PNSR Proposes Direct Resources and New Regional Integrated Staffs for National Preparedness System

January 15, 2010 in News, Report by admin

A new study from the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) calls for systemic reform at the regional level to strengthen the National Preparedness System (NPS). The NPS was defined by the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act (PKEMRA) of 2006.

The PNSR white paper, Recalibrating the System: Toward Efficient and Effective Resourcing of National Preparedness, cites fundamental and interrelated structural and process problems plaguing the current system. It recommends direct funding from the Federal Government—instead of resourcing through grants—for national catastrophic planning and assessments. Resourcing primarily via grants, with their oversight and reporting requirements, fosters intergovernmental relationships that can be more adversarial than collaborative and thus not optimal for unity of purpose.

The study recommends that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency finance an intergovernmental, interagency Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Staff (RCPS) in each region. State and local authorities would assign representatives to an RCPS for temporary duty and receive federal reimbursements under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility program. There would be no financial onus on the states or locals—a major and legitimate concern, especially with today’s budget deficits.

“It’s only at the regional level,” says PNSR Distinguished Fellow John F. Morton, who directed the study, “where we can get to consensus for that region. These standing regional staffs would be where federal, state, tribal, territorial, local, private sector, and non-governmental organization representatives would come together daily, from the beginning, as co-equal partners to build a bottom-up, collaborative culture of preparedness—or even resilience—and the collaborative regional programs to go with it.”

Standing RCPSs would work with existing planning, training, and exercise units in the states and at the local level to conduct catastrophic risk assessments, catastrophic operational planning and exercise validation, catastrophic capability inventories via negotiated processes through which states could identify gaps for targeting grants and other resources, and regional evaluations and self-assessments informed by regionally determined performance metrics.

To produce the study, the PNSR Homeland Security Team assembled over 20 experts, including former senior representatives from DHS and FEMA, state and local government officials, and the private sector. The report can be found here.


John Morton
(410) 263-0036