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Homeland Security

National Strategy for Homeland Security

Ensuring Long-Term Success

Preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks; protecting the American people, critical infrastructure, and key resources; and responding to and recovering from those incidents that do occur are enduring homeland security responsibilities. In order to help fulfill those responsibilities over the long term, we will continue to strengthen the principles, systems, structures, and institutions that cut across the homeland security enterprise and support our activities to secure the Homeland. Ultimately, this will help ensure the success of our Strategy to secure the Nation.

RISK MANAGEMENT

The assessment and management of risk underlies the full spectrum of our homeland security activities, including decisions about when, where, and how to invest in resources that eliminate, control, or mitigate risks. In the face of multiple and diverse catastrophic possibilities, we accept that risk – a function of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences – is a permanent condition. We must apply a risk-based framework across all homeland security efforts in order to identify and assess potential hazards (including their downstream effects), determine what levels of relative risk are acceptable, and prioritize and allocate resources among all homeland security partners, both public and private, to prevent, protect against, and respond to and recover from all manner of incidents. A disciplined approach to managing risk will help to achieve overall effectiveness and efficiency in securing the Homeland. In order to develop this discipline, we as a Nation must organize and help mature the profession of risk management by adopting common risk analysis principles and standards, as well as a professional lexicon.

CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS

Our entire Nation shares common responsibilities in homeland security. In order to help prepare the Nation to carry out these responsibilities, we will continue to foster a Culture of Preparedness that permeates all levels of our society – from individual citizens, businesses, and non-profit organizations to Federal, State, local, and Tribal government officials and authorities. This Culture rests on four principles.

The first principle of our Culture of Preparedness is a shared acknowledgement that creating a prepared Nation will be an enduring challenge. As individual citizens we must guard against complacency, and as a society we must balance the sense of optimism that is fundamental to the American character with a sober recognition that future catastrophes will occur. The certainty of future calamities should inform and motivate our preparedness, and we will continue to emphasize the responsibility of the entire Nation to be flexible and ready to cope with a broad range of challenges.

The second principle is the importance of individual and collective initiative to counter fundamental biases toward reactive responses and approaches. Our Culture, therefore, must encourage and reward innovation and new ways of thinking as well as better align authority and responsibility so that those who are responsible for a mission or task have the authority to act.

The third principle is that individual citizens, communities, the private sector, and non-profit organizations each perform a central role in homeland security. Citizen and community preparedness are among the most effective means of securing the Homeland, and leadership must continue at all levels to promote and strengthen their preparedness, including through public dialogue and specialized programs such as the "Ready" campaign, the Nation's public service initiative for individual and corporate preparedness (see ready.gov for more information). All Americans must share in the full range of homeland security activities, including prevention and protection, but it is particularly important that we all take responsibility for increasing the likelihood that we can survive an incident and care for our own basic needs in the immediate aftermath. As more Americans contribute to homeland security through self-reliance and mutual assistance, we reduce the burden on our emergency responders so they can focus on those most in need.

We also will continue to encourage the preparedness of other homeland security stakeholders, including private sector and non-profit groups such as non-governmental organizations and faith-based groups and, whenever appropriate, incorporate them as full partners into our national preparedness efforts across all homeland security disciplines. The private sector is particularly important in this endeavor. As highlighted throughout this Strategy, the private sector is the Nation's primary provider of goods and services and the owner and operator of approximately 85 percent of our critical infrastructure. It is an essential partner in ensuring structural and operational resilience that protects the American people, establishing supply chain security to help deny terrorist weapons and material entry into the Homeland, and reporting suspicious activities at work sites that could uncover and ultimately help disrupt terrorist activity. The private sector also is a critical partner in rebuilding communities devastated or severely affected by a catastrophic incident as well as in fielding scientific and technological advancements that can help secure the Homeland. Due to the multiple and essential roles the private sector plays across all areas of homeland security, continued collaboration and engagement with the private sector to strengthen preparedness is imperative.

