On the day before the Labor Day weekend, the White House released the President’s latest “National Preparedness Month” Proclamation. Like last year’s, the proclamation employs the term “resilience” and even coins a new phrase, “the spirit of resilience.” While comfortable with continually repeating the word “resilience,” the White House remains unwilling to act to establish resilience as the nation’s preparedness objective and daily operating condition. Rhetoric is not results. The repeated use of the word “resilience” will not build a resilient nation.

Like its predecessor, which called for “families and communities to be resilient through times of hardship and to respond to adversity in the same way America always has – by picking ourselves up and continuing the task of keeping our country strong and safe,” the latest proclamation demonstrates a decidedly defensive and resilience-free mindset. Its content is void of even a call for continuous innovation in national preparedness, much less implementation of operationally proven resilience-based preparedness solutions.

Among other conditions, the continuing absence of national resilience is evidenced by:

  • The growing consequences inflicted by the continuing failures of America’s protected infrastructure(s);
  • Repeated warnings of impending doom from cyber predators; and
  • Calls for presidentially mandated cyber standards to halt global, technologically driven/speed-of-light threats to America’s highly exploitable infrastructures and every American reliant upon them.

Recent compromises of America’s offensive operations in cyberspace have only made a steadily worsening infrastructure situation terrible. The apparently deliberate disclosures of some of America’s most sensitive cyberspace operations must (among other consequences) be viewed as having provided legitimacy to the activities of and consequences wrought by global cyber predators.

Even while acknowledging them in the Proclamation, the Administration’s rejection of the lessons of history is clear. Its continuing unwillingness to learn, continuously adapt and authentically apply nationally unifying, operationally proven resilience-based methodologies, metrics and technologies to preempt consequences, is best described as National Preparedness Half-Measure, maintenance of the status quo, and irresponsible. Ronald Reagan said it best: “Status quo you know is Latin for the mess we are in.”

Jeff Gaynor blogs on critical infrastructure and national resilience. Read More