Since the September 11 attack, it has become necessary for all security players to prepare beforehand for possible terror attacks. In line with this need, the federal government through a presidential directive that was issued by President Bush has established the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The system provides a nationwide mechanism through which security players can work in unison during emergencies. This research paper proposes a local agency that would be developed to handle a terror attack incidence at a local level in case the attack would retard the response for both state and federal governments. The paper starts by identifying the command system for the agency then proceeds to identifying the multi-coordination of the agency before looking at what the agency would do to prepare for the terror attack. The other parts of the paper evaluate the mutual aid agreement the agency would develop, the information unit for the agency and the process that would be used to manage the agency’s resources. The last part of the paper evaluates the critical role that Saint Leo University’s community core value would play in the agency.
Developing an Emergency Response Plan for Terrorism
Since the September 11 attack, the government has acknowledged the need for preparing for possible terror attacks. It has particularly developed the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This is a comprehensive approach for responding to emergencies and managing the possible effects for the emergencies. The system was developed following the presidential directive that was issued by President Bush on February 28, 2003 (Walsh et al., 2012). The system offers a nationwide template for enabling governments, non-governmental organizations and private sector to work in unison during domestic incidents. Given that terror attacks could retard the capability of both state and federal governments to respond to local terror incidences, this research paper proposes a local agency for responding to local terror incidences. The proposed agency includes local law enforcement agencies. It also provides the critical role that Saint Leo University’s community value would play in the agency.
Agency’s Command System
The proposed agency would comprise of five functional divisions. The first functional division would be the command division. This division would be responsible for issuing commands to the other four divisions and it would be headed by the incident commander. The second functional division would be the operation division. This division would be responsible for managing the tactical operations of the incident so that immediate hazards during the incident can be minimized and both lives and properties can be saved. The local law enforcement agencies would fall in this division, and the division would be headed by the operations chief who would be deputized by two deputies (Bongar, 2007).
The third division would be the planning division. This division would be responsible for gathering, assessing and disseminating information pertaining to the incident. The intelligence personnel for the agency would be in this division. The unit would have four primary units namely resource unit, demobilization unit, situation unit and documentation unit. Besides these units, the agency would have a technical specialist unit. This unit would be responsible for forecasting the need for more equipments and personnel together with assessing the overall situation of the agency. The division would be headed by the section’s chief who would be deputized by the heads for the various units.
The fourth division would be the logistic division. This division would be responsible for ordering resources before, during and after the terror incident. It would also be responsible for providing facilities, supplies, and equipments, transporting equipments, maintaining equipments, medical services and communication services. The section would be headed by a chief who would be deputized by one deputy (Bongar, 2007). The fifth division would be the finance/administration division. This division would be responsible for managing the agency together with its finances. Accordingly, the procurement unit would be in this division.
Whereas terror attacks appear to fall squarely on the law enforcement agency, the incidents involve a number of players. They involve the local government, the state government as well as the federal government among other players. As a result, in most cases, these incidences are managed by different incident commanders under unified command. For a terror response plan, the unified command would involve the local agencies working together with law enforcement agencies to establish common strategies and objectives for the incidence (Bennett et al., 2007). The unified command would not change the features of NIMS, but it would allow the agencies to participate in various processes of making decisions.
The multi-agency coordination system would support the management priorities and policies for the incident, facilitate resource tracking and provide logistical support. It would also help in making critical decisions relating to resource allocation, coordinate information and deal with inter-agency issues relating to the management of the incidence. Within this system, there would be an emergency operation center and various multi-agency coordination entities.
The emergency operation center would be responsible for coordinating the response activities, communicating information to the relevant bodies as well as tracking and dispatching resources. The center would also be responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information. The staff members for the center would come from different functional disciplines and agencies so that they can add value to the center (Bennett et al., 2007). However, the size of the staff members would be dictated by the magnitude of the terror incidence, available resources and the needs for the response plan. The multi-agency coordination entities on their part would be responsible for ensuring that there would be efficient coordination among the agencies, establishing priorities in relation to unified command and providing strategic coordination. They would also be responsible for identifying and coordinating resource requirements, managing and resolving policy issues as well as acquiring and allocating resources in line with the needs for the terror incidences.