The fourth principle of our Culture of Preparedness is the responsibility of each level of government in fostering a prepared Nation. Although Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments will have roles and responsibilities unique to each, our Culture must continue to embrace the notion of partnership among all levels of government. Built upon a foundation of partnerships, common goals, and shared responsibility, the creation of our Culture of Preparedness is an enduring touchstone for homeland security.

HOMELAND SECURITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

In order to continue strengthening the foundations of a prepared Nation, we will establish and institutionalize a comprehensive Homeland Security Management System that incorporates all stakeholders. Relevant departments and agencies of the Federal Government must take the lead in implementing this system, and State, local, and Tribal governments are highly encourage to ultimately adopt fully compatible and complementary processes and practices as part of a full-scale national effort.

Our current approach to managing homeland security has focused on doctrine and planning through the National Preparedness Guidelines (NPG). Called for in Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8, issued on December 17, 2003, the NPG delineates readiness targets, priorities, standards for preparedness assessments and strategies, and a system for assessing the Nation's overall level of preparedness to prevent, protect against, and respond to and recover from incidents. The NPG aligns national efforts by using national planning scenarios that represent a wide range of catastrophic terrorist attacks and natural disasters that would stretch the Nation's prevention, protection, and response capabilities. Those scenarios form the basis of the 37 essential capabilities, identified in the NPG and the accompanying Target Capabilities List, that must be developed or maintained, in whole or in part, by various levels of government across our homeland security efforts. In this manner, the NPG constitutes a capabilities-based preparedness process for making informed decisions about managing homeland risk and prioritizing homeland security investments across disciplines, jurisdictions, regions, and levels of government, helping us to answer how prepared we are, how prepared we need to be, and how we prioritize efforts to close the gap.

We must build on this current process in order to establish a more deliberate and comprehensive system that will ensure unity of effort and help maximize success as we work to prevent and disrupt terrorism, protect the American people, critical infrastructure and key resources, and respond to and recover from incidents that do occur. This new Homeland Security Management System (depicted in Figure 1) will involve a continuous, mutually reinforcing cycle of activity across four phases.

  • Phase One: Guidance. The first phase in our Homeland Security Management System encompasses overarching homeland security guidance. It is the foundation of our system, and it must be grounded in clearly articulated and up-to-date homeland and relevant national security policies, with coordinated supporting strategies, doctrine, and planning guidance flowing from and fully synchronizing with these policies. Accordingly, we will update, clarify, and consolidate, where necessary, homeland and national security presidential directives and other key policies, all of which encompass high-level executive articulations of the broad homeland security goals we must achieve.

  • Phase Two: Planning. The second phase is a deliberate and dynamic system that translates our policies, strategies, doctrine, and planning guidance into a family of strategic, operational, and tactical plans. These plans should be coordinated with relevant stakeholders, consistent with the fundamental roles and responsibilities of local, Tribal, State, and Federal governments bring to bear all appropriate instruments of national power and influence, assign activities to specific homeland security actors, and appropriately sequence these activities against a timeline for implementation.

Strategic plans educate and drive resource requirements and capabilities, laying the foundation for more detailed operational and tactical plans. Based on the resource and capability requirements identified in strategic plans, operational and tactical plans prescribe the actions of all applicable stakeholders arranged in time and space in order to achieve specific goals. For the Homeland Security Management System to be effective and address long-range challenges across multiple disciplines, all homeland security partners should develop a planning capability that may also be employed during times of crisis.

Figure 1

Requirements and capabilities within the planning phase of our system also must place particular emphasis on training and education so that homeland security professionals not only acquire the specific functional skills that are needed to successfully execute operational plans but also understand the broader strategic context in which these plans will be executed. Leadership development must be emphasized in this education and training process, because planning and execution across a wide array of communities, organizational structures, and professions requires specific leadership skills. The second phase ultimately culminates in tactical plans by homeland security partners that describe the specific field-level activities they will undertake to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to them in the operational plan.

