The Challenge of the New Age
Edited by David H. McIntyre and William I. Hancock
The National Strategy for Homeland Security, published months after 9/11, addressed only terrorism as a concern – natural disasters were not even mentioned. But after the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, the Secretary of Homeland Security began to speak of securing our homeland in a broader scope. And by 2007, mention of natural disasters, from storms to earthquakes to bird flu, had become the first concern mentioned in his speeches. Such events figured in the ‘15 National Planning Scenarios’ used to shape plans and capabilities at the federal level. Indeed, response to natural disaster became the most popular form of homeland security exercise at state and local levels. Concern over terrorism remained the driver for many federal grants to big cities. But when it comes to state and local leaders spending their own money, response to natural disasters has become their top focus. The language used to discuss homeland security at the federal level has changed as well. Shortly after 9/11, security activities (and funding) were built around four terms: Prevention, Protection, Response and Recovery. But this placed heavy emphasis on two areas not traditionally addressed by emergency responders and emergency managers who had grown up focused on the power of nature. Prevention of natural disasters is all but impossible. (How do you prevent a hurricane?) And Protection focused on critical infrastructure unrelated to the traditional emphasis on saving lives. Before emergency-management experts came under the homeland security umbrella, their idea of Prevention and Protection was accomplished by Mitigation – changes to the...
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