Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disaster Recovery and National Resilience

This is the first posting for a weekly blog that discusses current issues that I am encountering in my work around the country.

I plan to keep it short and to the point and refer you to other references or articles where appropriate. I will also be writing more in-depth analysis on these topics for other publications like the Domestic Preparedness Journal.

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the Heritage Foundation for the Fourth Annual Consortium for Homeland Defense and Security in America that examined Homeland Security’s Wicked Problems.

Mark Debosier from the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Division and myself were on a panel moderated by Matt Mayer from Ohio's Buckeye Institute dealing with Disaster Recovery.

I touched on three themes in my talk:

1. National Recovery Doctrine is a major gap for large scale disaster recovery.

2. States must reassert their responsibility for recovery and empower the private sector to help them.

3. There is a strong linkage between disaster recovery and infrastructure resilience.

Since my May 2009 lecture at Heritage, which focused on Recovery as a key piece of Unfinished Preparedness Business at FEMA and an August 2009 article in Domestic Preparedness Journal about a lack of Recovery Doctrine, there has been an encouraging public process launched by the White House and DHS/FEMA to develop a National Disaster Recovery Framework. The details are available at http://www.disasterrecoveryworkinggroup.gov/ along with 16 probing questions for public input.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that my speaking about it influenced the process, I'm just glad it is happening.

I also advocated that Governors must reassert their authority and take charge of recovery and pre-incident recovery planning. In addition, each state should have a State Disaster Housing Plan that would be a requirement to receive HUD-Community Development Block Grants.

Finally, I spoke about the groundbreaking work that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is doing on Infrastructure Resilience. It has published a set of Guiding Principles for National Infrastructure that is now a companion to its Infrastructure Report Card. The ASCE has a speakers bureau to get the word out on the Principles and there will be more to follow.

I'll have a lot more to say on this topic in future weeks.

Thanks for checking in.