U.S. Makes Progress in Building Preparedness Capabilities, Report Says

The 2013 National Preparedness Report says planning and intelligence sharing have improved, while infrastructure systems and public-private partnerships need addressing.

by News Staff / May 31, 2013
Illustration by Tom McKeith

The 2013 National Preparedness Report (NPR), released May 30, outlined areas of “national strength” in the United States’ progress toward delivering the 31 core capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal, part of Presidential Policy Directive 8.

Planning, operational coordination, intelligence and information sharing and operational communications were highlighted as strengths, while infrastructure systems and public-private partnerships were areas tabbed as needing national improvement.

The report states that in 2012, 85 percent of states rated their emergency operations planning as adequate to fulfill the missions intended, and 61 percent of states involved the whole community in developing those plans. The whole community consists of nongovernmental organizations, the private sector and groups representing special needs populations.

In 2012 there were 900,000 completions of introductory National Incident Management System and Incident Command courses. In addition, 10 of 11 federal agencies indicated that they use NIMS to manage incidents, suggesting improved operational coordination, according to the report.

The report suggests that the network of fusion centers and joint terrorism task forces continued to mature and that new strategies for federal interagency governance structures improve information sharing. In citing operational communications as a strength, the report said that 50 percent of states and territories had completed development of State Emergency Communications Plans, and that the nation had moved toward development of a nationwide public safety broadband system.

As for the areas where improvement is needed, the National Preparedness Report said that Hurricane Sandy and other events from last year pointed to the need for enhancing resilience of both the physical and cyber infrastructures. It said the disclosure of cyberincidents involving critical infrastructure systems rose by more than 50 percent in 2012.

Public-private partnerships were another area deemed in need of improvement. The report suggested that challenges remain in the long-term sustainability of partnerships.

Other areas cited as having made progress are cybersecurity, recovery-focused capabilities and integration of individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs.

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