HOMELAND SECURITY STRATEGY: NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN

Introduction

For this paper, the student was expected to select a topic related to homeland defense and write a research paper based on the subject. This paper focuses on the topic “national response plan” specifically focusing on the national response framework, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Comprehensive Emergency Management, and the requirements of an effective National Response Framework. The paper also analyzes the role played by the National Strategy for Homeland Security and Department of Homeland Security.

National Strategy for Homeland Security was the United States’ response to the September 11, 2001, events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The National Strategy for Homeland Security is a formal government document issued by the then sitting President George W. Bush that outlined the general tactical deliberations for collaboration between the states governments, the federal government, the private sector, and ordinary citizens. The National Strategy for Homeland Security document specifically focused on dealing and managing anticipated terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other occurrences that may have a national impact. The National Strategy for Homeland Security document includes the comprehensive emergency management guideline and a National Response Framework that can be used to implement scalable responses to disasters and other incidents that cause national significance.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security has three primary objectives. The three main goals are to avert terrorist attacks inside the United States, to lessen the harm and ease recovery from attacks that may take place, and to reduce the United States’ susceptibility to terror attacks. The first steps of implementing the homeland security strategy were marked by the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a division of the United States national government that was created with the primary responsibility of responding and protecting the United States territory and protectorates from natural disasters, artificial accidents, and terror attacks (National strategy for homeland security., 2002).

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NRF and NRP

The National Response Framework also referred to as the United States’ NRF, is part of the National Strategy for Homeland Security that provides the directorial principles that facilitate preparation for a unified national response to emergencies and disasters from all levels of domestic response partners. Therefore, the National Response Framework is a response plan that ensures mobilization of domestic response partners at all levels in the United States. The National Response Framework replaced the National Response Plan in the year 2008.

The National Response Plan also referred to as the NRP, was a the United States national strategy for responding to emergencies, natural disasters, and threats of terror attacks that existed between the years 2004 and 2008. Before the establishment of the National Response Strategic Plan, the national government aggressively engaged in emergency controlling by endorsing the Congressional Relief Act of 1803 that provided relief after the Portsmouth, New Hampshire devastating fire. The national government continued to take reactive action to emergency response until the enactment of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950. A comprehensive strategic plan for responding to domestic emergencies was ratified in the year 1979 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also referred to as FEMA, was created. The Federal Emergency Management Agency initially carried out emergency response duties from some agencies with different plans. This was an important limiting factor to the national response agency. In the year 1988, the Stafford Disaster Relief and Agency Assistance Act was ratified thus empowering the Federal Emergency Management Agency to harmonize all state prepared emergency operations plans to form one national response plan.

FEMA and NRF

To ensure effective national response mobilization, the NRF uses the existing National Incident Management System, also referred to as the NIMS, and the Incident Command System (ICS). The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides the Incident Command Systems and the National Incident Management Systems required for handling emergency responses. While the response units use up local resources to manage an emergency, the National Response Framework is used to mobilize federal and state resource in response to the crisis. This ensures that operational priorities are met during emergency responses of increasing size and difficulty. The National Response Framework consists of the annexes and the core document. The NRF’s core documents cover the response actions, planning and the national preparedness architecture, and NRF implementation. The NRF emergency support function annexes include some enumerated protocols. These rules include communication, transport, firefighting, public works and engineering, and emergency management. Other protocols considered by the NRF emergency support functions are mass care, human services, emergency assistance, logistics and resource support, public health, and other medical services. Other functions may include search and rescue, public safety and security, and defense support to civil authorities.

Comprehensive Emergency Management

For the National Response Framework to be effective, a Comprehensive Emergency Management strategy should be put in place. As defined by different laws all over the United States, Comprehensive Emergency Management is explained as the carrying of all emergency functions to moderate, respond to, prepare for, and recover from emergencies and disasters. Comprehensive Emergency Management also covers aiding of victims suffering from injury and damage as a result of disasters caused by natural causes, accidental human causes, or terrorist attacks (Rabkin, 2005).

            The Comprehensive Emergency Management philosophy led to the decline of the use of the term “civil defense” in the United States. The term civil defense or civil protection was used to imply the protection of non-military citizens from military attacks from outside and within the country. Unlike civil defense, Comprehensive Emergency Management covers a wider scope of protecting the civilians from natural emergency incidents to man-made incidents such as wars and terrorist attacks (National strategy for homeland security., 2007).

Requirements of an Effective National Response Framework

Despite continuous mitigations and corrections of the national response framework, there are some condition that should be meet to make the currently used National Response Framework more efficient. Some of the issues that need to be deliberated on include the response time taken by the response units, levels involved in national resource mobilization, and management style. The style of management significantly affects the time taken by the response units and levels involved in national resource mobilization. The major shortfall of the current National Response Framework is the bureaucracy involved in the various levels of the mobilization process. The bureaucratic nature of the government may hinder rapid response to an emergency situation since extensive discussions and the various policies involved slow down response to emergencies. More direct approaches to responding to emergencies should be considered to enhance the response time. The Federal Emergency Management Agency should also consider adopting better management styles that have lesser levels of national resource mobilization in order to ensure lesser time is taken in emergency response planning.

Summary and Conclusion

This paper focuses on the national response plan in regards to the homeland security strategy. The paper is specifically focusing on the national response framework, Federal Emergency management Agency, Comprehensive Emergency Management, and the requirements of an effective National Response Framework. The paper also analyzes the role played by the National Strategy for Homeland Security and Department of Homeland Security.

It has been established that some of the primary requirement that should be considered in order to make the currently used National Response Framework more efficient include the response time taken by the response units, levels involved in national resource mobilization, and management style.

 

References

National strategy for homeland security. (2002). Washington, D. C.: Office of Homeland Security.

National strategy for homeland security. (2007). Washington, D. C.: [The White House].

Rabkin, N., (2005). Homeland Security: Agency Plans, Implementation, and Challenges. New York: Diane Publishing.

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