Experts Call for National Preparedness Revamp

AFCEA International Cyber Committee team outlines emergency planning shortfalls and how to begin fixing them.

Fairfax, Virginia, UNITED STATES

Fairfax, VA, Aug. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- U.S. national security emergency plans are well documented with a disciplined approach, but their lack of coordination across agencies puts the United States in peril, says a group of government and industry experts. The country must begin to view national emergencies in a broader context instead of a narrow local or topical view, or it will fall prey to whatever major crisis strikes next, they explain.

Any comprehensive national security emergency preparedness (NSEP) capability in the United States has atrophied amid the increase of threats that could cause a catastrophic disaster across the country. These findings were summarized in a white paper issued by the AFCEA International Cyber Committee.

The document, titled “COVID-19 Compels Better NSEP Planning,” results from weeks of interviews with government officials at several levels during the COVID-19 pandemic combined with findings from academia and industry officials. The ongoing pandemic has laid bare the lack of a national NSEP policy, and the paper serves as a blueprint for NSEP for the foreseeable future, its writers say.

The best way to build a comprehensive NSEP capability is to draw from lessons learned from the Cold War and expertise from public/private partnerships. This approach would be followed up with a grading system that holds agencies accountable to Congress, the group recommends.

Of key interest to the paper’s authors was whether any of the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency critical infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Centers or Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations have been utilized in the dramatic effort to respond to COVID-19.

James P. Craft, director, Mission Support Department in the Operations Integration Directorate of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and head of the white paper project team, says the United States needs a comprehensive “whole of society approach” to planning for a full range of potential major national disasters. “It’s not just pandemic; it’s not just killer hurricanes; it’s a whole comprehensive approach that actually fosters resilience at the lowest level,” he declares.

The white paper, which includes six starting points for reviving NSEP efforts, is available online.




AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry and academia. Join online.


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