Obama orders new review of US national preparedness

Obama signs policy directive for Resilience review
President Barack Obama has signed a new presidential policy directive (PPD-8) thataims  to deliver a full review and consequently a more streamlined approach national preparedness policy in the US in the wake of Katrina, H1N1 and the Japan Earthquake.

Brian Kamoie, senior director for preparedness policy on the White House National Security Staff, states that many incidents were examined during the directive’s development, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 as well as Hurricane Katrina. The federal government included 24 national associations representing a range of stakeholders and disciplines in the review of the national preparedness policy.

The PPD aims to change the landscape moving away from requirements and instead focus on the building the capabilities the nation needs to confront any challenge. He says “Capabilities defined by specific and measurable objectives are the cornerstone of preparedness”.  Kamoie added, “Rather than rigid approaches that apply only in certain scenarios (if specific assumptions come true), a focus on capabilities will enable integrated, flexible and agile all-hazards efforts tailored to what we know are unique circumstances of any given threat, hazard or actual event.”

He illustrated the need for adaptability and flexibility through the example of search and rescue and medical surge capability that enables responders to respond to a wide range of incidents regardless of what caused the emergency.

Brian Kamoie Senior Director for Preparedness Policy, White House National Security StaffCommentators have stated that the work surrounding the directive should not focus on one-size-fits-all standard because communities and organisations have different needs that emanate from the risks they face.

In responding to this Kamoie said “the focus on capabilities will drive an evolution of our planning efforts, identifying how we can most effectively mix and match our capabilities where needed to be the most agile and flexible in our approach,”.
Brain Kamoie 

The stakeholders also stressed the need for the the guidance and plans that are produced to be streamlined and effective. Kamoies’ response stressed the PPD was geared to produce more effective capabilities that were adaptable and responsive to the contexts around events. 
It will be interesting to see how closely the review team will look at the Business Continuity dimensions of organisational planning for Resilience and Preparedness bearing in mind the relatively recent announcement of the ANSI BCM.01 Standard.
We hope that this directive will add further impetus to the adoption of Business Continuity management across the States across a greater range of sectors and organisation sizes.