Investing in Intellectual and Human Capital

In order to ensure the success of the Homeland Security Management System, our Nation must further develop a community of homeland security professionals. This requires establishing multidisciplinary education in homeland and relevant national security policies and strategies; the planning process; execution of operations and exercises; and overall assessment and evaluation. Furthermore, this should include an understanding and appreciation of appropriate regions, religions, cultures, legal systems, and languages. Education must continue outside the classroom as well – in order to enhance knowledge and learning, build trust and familiarity among diverse homeland security practitioners, break down organizational stovepipes, and advance the exchange of ideas and best practices, we must continue to develop interagency and intergovernmental assignments and fellowship opportunities, tying them to promotions and professional advancement. Executive Order 13434 of May 17, 2007 ("National Security Professional Development") and the resulting National Strategy for the Development of Security Professionals are essential steps forward in meeting these educational needs, and we will continue to build on these endeavors to ensure that we have the necessary depth and breadth of intellectual and human capital across all levels of homeland security partnerships and disciplines.

  • Phase Three: Execution. The third phase in the Homeland Security Management System encompasses the execution of operational and tactical-level plans. This may occur as actual operations in response to real-world events or may happen as part of an exercise, including through the National Exercise Program, that allows us to practice the plan and ensure all actors fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

  • Phase Four: Assessment and Evaluation. The fourth phase involves the continual assessment and evaluation of both operations and exercises. This phase of the system will produce lessons learned and best practices that must be incorporated back into all phases of the Homeland Security Management System. This sequence of activities ensures our highly adaptive system reflects current realities and remains responsive to a dynamic, changing homeland security environment.

    Because homeland security is a shared responsibility, the Federal Government must provide leadership and guidance for non-Federal partners across the four phases of the Homeland Security Management System. For the Homeland Security Management System to succeed, Federal dollars must be allocated based on constantly improving risk assessments and on accountability for results; once allocated, funds must be used to support or develop operational plans and their derivative requirements and capabilities. In addition, our Nation still faces the challenge of developing tools for assessing our overall security posture and measuring the effectiveness of Federal assistance. We therefore must develop assessment tools that measure not only State, local, and Tribal response capabilities but also capabilities in support of our prevention and protection goals. These tools must recognize and reward partnership with and among neighboring jurisdictions and regions and all levels of government.

INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

While our Homeland Security Management System provides a framework for integrating four essential phases in a deliberate process to secure the Homeland, there will be times when incidents force the homeland security community to compress this cycle of activity and assume a more crisis-oriented posture. Decision-making during crises and periods of heightened concern, however, is different from decision-making during a steady-state of activity, and we must develop a comprehensive approach that will help Federal, State, local, and Tribal authorities manage incidents across all homeland security efforts.

Our approach will build upon the current National Incident Management System (NIMS). An outgrowth of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5), issued on February 28, 2003, NIMS focuses largely on stakeholders in the discipline of response. Incidents, however, are not limited to natural and man-made disasters that strike the Homeland. They also include, for example, threats developing overseas, law enforcement and public health actions and investigations, and even specific protective measures taken at critical infrastructure sites, for example. In order to realize the full intent of HSPD-5, our new approach to incident management must apply not only to response and recovery but also to the prevention and protection phases of an incident as well. Federal efforts must be directed toward coordination of resources across sectors (public, private, and non-profit), disciplines, and among Federal, State, local, and Tribal officials.

Principles and Requirements of Incident Management

Incident Command System
Unified Command
Crisis Action Planning Resources
Situational Awareness
Prioritization of Information
Multi-Agency Coordination Centers
Skilled Leaders and Partners
Training and Exercises

Incident management rests on a core set of common principles and requirements. The first of these is an Incident Command System, which provides the overall structure for managing an incident. Our current system for incident command has five major functional areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration. Although a sixth area – intelligence – is currently applied on an ad hoc basis, we must institutionalize this area throughout our new approach in support of prevention and protection activities. Unified Command is a second core principle. The Federal Government must fully adopt and implement this principle, which is commonly used at the State and local levels and provides the basis from which multiple agencies can work together effectively to manage an incident by ensuring that all decisions will be based upon mutually agreed upon objectives and plans, regardless of the number of entities or jurisdictions involved.

