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New Report: Homeland Security Department Needs To Improve Risk Analysis Capabilities & Methods

September 21st, 2010 · 3 Comments

A new Congressionally-mandated commission has found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) risk analysis capabilities and methods are not yet adequate for supporting DHS decision making.

The National Academies’ commission’s report — “Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Approach to Risk Analysis”does, however, approve of the Department’s current risk approach on natural disasters. The 150-page study can be downloaded here.

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There are few more important aspects of homeland security than risk analysis, particularly in how the government allocates its resources, deals with threats and communicates with all its stakeholders including the public. And, the Department is working on improving things in this area.

Federal News Radio did an interview yesterday with commission chair John F. Ahearne about the report. It can be heard here.

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Tags: Department of Homeland Security · Preparedness Reports · Risk Communications

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Wild // Sep 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for posting this, an interesting read (at least the summary which is as far as I got). There are three gaps which spring to mind: first how to prepare for the “unknown unknowns” as Donald Rumsfield would say (or maybe the not-so-well-known unknowns): for instance, who had infrastructure failure in their hazard analysis before 2003?; second, how to balance and differentiate planning for events where we have prior knowledge of their impact (hurricanes, floods, etc) with never-happened-before-but-catastrophic events (prolonged power outage, nuclear attack, public health catastrophe); third, how to make all this comprehensible for Joe Citizen so we can all know what to prepare for and how (I recently blogged suggesting that people should do household hazard analysis before deciding what to have in their emergency kit:

  • 2 David Wild // Sep 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Sorry the URL got mashed in the last post, here it is:

  • 3 Claire B. Rubin // Sep 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    One can download just the Exec. Summary, which is less than 20 pages.

    DHS has some work to do, according to the report.

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