week. The report urges policymakers to develop a shared – and actionable – vision of resilience.

With the recent devastation caused by tornadoes and floods in the South and Midwest, the experience of the Japanese earthquake, and the release of Presidential Policy Directive-8: National Preparedness, we felt that it was important to share our initial findings now, rather than wait until the publication of our final report at the end of the year.

The report’s release also coincides with FEMA’s National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011), which began yesterday and simulates an earthquake along the New Madrid fault line in the nation’s midsection. As our Task Force report states, “By raising the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake – something that is likely not on the minds of many Midwesterners – the NLE can have the dual positive effect of pushing responders beyond their traditional mindsets and alerting the public at large of the risk.”

The report adds, “But ideally the exercise would go even further, by highlighting the reality that certain catastrophic events will exceed government capabilities. Therefore individuals will need to take responsibility to fill the gap between their needs and the capabilities of government.”

The report represents the first in a series of Task Force contributions this year that will offer recommendations for Federal policymakers on how to enhance national resilience.