Cybersecurity is a very complex issue that is difficult to address due to the highly technical nature of the threat, insufficient experienced cybersecurity personnel, and the significant resources required. Federal, state and local governments, and the private sector should work together to generate sound policy solutions, operational coordination, and mutually agreed upon objectives that ensure the security of connected networks and systems without sacrificing privacy and economic values.
There is a growing sense of urgency and concern for the fragility of critical infrastructure in the face of the growing number of catastrophic natural and human-made events. As a nation we must address an aging infrastructure that leaves communities vulnerable. We must adopt a comprehensive resilience plan, harnessing both public and private resources, to re-invest in the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Communities from coast to coast are vulnerable to the effects of changing climate conditions and extreme weather. The Consortium is primarily concerned with the actions, policies, and strategies that are necessary to mitigate, respond to, and recover from its consequences.
Recently, the nation has had to prepare or respond to threats like the H1N1 influenza pandemic, SARS, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Ebola, and Zika Virus Disease. These cases have demonstrated an increasing need for a well-integrated public health and emergency response system to address future infectious disease outbreaks.
Our challenge as a community is to organize, establish policy, train, educate and resource to better react to events and scenarios that are outside the norm before they occur. Government must stop planning for disasters of the past and focus more on the disasters of tomorrow. This will require new approaches, innovative thinking, and shorter timeframes of acceptance for new technologies.
There is a persistent threat of attack facing the U.S. from the Islamic State, Al Qaida, returning foreign fighters and homegrown violent extremists. The face of terrorism continues to evolve and change, and the U.S. must be able to recognize, understand, and adapt to ensure that the actions we take are not only effective but they do not unintentionally create more long term issues as we attempt to achieve short term objectives.
Immigration and refugee policies are complicating national security and homeland security planning and preparedness measures. The divergence of views on the specific policies and strategies necessary is a challenge that must be overcome. Leadership at all levels must make real reform a priority to move from debate and conversation to action.
Sustained and Flexible Grant Funding
This nation has made great strides in improving our safety and security. Despite progress, our current system lacks the agility to adapt swiftly or convert ideas into action. Sustained grant funding for all hazards preparedness is necessary to strengthen the nation’s homeland security. State and local governments know their jurisdictions best and need the flexibility to set priorities, design solutions, and adapt to rapidly changing conditions without unnecessary bureaucracy.
Effective Information Sharing
Effective information collection and sharing between all levels of government, the private sector and the public is an essential tool to assure diverse stakeholders continue to collaborate on emerging threats. Unless formal, advanced information collection and sharing structures exist among all the constituencies of the homeland security environment, new threats or hazards will expand in the gaps in information sharing and will slow down an effective response.
Build Capabilities and Reduce Costs
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is the nation’s interstate mutual aid mechanism for sharing resources across state lines. This is becoming increasingly important as more non-traditional disasters are occurring which don’t rise to the level of a Stafford Act declaration but still require additional resources and assistance. In addition, EMAC provides a cost savings to the federal government as state and local resources are oftentimes more readily available and cost effective.
For More Information
For more information, contact the NEMA office at www.nemaweb.org
(859) 244-8233 or visit the NHSC page on the NEMA website at
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