Transportation security is the act of ensuring the protection and continued functioning of mobility systems for both people and commerce. It includes air, maritime, and all forms of surface transport. Transportation security is an enormous undertaking involving all government levels, the private sector, volunteer organizations, and the public. These organizations must work together to identify, prepare for, and respond to any threats or hazards that could affect the transportation infrastructure or the people and goods that travel within it.
A quick search through articles on DomesticPreparedness.com for the word “resilience” reveals a possible shift in focus for preparedness professionals over the years. In 2005, the Domestic Preparedness Journal published many resilience articles that focused on creating standards and plans in order to more rapidly return to normalcy. By 2010, there seemed to be a greater focus on funding, grants, and other resources needed to be able to sustain operations when disasters occur. By 2015, education, communication, and collaboration were key buzz words in articles on resilience. Then 2020 arrived along with much reflection on what could have been done better to be resilient in the face of an unprecedented event and how to endure the consequences of past decisions.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell released the agency’s “2022-2026 FEMA Strategic Plan” today, outlining a bold vision and three ambitious goals designed to address key challenges the agency faces during a pivotal moment in the field of emergency management.
The goals are to instill equity as a foundation of emergency management, lead the whole of community in climate resilience and promote and sustain a ready FEMA and prepared nation. These goals position FEMA to address the increasing range and complexity of disasters, support the diversity of communities we serve and complement the nation’s growing expectations of the emergency management community.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Many events were held to commemorate the lives that were lost and to honor those who survived yet still ran into the danger zones to save lives in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. However, one special event hosted in Washington, DC on 30 September 2021 was particularly impactful as it recounted that fateful day through firsthand accounts. Some presenters have told their stories many times over the years while others shared their heroic actions publicly for the first time in two decades. The District of Columbia’s 2021 Interoperability Summit “20 Year Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Attack on America: Never Forget,” was organized by the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency’s (HSEMA) Office of the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC), in conjunction with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Emergency Communications Division (ECD).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Screening at Speed Program announced the award of $2,527,907.76 to Vanderlande Industries Inc. of Marietta, Georgia, to develop a passenger self-screening concept design and prototype that streamlines TSA PreCheck® operations.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the launch of “Hack DHS,” a bug bounty program to identify potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities within certain DHS systems and increase the Department’s cybersecurity resilience.
On Nov. 18, President Biden signed into law the Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021 (PAFRA). PAFRA ensures that first responders and law enforcement who are disabled in the line of duty have prompt access to benefits. It also protects the death and disability benefits for their families.
During a HAZMAT response, the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Strike Force (NSF), comprised of five specialized units of first responders, are ready to rapidly deploy to the scene properly equipped to protect the public and environment. These units are unique, highly-trained teams deployable to anywhere in the country and around the world.
As climate change increases disaster risks across the country, emergency managers and government officials are beginning to implement strategies to build community resilience. FEMA Resources for Climate Resilience provides a roadmap of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs and initiatives that advance community climate resilience. FEMA Resources for Climate Resilience assists FEMA’s state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners in navigating the FEMA resources that are available to support communities in mitigating impacts of climate change.
FEMA is accepting applications for volunteers to assist with the virtual National Review Panel for the fiscal year 2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, also known as BRIC. BRIC is a competitive FEMA grant program to support states, local communities, tribes and territories. The panel reviews submitted subapplications for hazard mitigation projects that aim to reduce the risk from disasters and natural hazards.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published its 5-year strategic vision for modernizing, streamlining, and further securing air cargo transportation operations. Titled the Air Cargo Security Roadmap, the publication is designed to help TSA and air cargo industry stakeholders identify and address emerging threats and ensure the efficient flow of commerce.
The FDA’s Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan (FORIP) is an important step that the FDA is taking to enhance the speed, effectiveness, coordination, and communication of outbreak investigations.
Traditional definitions of domestic preparedness have been influenced by the Cold War and international terrorism. As the 20-year milestone of the 9/11 attack on the United States passed, domestic terrorism also has made its mark on the interpretation of domestic preparedness. It is time for a fresh look, considering pandemics, local human-caused and natural catastrophes, reoccurring threats (like wildfires, earthquakes, and cyberattacks), and crumbling domestic infrastructure. The landscape of emergency response actions and readiness of public and private agencies in a globally interconnected world has left a deep scar on domestic preparedness and how risk is evaluated both nationally and internationally.
FEMA announced 12 new members to the National Advisory Council (NAC) who will serve multi-year terms beginning Dec. 1 and will guide future recommendations centered around equity, climate change, and readiness.
FEMA published a notice in the Federal Register extending the public comment on the National Flood Insurance Program’s minimum floodplain management standards by 45 days from Dec. 13, 2021, to Jan. 27, 2022.
The standards outline the critical topics to be covered in the initial education of EMS clinicians based on the latest version of the National EMS Scope of Practice Model, as well as recent research and best practices. The high-level document defines the competencies, clinical behaviors and judgments required of EMS personnel to perform their roles.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is soliciting public comment on the need to establish centers of excellence to address research and practice needs in the area of personal protective technology (PPT), including personal protective equipment.
DHS’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced two new Security Directives and additional guidance for voluntary measures to strengthen cybersecurity across the transportation sector in response to the ongoing cybersecurity threat to surface transportation systems and associated infrastructure. These actions are among several steps DHS is taking to increase the cybersecurity of U.S. critical infrastructure.
In 2021, many questions have been raised about resilience. Is more known about resilience and have more leverage tools been retained to establish resilience at will than a decade ago? What ideas and notions were expected 10 years ago in energizing resilience tasks, activities, and operations? Has the leverage needed been acquired to apply proven strategies and operational systems for implementing post-disaster resilience with skill and confidence? Did a collective experience with mega-disasters since 2011 equip communities with new and innovative pathways to achieve resilience? The answers to these questions are far less than clear.