Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is mad as hell. Joining him in his anger are the congressional delegations from New York and New Jersey, who are enraged at the last minute maneuvering by House Speaker John Boehner to not act upon a $27 billion dollar aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. New York and New Jersey members had been shepherding the package through legislative processes for weeks, but when it came time to vote, some of the legislators in the nation’s capitol literally walked away. It’s no wonder Congress has the dismal approval rating it does.
January 2nd, 2013 - by Rich Cooper
Over the past several days, we’ve seen some remarkable examples of leadership in times of challenge. For as good as all of these efforts may be, however, there is one decision that makes no sense to me. The decision to proceed with the New York City Marathon this weekend is the wrong decision. Let’s put a few things on the table here first.
The images from Hurricane Sandy are jaw dropping. From flooded subway stations, waterfalls into the Ground Zero area, destroyed piers, boardwalks and homes, Hurricane Sandy – “The Frankenstorm” – was a big one that Mid-Atlantic States, New Jersey and NYC have long feared. Right now, we don’t know the full costs in lost lives or destroyed infrastructure and homes, but we do know this – it’s going to take some time to get things back to any sense of normal in the affected regions.
September 11th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
For anyone alive eleven years ago, September 11 will always be a date on the calendar when you immediately remember where you were and what you were doing when all hell broke loose. History records many unforgettable days, but as the rawness of that day’s memories ebbs, the lessons learned continue to ripple in many ways. In the discussion on safety and security, one of the often-overlooked aspects is the impact that day had on business.
August 27th, 2012 -
By Jeanne Meserve
Isaac may be a big and dangerous storm, but it will not be another Katrina. No way. Katrina chewed up large chunks of the Gulf and spawned the flooding of New Orleans, but the failure to properly prepare and respond compounded the tragedy. This time there will not be people abandoned in nursing homes and hospitals to die. Evacuations will be called early, with accommodations for people without transportation.
I recently wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner’s monthly education section. Using the recent East Coast storms as an example, I highlight how education can make the nation more resilient for future disasters.
With the recent heat waves and storms that have impacted millions of people throughout the United States, much is being written about the nation’s inability to prevent and recover quickly from destructive events. I am not yet ready to start placing blame – there are lots of things I should have done to be prepared. Individual responsibility leads to community preparedness. Here are some thoughts the disruptions bring to mind.
June 11th, 2012 - by Daniel Kaniewski
Events of the past decade—including 9/11, the anthrax attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic—have shown that public health and emergency management efforts are interconnected and often overlap in time of crisis. In a report just released by our Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force, we believe that the legacy missions of public health and emergency management must be synchronized for disaster preparedness and response efforts to be effective.
April 30th, 2012 - by James Carafano
It is always difficult to fully absorb the lessons from wide-scale crises in the wake of the catastrophe. Information is often incomplete or contradictory, or still evolving. Learning these lessons, however, provides an opportunity to address the shortfalls of catastrophic disaster response.
April 2nd, 2012 -
In Security Debrief’s annual April Fools coverage, we’ve collected some stories the rest of the media somehow missed.
I have to admit, when I got the e-mail notice that DHS Secretary Napolitano had established the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience, I went, “Huh? What’s this about?” I drew a complete blank at the name, but then remembered – Rick Rescorla was an American hero long before he safely evacuated over 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees from the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. DHS and the Secretary got this absolutely right when they selected Rick Rescorla as the namesake for the resilience award.
Major disasters are relatively rare in Cyprus. Other than a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in 1996 that did not result in any casualties (but was the largest since 1953), annual wildfires and droughts, the island nation has generally avoided the brunt of manmade or natural disasters. But alas, tranquillity breeds complacency. In 2011, 98 containers of improperly stored explosives exploded in Cyprus with devastating impacts on human life, infrastructure and the Cypriot economy. Now is the time for Cyprus to address the hazards it faces.
March 20th, 2012 - by Guest Contributor
By Jay Alan
The one-year anniversary of the Tohoku Japan earthquake brings renewed attention to the devastation and the vast recovery still facing the Japanese people. Our hearts and thoughts remain with the victims and families. But the tragedy should underscore the need for us to maintain focus, from an emergency preparedness perspective, not only to earthquake danger but also the danger of a tsunami. Yes, even in the United States.
By Jay Alan
At some point during my day I can usually see the scaffolding atop the landmark National Cathedral here in Washington, D.C. — a reminder of damage from the August earthquake. And a reminder that disaster can strike anywhere at anytime. We all know and preach the doctrine of preparedness, but building resiliency and knowledge takes time. This effort takes another great step forward on Feb. 7. The Great Central U.S. Shakeout will occur at 10:15am CST, with (as of this writing) 1.7 million people in nine states practicing the ‘duck, cover and hold’ earthquake drill.
A recent report by the UK-based think tank Chatham House describes the challenges associated with preparing for high-impact, low-probability events as well as potential global impacts. On the latter point, the report highlights how impacts will be felt well beyond an immediate disaster area, with the effects reverberating around the world because of our interconnected, global economy. In short, the best we can do is allocate resources based on risk assessments, and have a robust all-hazards plan to address the Black Swans that we could not have anticipated.
December 1st, 2011 - by Sam Rosenfeld
The LAPD operation to clear the park in City Hall was noteworthy for its change in style and was the correct conclusion to what has been a policing operation characterized by engagement and discretion by the police. This and other examples of policing Occupy Protests must be examined closely by the departments that will host National Significant Security Events next year, extracting the lessons that will apply to certain sections of the protest community, and creating effective plans for the those truly violent demonstrators who were patently absent from Occupy LA.
Earlier this month, I was at Rutgers University and fortunate to hear retired U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen speak at the 2nd annual Maritime Risk Symposium. In his address, Adm. Allen developed a theme in discussing resilience that I believe bears greater and deeper discussion. He discussed the Joplin, Missouri, tornado devastation this past spring. At the center of this lesson is a school teacher – it is the story of Dr. C.J. Huff, the young teacher-turned-school superintendent who demonstrated resilience in practice.
The newest threat to police from hardline protestors is “doxing” – the photographing of police and publishing their personal details, and sometimes that of their families, to the Internet. This tactic has been used to attempt to intimidate officers during events with protestors calling out officers’ names as they film and telling them they will be “doxed.” This tactic is an import from the hardline protest movements in Britain and should be of significant concern to police at all levels of operations and command, although it does have a very simple remedy.
The Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force released its latest in a series of reports intended to inform policymakers on issues surrounding the achievement of national resilience. The report, entitled “Operationalizing Resilience,” recommends that policymakers use a systems-based approach to developing the integrated frameworks associated with the National Preparedness System called for in PPD-8. The Task Force also recommends that risk management practices be used as the underlying business case for preparedness efforts at all levels and across all sectors.
October 4th, 2011 - by Jeff Gaynor
In the wake of “National Preparedness Month,” over the weekend the first edition of the National Preparedness Goal (NPG) was released. The NPG correctly recognizes resilience as a fundamental component of national preparedness – a desired outcome. The issue, however, is not what America can do but rather what America will do. There can be little doubt that since 9/11, America is far more physically protected. However, contrary to the assertion in the NPG, and as protected infrastructure failures and nature-driven consequences continue to demonstrate, America is anything but more prepared.