Two essays publishing this month expand the debate over the emergency response aspect of homeland security.
Mac Kemp argues that emergency medical services are a vital component of homeland security and as such the role of EMS needs to be expanded. In “EMS and Homeland Security” he recommends five ways in which EMS personnel can make a greater contribution by (1) gathering on-scene intelligence, (2) providing medical intelligence within fusion centers, (3) disseminating medical intelligence briefs, (4) acting as the lead in developing multi-disciplinary mass casualty response plans, and (5) contributing data to current syndromic surveillance systems to provide earlier warning of a pandemic or terrorist incident.
In “Leveraging Emergency Notification Alerts” Michael Leiva suggests the efficacy of emergency services could be improved with either the creation of a new alert system or by changing the criteria of the current Emergency Alert System. Leveraging the existing Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) depends on the willingness of government officials and emergency managers to become more proactive, seek IPAWS accreditation for their organizations or agencies, and establish a standard definition of what constitutes an emergency disaster.
Also in June, we are pleased to offer two book reviews. Robert J. Bunker reviews Border Security by James Phelps, Jeff Dailey and Monica Koenigsberg (Carolina Academic Press, 2014) and Matthew Magolan reviews The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov (Doubleday, 2007).
Coordination, cooperation, and new ways of looking at old problems are the underlying themes of the essays and articles published this month by Homeland Security Affairs.
Are the goals of the current presidential policy on national preparedness (PPD-8) too ambitious? This is the question posed by Jerome H. Kahan in “Preparedness Revisited: W(h)ither PPD-8?” He argues that the initiative may be overwhelmed by powerful analytic difficulties and/or governance-related impediments. To avert this outcome, Kahan suggests the administration needs to improve stakeholder engagement, fix problems in the current National Preparedness Report and develop a “do-it-yourself” kit for non-federal and private users implementing the National Preparedness System. Even these measures, Kahan warns, may not be enough to address “a very wicked, wicked problem in seeking to develop a truly strategic view of the nation’s preparedness.”
Moving from the general issue of preparedness to the specifics of preparing first responders, Tracy L. Frazzano and G. Matthew Snyder introduce the concept of Hybrid Targeted Violence (HTV) – events involving the intentional use of force to cause physical injury using multifaceted weapons and tactics. Such events, the authors argue, require cooperative strategies that are beyond the capacity of a single first responder discipline. The concept as presented in “Hybrid Targeted Violence: Challenging Conventional ‘Active Shooter’ Response Strategies” is intended to foster a collective change in mind-set within and across all first responder disciplines, creating a whole community response to more effectively respond to HTV events.
Turning from violence specifically aimed at people to the protection of critical infrastructure, Richard White examines current problems and underlying challenges to developing strategic direction for protecting such infrastructure. In “Towards a Unified Homeland Security Strategy: An Asset Vulnerability Model” (AVM), White introduces a model for overcoming these challenges that could, he claims, provide a coordinating framework to facilitate strategic direction. He shows how this policy framework would extend AVM protection to both critical infrastructure and domestic chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) stockpiles “supporting interagency coordination protecting both sets of assets under a unified homeland security strategy.”
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