The hurricane season and reports of disease outbreaks – domestically and abroad – serve as reminders that there are several threats that communities face at the same time. Creating resilient communities requires an understanding that communities contend with competing priorities, and must find ways to harness their existing strengths to improve their preparedness and response capabilities.
As interdependencies between and among critical infrastructure sectors and the potential for cascading effects increase, communities must be able to recover and adapt to new normals. One organization incorporates research to help enhance communication between sectors by identifying and addressing research gaps. As threats evolve, communities with a solid framework for resilience are better prepared to update plans and adapt to new normals.
As in any community, a solid network of partnerships is needed to address the specific needs of its community members. Native American and Alaska Native populations span the nation, but face similar preparedness challenges. To address resilience gaps, a public-private sector collaborative approach was used to create a tool as a foundational document for community outreach by tribal stakeholders, as well as tribal emergency managers and others to train new staff.
Increased focus on insider threats has resulted in greater attention to background screening and automated methods to assist the vetting process for initial and continued access to secure facilities and classified information. Recent technology applications can provide investigators with an ever-increasing variety of data for screening and continued vetting. Applying this model to homeland security and emergency management, however, presents broader cultural issues, including information privacy and interoperability.
The federal Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget plan includes significant reductions to most domestic programs, and a common theme across agencies appears to be the elimination of grant programs, particularly those supporting environmental protection and monitoring. Beyond reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, other agencies involved in similar activities are also facing significant cutbacks.
As the United States embarks on new policies and a new administration, its citizens must be more vigilant now than ever before. There will continue to be an upsurge in extremist ideology and high recidivism rates among convicted terrorists who have now reengaged in violence. Rehabilitation may be the only real solution to combat this ongoing threat.
On 1 January 2017, British Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace warned that the Islamic State group (IS) has no moral qualms about carrying out a mass casualty attack with chemical weapons in Britain, and pointed to a December 2016 Europol report warning that IS may use chemical and biological (CB) weapons against European targets. The threat is growing.
In the days leading up to the 2017 U.S. presidential inauguration, word began to spread across the executive branch that significant cuts were coming to many domestic programs. However, reducing funding and resources for law enforcement could present challenges for established and future community-oriented policing efforts.
The focus of PATRIOT’s tactical level domestic response has matured to increase understanding of interagency and multidisciplinary coordination, policies, and doctrine, and to develop procedures and processes that could be adopted elsewhere. The best practices and lessons learned are relevant to any local and state emergency managers, and strengthen knowledge about how the military can provide support to civilian authorities.
Effective response to an active shooter incident requires planning and role reinforcement through training for personnel who may be affected by an incident, as well as for leaders and managers responsible for coordinating responses. For example, personnel near an active shooter need to use the appropriate response model – for example, Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) – depending on the circumstances unique to the incident.