Lest We Forget!
The nation continues to confront questions presented by the 9/11 Commission Report. The report’s preface states, “September 11, 2001, was a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States. The nation was unprepared. How did this happen, and how can we avoid such a tragedy again?” Lest we forget.
The commission report was about a terrorist attack. However, many subsequent incidents in the past two decades confirm a state of unpreparedness toward a variety of threats, including kinetic, biologic, cyber, and climatic threats. Predicting probable known and unknown threats does not move the nation closer to a state of preparedness, but the National Response Framework (NRF) does. Stated very clearly in the framework’s executive summary, “The National Response Framework (NRF) provides foundational emergency management doctrine for how the nation responds to all types of incidents. The NRF is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to align key roles and responsibilities across the nation. The structures, roles, and responsibilities described in this framework can be partially or fully implemented in the context of a threat or hazard, in anticipation of a significant event, or in response to an incident.” Lest we forget.
Most will agree, because of the NRF and NIMS, the nation is better prepared today than on September 10, 2001. Professionals who study, drill, and exercise a whole of community perspective by building and sustaining capabilities provided by NIMS will prepare, protect, respond, recover, and mitigate better. This concept is proven and has been embraced by responders, receivers, emergency managers, and those with operational responsibilities. However, it seems that those in the policy ranks, including budgeteers and appropriators, have been excluded from participating and embracing the framework, especially NIMS. The past 18 months of pandemic experiences illustrate these gaps and failures. We must do a better job of incorporating policy makers into the preparedness enterprise. Lest we forget.
Disasters are local, mandating that solutions be offered and driven from the bottom up to the enterprise already created and trained. As we commemorate those who perished on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in the field of Shanksville, let us continue to remember whose who offer their lives every day to help others by practicing what is known to work.
Lest We Forget!
Martin (Marty) Masiuk