06 Mar

Session/Week 1: Resilience (Select and respond to one question for Session 1)

1.)Drawing from any of the assigned readings or resources provided in this session, or from your own research, what do you think is the best definition for resilience? How would you explain the relationship of resilience to the emergency management phases of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery? What are the essential elements or characteristics of national resilience, and how does that compare with, or differ from, and relate to resilience at the state and local government or organizational levels?


2.) Assume that you are an advisor for either the president of the United States, the governor of your state, the director of a government department or agency, or the CEO of a major corporation or nonprofit organization (you choose which of those roles you are most interested in), and that you need to convince that person to support investing in achieving or improving resilience for the country, or for the state, agency, company, or organization you selected. You must prepare a concise briefing memo of 1-2 pages to prepare that leader for an upcoming meeting on the topic. The briefing memo should include or address the following issues and elements:

  • How resilience is defined, and what it would look like if your jurisdiction or organization achieved or improved resilience.
  • Why achieving or improving resilience is vital and important.
  • How you would justify the expense in terms of money, effort and other resources to achieve or improve resilience.
  • Potential consequences for failure to support or invest in resilience, and the issue of risk tolerance for your jurisdiction or organization.

Session/Week 2: Risk Assessments and Impact Analysis (Select and respond to one question for Session 2)

3.) Select one of the 16 Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources (CI/KR) sectors identified by DHS in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and PPD-21 that is of greatest interest or relevance to you. Describe what you perceive as the most significant risks, threats and vulnerabilities pertaining to that specific sector, and the potential consequences if there were a major disruption from any type of hazard or cause, whether natural disasters, technological disasters, terrorist attacks, or other incidents. What do you feel is the likelihood or probability of that type of disruption, and the associated consequences or impacts? What specific mitigation measures would you recommend?

4.)  Select one of the 16 Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources (CI/KR) sectors identified by DHS in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and PPD-21 that is of greatest interest or relevance to you. Then, find a news story, article or report about a high-impact, low-frequency disaster or catastrophe (other than the 9/11 attacks or Hurricane Katrina) that affected one or more major assets, facilities, systems or services within that sector. What were the impacts or consequences of that disaster for that particular sector, and any other interdependent sectors? How (if at all) could these impacts have been prevented or mitigated?


Session/Week 3: Risk Management and Treatments (Select and respond to one question for Session 3)

5.) Select a jurisdiction, agency, organization, industry or CI/KR sector that you are familiar with or interested in. What are the most significant risks they face, or actual disasters or other critical incidents that they have experienced? How would you describe the dominant approach of that jurisdiction or entity to risk management, and their level or view of risk tolerance? What factors or issues would they most likely consider in applying cost-benefit analysis in the process of risk assessment, risk management, and determining risk tolerance? Have there been any “near misses” as described in the overview presentation, and if so, what was their response to that experience?


6.)Deadly incidents of workplace, school or campus violence have plagued the United States in the past two decades, generating intense media coverage. This has also become an urgent homeland security issue. Select one highly publicized case of workplace violence, and one involving school or campus violence. What do you believe were the three major causes or contributing factors in each case, and what mitigation or risk management measures do you believe might have been effective in preventing or reducing the impacts of each incident? What are the similarities and differences between workplace and school/campus violence regarding these issues? What kinds of assistance, expertise, resources or guidance can DHS, or state and local homeland security and emergency management agencies, provide to help alleviate this modern curse, or is it purely a law enforcement problem?


Session/Week 4: Program Management and Planning (Select and respond to one question for Session 4)

7.) Identify a local community or jurisdiction, or a public sector agency or organization, or a private sector business, company or industry that experienced a major disaster or critical incident of any type within the past ten years. Based on news accounts, journal articles, official reports or any other sources that you may find covering the response to that event and subsequent recovery process, what, if any, evidence did you find that they had engaged in continuity or operations (COOP) or business continuity planning prior to the disaster? How would you assess or evaluate their apparent planning? In other words, was it comprehensive, effective and successful, or was it woefully lacking, inadequate and a failure? Were there any key lessons about planning that they derived, or that you could glean, from any type of “after action” report or analysis of the event?


8.) Select a community, jurisdiction, government agency, private business, or other organization that you are familiar with or interested in. What types of plans have they developed, and how do they approach the planning process? Who are the major internal and external stakeholders, and to what extent, or in what way—if at all—are they engaged in the planning process? What are the most serious challenges or potential pitfalls for planning faced by the entity you selected, and what can be done to address or overcome those challenges and pitfalls? What is your evaluation or assessment of the overall effectiveness or success of their plans and approach to planning?

Session/Week 5: Preparedness (Select and respond to one question for Session 5)

9.) Identify a community or local jurisdiction where you currently live or have lived in the past, or an industry or organization of any type that you are, or have been affiliated with as an employee, member, or volunteer. Briefly describe and evaluate the overall emergency preparedness of that community or entity in terms of as many of the following issues or elements that you can easily find information about, or are familiar with:

  • Emergency preparedness planning, training, and exercising.
  • Resource/equipment acquisition and pre-event staging.
  • Personnel and credentialing.
  • Compliance with the NIMS and implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • Mutual Aid or Emergency Management Assistance agreements, compacts, or MOUs.
  • Political leadership/executive management support for emergency preparedness.
  • Evidence of effective preparedness as demonstrated by successful response to actual disasters or critical incidents.
  • Vital records, networks or data management and protection. 

10.) Identify a real organization in your life such as your current or past employer, school, military unit or base, faith-based or other nongovernmental organization that you may serve as a member or volunteer, or that you are otherwise familiar with. Provide your concise analysis of the following questions or issues involving that organization in the broader context of emergency preparedness drills and exercises:

  • Does your organization conduct emergency preparedness training, drills and exercises? For what specific types or categories of hazards, disasters, or critical incidents? Are there other types or scenarios that should be included? Have you found the drills or training useful, or an annoyance, or possibly even counterproductive?
  • Are the drills always scheduled and announced in advance, or are there “surprise,” no-notice drills and exercises? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
  • Are there “injects” of new information or changes in the original scenario to challenge the participants?
  • Is there a progressive exercise program involving a successive series of relatively simpler discussions-based orientations or tabletop exercises, followed by more complex or intense functional or full-scale operations-based drills and exercises?
  • After drills or exercises, are there “hot wash” briefings, after-action or lessons learned reports prepared, or meetings held to evaluate the results and develop action or improvement plans?
  • What improvements would you recommend regarding preparedness?


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