"In our complex free society, there is no perfect solution to address every security concern," said Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. "But by working together collectively to analyze threats, understand our capabilities, and apply resources intelligently, we can manage risk. The National Preparedness Goal will help us meet this objective."
The goal establishes readiness priorities, targets and metrics. The purpose of the goal is to help answer three key questions: "How prepared is the United States for attack," "How prepared should the country be?" and "How should efforts be prioritized to close the gap between where the United States is in terms of preparedness and where it should be?" The emphasis is on developing appropriate levels of capabilities to address a wide range of terrorist attacks and disaster scenarios.
"The goal is an overarching statement of strategic intent. It demonstrates our national will to work toward establishing overall readiness against current and future threats," said Matt Mayer, acting executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. "With unlimited resources, full preparedness would be less of a challenge, but we don't have unlimited resources. We have to make tough choices, they have to be the right choices, and we have to be ready to come together as a single, integrated system when the need arises."
The goal includes seven priorities for national preparedness. The priorities fall into two categories: overarching priorities and priorities to build specific capabilities.
The overarching priorities are to:
- Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan
- Expand regional collaboration
- Implement the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan.
The priorities for specific capabilities are to:
- Strengthen information sharing and collaboration capabilities
- Strengthen interoperable communications capabilities
- Strengthen chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, and explosive weapons (CBRNE); detection, response, and decontamination capabilities
- Strengthen medical surge and mass prophylaxis capabilities
Visit HSPD-8 and the National Preparedness Goal for more information.