The current debate over the national debt is a stern reminder that, even in politics and economics, what goes up will almost always also come down. The same is true for the funding provided for DHS/HHS preparedness grants - which are now starting to decline in both size and number, and likely to continue on that path for several more years.
Before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, federal funding for preparedness grants was much lower than it should have been. Then it was increased exponentially. The nation is now better prepared than ever before to deal with mass-casualty incidents - and there are huge fiscal problems ahead. So major cutbacks in grant programs seem not just probable but inevitable.
There are many paths a community can take in search of a preparedness grant, but only one way to ensure that the search will be successful: Follow the Rules! This means advance planning, consulting, paying meticulous attention to all of the rules and regulations involved, and making sensible decisions every step of the way. The last requirement is the most important. Also the most difficult.
Contrary to what some citizens believe, federal preparedness grants are not "free money." Applying for such grants takes months of advance planning, hard work and close cooperation between and among numerous agencies, and a meticulous attention to detail at all times. Here is a helpful road map that may not guarantee success but will make it much more likely.
The plots and successes of recent "pirate" movies notwithstanding, the real, totally ruthless, and well armed pirates of the 21st century must be recognized for what they really are: thieves, cutthroats, and murderers - who are now working with terrorist groups. That evil coalition must be confronted fully, fearlessly, and effectively by the world's maritime powers in a total-war conflict at sea unlike any other in recorded history.
Several myths to the contrary notwithstanding, the new WBI passenger screening booths installed at U.S. airports to improve in-flight security are not only extremely safe but also both visually and morally unobjectionable. For those not convinced, there are other options, including a quick and unobtrusive pat down - in a private screening room, if requested. The overarching goal, of course, is to ensure that the friendly skies of U.S. airspace are as safe as is humanly possible.
U.S. doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are the best in the world - also among the most overworked. Fortunately, a greater share of the workload can be assumed by another highly trained & well educated group of medical professionals, the nation's pharmacists - who also will play a key role in coping with pandemics and other mass-casualty incidents and events.
Chemicals are chemicals and biologicals are biologicals, but there are some substances - particularly useful in terrorist attacks - that are a little bit of both. Here is a short list of some but by no means all of these potentially lethal substances now receiving greater attention not only from terrorist planners but also from CDC and the U.S. emergency-responder community.
Bureaucratic Abstractions vs. Private-Sector Certitudes - that is one of the more difficult problems, it says here, behind at least some of the "communications difficulties" between public and private-sector resilience professionals. Merging the two vocabularies would be a common-sense way to remove some current obstacles to achievement of the same goal.
As emergency-management and other homeland-security professionals well know, the forward-looking terrorists of the 21st century are always looking for new ways to kill large numbers of peace-loving civilians at minimum risk to themselves. After all, why murder one or two people when 100 or even 1,000 or more are available - at the same time, and in the same place?