Crisis action planning is a third key principle in our approach to incident management. This planning process takes existing contingency plans and procedures and rapidly adapts them to address the requirements of the current crisis or event of concern in a compressed timeframe. We must ensure that all stakeholders across all homeland security disciplines have the ability to transition quickly from contingency planning to crisis action planning. They also must be able to provide resources – a fourth requirement – in support of their plans and activities, and we call on all stakeholders to have predetermined capabilities available on a short deployment timeline.

Interoperable and Resilient Communications

Our Nation continues to confront two distinct communications challenges: interoperability and survivability.   Unimpeded and timely flow of information in varying degrees across multiple operational systems and between different disciplines and jurisdictions is critical to command, control, and coordination of operational activities.  To achieve interoperability, we must have compatible equipment, standard operating procedures, planning, mature governance structures, and a collaborative culture that enables all necessary parties to work together seamlessly.   Survivable communications infrastructure is even more fundamental.   To achieve survivability, our national security and emergency preparedness communications systems must be resilient – either able to withstand destructive forces regardless of cause or sufficiently redundant to suffer damage and remain reliable.  Without the appropriate application of interoperable communications technologies, standards, and governance structures, effective and safe incident management will be hindered. Although much progress has been made, effective communication during major disasters requiring multi-jurisdictional coordination depends on continued improvement to our Nation's communications systems.

The maintenance of situational awareness through timely and accurate information is a fifth core principle integral to incident management. It requires continuous sharing, monitoring, verification, and synthesis of information to support informed decisions on how to best manage threats, potential threats, disasters, or events of concern. In order to help facilitate situational awareness and decision- making, we must prioritize incident information – a sixth requirement. While timely information is valuable, it also can be overwhelming. We must be able to identify what is required to assist decision makers and then rapidly summarize and prioritize the information we receive from multiple reporting systems. In order to be successful, our new approach to incident management also must have an information management system that integrates key information and defines national information requirements.

A seventh requirement of incident management consists of the various multi-agency coordination centers that exist throughout all levels of government. They are essential to maintaining situational awareness and overall incident management, and they assist in the flow of information, the reporting of actions and activities, and ultimately the development of a common operating picture, but they also are hubs for coordinating operational activities during an incident. Examples include State, local, and Tribal emergency operations centers; State, local, and Tribal fusion centers; the National Operations Center, National Infrastructure Coordination Center, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Response Coordination Center (all part of the Department of Homeland Security); the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Strategic Information and Operations Center and National Joint Terrorist Task Force (both part of the Department of Justice); and the National Counterterrorism Center (part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence). We will continue to develop and strengthen these centers and systems to ensure that activities are better coordinated and related information is shared among multiple agencies.

People exist at the heart of our refocused incident management approach, and deploying people with the skills necessary to manage each incident is the eighth key principle. Building on the professional development initiatives that are part of our Homeland Security Management System, we will ensure that the most qualified professionals are identified in advance so that they may be quickly and efficiently activated and deployed during an incident. We will embrace and institute a continuous training cycle to ensure that leaders and partners at all levels of government are fully trained and well versed in the principles of incident management. Finally, we will conduct exercises, consistent with the National Exercise Program, so that all stakeholders can ensure they are fully capable of executing their incident management responsibilities.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The United States derives much of its strength from its advantage in the realm of science and technology (S&T), and we must continue to use this advantage and encourage innovative research and development to assist in protecting and defending against the range of natural and man-made threats confronting the Homeland.