With regard to preparedness, NIMS offers a detailed mechanism through which emergency management units can enhance their preparedness. It states that preparedness can be achieved through an uninterrupted and logical process of training, equipping, planning, evaluating, exercising as well as taking actions to correct and mitigate risks (Walsh et al., 2012). All these exercises are important in enhancing preparedness for a terror attack. As a result, it would be important to ensure that the process is an ongoing one. Furthermore, it would be important to put paper work into practice so that the process can be enhanced.
The planning exercise for the proposed agency would involve assembling and reviewing the current response plans within the agency. The focus of this exercise would be to evaluate whether the current response plans address terror attack or they address other incidences other than terror attack. Once the response plans have been evaluated, the next step would be to evaluate whether the plans can be expanded. If the plans cannot be expanded, then new plans should be established. Another important aspect for the planning exercise would be to evaluate the available resources and the response partners. Once the planning exercise is over, the agency would proceed to evaluating the response exercise. This exercise would involve obtaining the relevant information that can be utilized to provide insight into other terror attacks. The focus in this case would be to learn from those terror attacks so that the planning process can be refined. As the agency evaluates other terror attacks, it would also develop exercise assessment tools. All response partners would be involved in the evaluation exercise so that there can be a clearer picture of the possible terror attacks (Boyd et al., 1997). As the process takes place, feedback concerning the various aspect of the planning exercise would be provided. The feedback process would be utilized to refine the preparation exercise. In case of changes, the members of the response plan would be notified about those changes.
With regard to training, a training matrix for the agency would be developed from the recommended training matrix. It would also be implemented within the agency and remain an ongoing exercise throughout the lifespan of the agency. Training equipments would be provided and evaluated on a continuous basis. They would also be made available to the members of the response team. In order to mitigate the effects of a possible terror attack, the agency would engage in both outreach activities and ongoing public education aimed at reducing the impact of the terror attack. The two programs would involve going out to the members of the public and training them how to handle terror attacks and report incidences that pose as terror attacks.
In order to enhance the preparedness process, the process of preparing for the terror attack would be a responsibility for all members of the response plan including the local law enforcement agencies. It would include establishing and coordinating emergency protocols and plans to be used during the terror incidences. It would also include establishing guidelines, protocols and standards that would promote interoperability among the agencies. It would further include adopting standards, protocols and guidelines for providing resources to organizations that would play critical roles in the response exercise (Erickson, & Erickson, 2006). While doing this, the members of the various response agencies would also establish and maintain mechanisms for sharing information and reaching other agencies.
Mutual Aid Agreement
In spite of the preparations made, the agency may not have all the necessary resources to deal with possible terror attacks. In order to deal with this challenge, the agency would enter into mutual aid agreements with agencies in the neighboring jurisdictions. The agreements would outline the manner in which the agencies would provide resources to the agency in case of terror attacks. The agency would also enter into similar agreements with non-governmental organizations involved in terror activities and relevant private companies. The mutual aid agreement that would be entered into would include a clear definition of the key terms of the agreement; the roles and responsibilities that involved parties would play; procedures to be followed in requesting and providing assistance; notification procedures to be followed; workers’ compensation; rules for payment; authorities and procedures for the agencies as well as communication protocols to be followed during the incidents (Walsh et al., 2012).
Public Information System
During terror attacks, public information would be very important. As a result, it would be important to establish a center for releasing information to the members of the public. Among other things, the center should have a public information officer (PIO). The officer would be responsible for advising the incident commander about the public information matters that relate to the management of the terror incidents. The officer should also be responsible for monitoring and controlling rumor, monitoring the media as well as disseminating both accurate and timely information to the members of the public and the media (Bennett et al., 2007).
Given that the members of the public can receive information from different sources, the PIO would be responsible for ensuring that these people would receive accurate, timely, and easy to understand as well as coordinated information. In order for this to happen, the agency would establish a joint information center. This center would act as the central source of information. With the help of the center, it would be easy for the PIO to coordinate, integrate and share information with the members of the public and media as well as with the local agencies and other jurisdictions. The responsibility of establishing the joint information center would lie largely on the multi-agency coordination entities and the incident commander (Boyd et al., 1997).
