Identifying and locating the source of noxious odors can be a difficult and time-consuming task. However, first responders are finding that they can use the advanced "sniffing" capability of their chemical warfare agent detectors for more than just terrorist attacks.
The former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas Security Affairs provides his own nonpartisan insights on the current state of U.S. homeland defense, comments on progress made as well as gaps that still need to be filled, and recommendations for better protecting the U.S. homeland in the future.
Federal agencies are using lessons learned from past disasters to develop the holistic and dynamic communications needed to improve behavioral changes and develop meaningful public dialogue and engagement. Social motivation, social marketing, social media, social measures, and social models are essential building blocks in the construction of a stronger, more resilient social enterprise.
The DomPrep Action Plan report includes key talking points for building and sustaining a resilient nation. On 13 November 2012, Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) - a former Coast Guard Commandant - and other practitioners from across the nation gathered to discuss ways of bolstering collaboration, sustaining collaborative networks, supporting sub-state regionalization efforts, and enabling frameworks to assist public-private initiatives. Discussions such as this DomPrep Executive Briefing are a necessary step in building and sustaining regional resilience.
High-stress situations can lead to errors in judgment. For emergency responders, such errors can mean the difference between life and death. By using government and private-sector support systems already available, responders can gain renewed confidence in their own abilities and perform their operations with greater proficiency and efficiency.
Medical countermeasures save lives, but only if they are ready and available. By combining the capabilities of pharmaceutical companies, the innovative technologies of smaller firms, and the scientific expertise of academic institutions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be in a better position to combat a future public health crisis.
The term "resilience" is often used but not always understood. By implementing the practices of business continuity, risk analysis and management, engineered systems, and supply chain management using whole of community efforts, the public and private sectors can find a common language and work toward achieving true resilience.
Resilience is about mobilizing human potential, especially at the individual citizen and local government level. Through surveys and discussions, key professional decision makers from local, state, and federal governments, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector partners have provided both qualitative and quantitative feedback for building resilient regions. DomPrep has compiled that feedback into a report that lays out a tactical plan for sustaining a resilient nation.
By following the training and preparedness efforts practiced in Israel, the United States can move toward a cohesive national strategized approach to provide line officers the ability to look beyond the single incident before them. However, individual responders also must take the initiative needed to develop and advance their own capabilities and training in order to apply those skills in extreme situations.
The terrorist use of anthrax against the United States in 2001 pointed out the nation's vulnerability to biological attack and need for rapid and sure response. Since that time, strengths and limitations of the current biodetection system have been discovered. To achieve a better preparedness posture, now is the time to reevaluate biodetection methods and build unity of effort at all levels of government.