Over the past six years, focused partnerships with our Nation's vast and varied research enterprise, which includes businesses, research institutes, universities, government laboratories as well as Federal departments and agencies, have yielded significant capabilities that are helping us to better protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people. For instance, the focused application of the Nation's nuclear expertise has produced improved tools for countering the threat of nuclear terrorism against the Homeland. We also have applied biometric technologies and systems to enhance the security of travel documents and inhibit the movement of terrorists internationally and across our borders. The development and application of a variety of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures are helping to prevent WMD terrorism and address the public health consequences that can stem from a range of natural and man-made disasters. We also have upgraded the technical capabilities of our first responders through the provision of decontamination equipment and protective gear; these advances serve not only to better protect our Nation's first responders but also to increase their ability to save the lives of others. Other improvements in the critical area of S&T include additional funding of independent analysis for homeland security S&T research and setting of standards for homeland security technology.

We will continue to build upon this foundation of scientific and technological advancement and support funding for research and development to further strengthen the security of the Homeland. We will streamline processes and reduce red tape in order to enhance our partnerships with the country's national research enterprise, including within and among Federal departments and agencies. Specifically, we will continue to engage in disciplined dialogue about the threats we face, our strategies to counter them, and how S&T can bridge gaps in approaches or facilitate the more effective and efficient achievement of our objectives. Our collaborative S&T efforts should continue to explore existing or emerging technologies used for multiple or non-security specific purposes and develop rapid prototyping methods to adapt them to fill critical homeland security needs. Research in systems and operations science that will allow the integration of technology into functional capability is of equal importance.   For example, a sound scientific knowledge base regarding health and medical response systems could improve our ability to manage the health consequences of disasters.   By promoting the evolution of current technologies and fielding new, revolutionary capabilities, S&T will remain an essential and enduring enabler of our Strategy.

LEVERAGING INSTRUMENTS OF NATIONAL POWER AND INFLUENCE

Information Sharing Environment

In December 2004, Congress passed and the President signed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). IRTPA calls for, among other things, the creation of the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) – a trusted partnership among all levels of government, the private sector, and our foreign partners to detect, prevent, disrupt, preempt, and mitigate the effects of terrorism against the territory, people, and interests of the United States through the appropriate exchange of terrorism information.

In addition, IRTPA establishes a Program Manager for the ISE who is responsible for overseeing its implementation. With the enactment of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the ISE has been expanded further to include not only "terrorism information" as defined in IRTPA but also other categories of homeland security information and weapons of mass destruction information.

In the wake of both the September 11 terrorist attacks and lessons learned from our response to Hurricane Katrina, the United States has used its instruments of national power and influence – diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement – to prevent terrorism, protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, and respond to and recover from incidents. For instance, we have enhanced our ability to analyze and integrate all intelligence pertaining to terrorism through the establishment of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center as well as the creation of an Information Sharing Environment. The general sharing of information, however, extends beyond terror-related intelligence, and we will continue to enhance our processes for sharing all relevant and appropriate information throughout our levels of government and with the private and non-profit sectors and our foreign partners on the full range of homeland security issues.

We are applying targeted financial sanctions to identify and isolate terrorist financiers and facilitators and using a restructured approach to economic assistance, both overseas to meet current and long-term challenges such as terrorism,
and here at home to assist in the recovery of communities severely affected by catastrophic homeland security incidents. We also are building enduring public-private partnerships to leverage our Nation's economic power by driving improvements in global security practices, including measures relating to international air travel and global supply chains. We are engaging in transformational diplomacy within the international arena as well as leveraging our engagement with and among Federal, State, local, Tribal, and private sector partners here in the Homeland. We will continue to utilize our public diplomacy and strategic communications resources to offer a positive vision of hope and opportunity that is rooted in our most basic values; work with our partners to isolate and discredit those who espouse ideologies of hate and oppression; and nurture common interests and values between Americans and peoples of different countries, cultures, and faiths across the world.