In order for the agency to manage its resources effectively, the agency would be keen to identify and type its resources. Resource typing would involve categorizing resources by their capabilities to respond to terror attacks. Measurable standards for identifying resources by their performance levels and capabilities would be utilized to categorize the resources. These standards would be developed by resource users on consensus basis. Besides developing standards for identifying resources on the basis of their capabilities, resources would also be grouped into subcategories. The purpose of doing this would be to ensure that resources would meet specific requirements (Fagel, 2016). The process of resource typing would be a continuous one, and it would be made simple so that it would be accurate in terms of obtaining resources and facilitating frequent use of the exercise.
Once the resources have been identified and typed, the agency would proceed to certifying and credentialing its human resources. The process of certifying human resources would involve ensuring that the agency’s workers meet professional standards required by NIMS system to deal with possible terror attacks. Credentialing on its part would involve ensuring that there would be documents to support the qualifications of the agency’s workers. The aim of doing this would be to ensure that the agency’s workers would be at the same levels with workers for other agencies. Once this process is over, the agency would proceed to inventorying its resources. This would involve assessing the availability of the resources provided by various bodies that deal with terror attacks. The focus of doing this would be to evaluate whether it would be necessary to obtain the resources before the incident or not. The decision to obtain the resources or not would be made based on the urgency of the need for the resources and the availability of the resources during the terror incidents (Walsh et al., 2012). In order to ensure that resources would be in good condition, the agency’s resource manager would ensure that resources would be maintained well. Resource manager would also set sufficient fund in the budget. The fund would be used for periodic capital improvement, preventive maintenance and replenishments of the resources.
The agency would also identify, refine as well as validate its resource requirements. This process would involve identifying the type and quantity of the resources that would be required, when the resources would be required and the people that would use the resources. Some of the resources that would be identified this way would include the equipments, incident management personnel, and supplies. Given that resource requirement and availability would change from time to time, the agency would give this process the attention it requires (Fagel, 2016). It would also involve the relevant entities in the process of identifying resource requirements.
With regard to ordering and acquiring resources, the agency would submit requests for items that would not be available locally through the standardized resource-ordering procedure that NIMS provides. As for the resource mobilization, the agency would start mobilizing for resources as soon as it identifies the need for those resources. The mobilization process would be conducted through the channels that NIMS establishes. Once resources have been received, the agency would send a notification note to the relevant bodies. Besides doing this, the agency would prepare for resource demobilization well in advance.
As the agency conduct resource mobilization, it would also track and report its resources. Resource tracking process would involve identifying the location for the resources so that agency’s workers can prepare in advance to receive those resources. The procedures that have been developed by NIMS would be utilized to track and report resources (Erickson, & Erickson, 2006). The last aspect of resource management would be resource recovery. This would involve taking stock of the resources and replenishing them. Broken and lost resources would be replaced. For the human resources, the personnel would be given time to rest and recuperate as per the guidelines that would be developed by the agency. More importantly, mental and occupational health issues arising out of the terror attack would be addressed effectively. Resources that would require special handling would be handled according to the policies and regulations of the agency.
The Role of Saint Leo University
As far as Saint Leo University’s community core value is concerned, the university would play a critical role in multi-jurisdictional training. The university would organize for the various training programs to be offered to the agency’s workers. It would particularly offer free training on NIMS’ national protocols, guidelines and standards for incident management to the agency’s workers.
Bennett, B. et al. (2007). Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism: Protecting critical infrastructure and personnel. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley-Interscience.
Bongar, B. (2007). Psychology of terrorism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Boyd, M. et al. (1997). Emergency preparedness for transit terrorism. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.
Erickson, P. A., & Erickson, P. A. (2006). Emergency response planning for corporate and municipal managers. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann.
Fagel, M. (2016). Principles of emergency management and emergency operations center (EOC). Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Walsh, D. et al. (2012). National incident management system: Principles and practices. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Barlett.