Thursday, September 9, 2010


Well we always will have the four horsement of the Apocolypse to fall back on but most EM practicioners and academics know that the paradigm of preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery came primarily out of the NGA's study of EM in the 70's. Whatever the comfort level with this paradigm it certainly had longevity. The addition of the world "prevention" by PKEMA 2006 expanded this litany by mandating a new term. Now of course "resilience" is the word of the day in EM and HS. "Prevention" is also a featured term within these disciplines. In part the NGA effort was an attempt to caputure the need for organizations to focus on certain primary elements of the before and after of large-scale events and probably the result was mostly effecive. Personally, I always liked Kathleen Tierney's comprehensive editorial effort to capture the "preparedness" paradigm in the book published in the early 90's. Exactly why the other elements were not singulary analyzed is perhaps a reasonable question but hers was directive supported by the National Academy of Sciences with grants. Perhaps innovative (can you call a difficiency of over 3 decades an innovation?)researchers could better provide coverage of these terms and their importance in doctrine or operations and their utlimate utility and significiance. Recently Claire Rubin has put a major effort into focusing on the recovery (phase?) paradigm. I still not sure I get it. These elements were useful to identify which bureacrats would be battling over which issues for funding and staffing but never seemed particularly helpful in designing CEM (Comprehensive Emergency Management) which was an NGA goal and notice the emphasis on management not all-hazards coverage.
Personally, perhaps GAO or DHS/OIG could analyze all DHS programs, functions and activities by which paradigm is the primary focus and how do those programs, functions, and activities relate to other DHS and executive branch entity efforts.
Here is one important conclusion I have drawn however. To the extent the staff of a component becomes more expert in their principal paradigm almost invariably the brightest and most capable of that staff understand the mutulally supportive nature of their paradigm to others and vice versa. The end result of course is that willingness to cooperate and collaborate is driven in part by the need to explore each of the paradigms to the deepest extend possible. Hopefully, several posts over the next few months can help formulate clearer thinking on these subjects. That stated what I do know is that the vicious internal bureacratic battles fought over making one or more paradigms dominant will deter EM from accomplishing that which it can. Sounds like the PUBLIC ADMINSTRATION types need to get going. And perhaps the NGA should do a 35 year follow-up study of their 6 volume EM package issued around 1978 to see what was accomplished (or not?) by that effort.