As we sustain the evolution underway in these areas, success in securing the Homeland requires that we prioritize the continued transformation of our law enforcement and military instruments of national power. Our Nation's law enforcement community – Federal, State, local, and Tribal authorities – collaborate to detect, prevent, and disrupt a range of threats to the public, including terrorism. Our Federal law enforcement community is composed of more than 100,000 full-time personnel who play a decisive leadership role with respect to terrorism and related homeland security matters, including collecting and analyzing significant terrorist and criminal information through more than 100 Federal Bureau of Investigation-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces. Moreover, the U.S. Attorney for each of our country's 94 Federal judicial districts leads an Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council that brings together a cross-section of investigators and prosecutors from all levels of government, as well as first responders and private security personnel, to coordinate counterterrorism initiatives and support the operational efforts of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Our State, local, and Tribal law enforcement communities, representing more than one million personnel from coast to coast, also play an integral role in the all-hazards approach to homeland security. Their role includes active engagement in a broad array of activities that detect and investigate potential threats, protect the American people and critical infrastructures, and restore and maintain law and order in the wake of catastrophic incidents. We will continue to work with and enable State and local fusion centers to leverage their capabilities in the War on Terror and maximize the flow of information among Federal, State, local, and Tribal entities. State, local, and Tribal law enforcement and other first responders also are the leaders in maintaining public safety by performing other essential response services, such as conducting evacuations.

Given the significant overall demands of homeland security and the simultaneously increasing technological and organizational sophistication of terrorist and criminal elements, there is a growing need to better manage and more efficiently leverage all of our law enforcement resources. Specifically, we must build on six years of progress to further enhance collaboration among our numerous law enforcement entities, developing a common baseline for law enforcement activities (e.g., standardizing information collection and collation, reporting procedures, and data archiving across all jurisdictions in order to improve analysis and detection of emerging threats or patterns) so that they may work together seamlessly throughout the Nation. This common approach must be capable of tailoring activities at each level to support specific priorities of importance to their respective communities and, as necessary, be able to fulfill select requests for information as part of the broader national effort to secure the Homeland. The approach should be consciously designed to be all-crimes relevant so that investments in information technology, communications equipment, and other support structures are used to drive efficiencies across the full range of law enforcement activities. We also will continue to fund training and exercises as well as the development of a common baseline for reporting and requesting information requirements. By enabling seamless integration and true unity of effort among all Federal, State, local, and Tribal law enforcement entities, we will better protect and defend the Homeland and the American people.

Our Nation's armed forces are crucial partners in homeland security. Our active, reserve, and National Guard forces are integrated into communities throughout our country, and they bring to bear the largest and most diverse workforce and capabilities in government to protect the United States from direct attacks and conduct missions to deter, prevent, and defeat threats against our Nation.

Over the past several years, our armed forces have been preparing to meet a wider range of challenges to our Nation by restructuring their capabilities, rearranging their global force posture, and adapting forces to better fight the War on Terror.   While defending the Homeland is appropriately a top priority for the Department of Defense, the country's active, reserve, and National Guard forces also must continue to enhance their ability to provide support to civil authorities, not only to help prevent terrorism but also to respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters that do occur.   Working with the Nation's Governors and State Adjutants General, the Department of Defense must develop operational plans based upon the national planning scenarios that will integrate and synchronize military forces to achieve unity of effort in support of homeland security missions across the Nation. These plans will determine specific military requirements and capabilities for accomplishing homeland security missions that will most effectively be met by the combined effort of active, reserve, and National Guard forces.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

Homeland security at the Federal level is not the sole purview of the executive branch of government. The Congress also must take bold steps to fulfill its responsibilities in the national effort to secure the Homeland and protect the American people. The current committee structure, for example, creates competing initiatives and requirements and fails to establish clear and consistent priorities or provide optimal oversight. Accordingly, both houses of the Congress should take action to further streamline the organization and structure of those committees that authorize and appropriate homeland security-related funds and otherwise oversee homeland security missions. The Congress also should fully embrace a risk-based funding approach so that we best prioritize our limited resources to meet our most critical homeland security goals and objectives first, as opposed to distributing funds and making decisions based on political considerations. In addition, Congress should help ensure that we have the necessary tools to address changing technologies and homeland security threats while protecting privacy and civil liberties. Finally, in the same manner that Congress was an important partner in building an effective national security system during the Cold War and beyond, a strong partnership with Congress will be essential to help secure the Homeland in the years ahead



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