National Preparedness (Ppd-8) Examines Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2732 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism


[. . .] The entire design of the United States places an emphasis on personal liberty that, without changing the entire nature of the country, necessarily means that the governmental sector cannot control individual movement within the country. Therefore, "a comprehensive approach to emergency management, specifically critical infrastructure security, cannot be accomplished if the private sector is excluded from these efforts. Because 85% of the nation's infrastructure is controlled by the private sector, the government's new programs and policies must be fashioned to encourage their participation" (Hardenbrook, 2005).

While the federal government may think that it can exert downward control through measures such as PPD-8, and, with that downward control eliminate the risk of terrorism, the reality is that such a plan is unrealistic. First, it would require the allocation of resources that simply are not available to the federal government at this time. Moreover, it would require American citizens to abdicate such a high degree of personal freedom that, despite the fact that Americans have not made significant protests to the negative impact that post 9/11 legislation has had on their freedoms, a backlash is almost inevitable. Therefore, "the federal government must recognize that critical infrastructure security planning must be conducted on a regional level. Incentives and guidelines to help move this planning process forward may be needed to ensure that the right players are involved. Moreover, the successes of other regional collaborations must be reviewed to determine whether these examples could be appropriated to address homeland security issues. Until this happens, the nation will continue down the path where individual agencies and jurisdictions prepare and respond to disasters on their own terms" (Hardenbrook, 2005). More importantly, this path is an ineffective one; it results in duplicate efforts and inefficiency, and leads people vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Does developing more laws increase preparedness

It is very difficult to know whether or not developing more laws actually increases preparedness and makes the U.S. less vulnerable to terrorist attacks. There is no question that 9/11 had a profound impact on the legal landscape of the United States. What is questionable is whether this impact has been a good one, a bad one, or one that has been both good and bad for America:

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have resulted in profound changes in the U.S. policy system. The federal government has responded to the events of 9/11 and to the ongoing terrorist threat by passing new laws, creating the Department of Homeland Security, issuing presidential directives, developing new preparedness and crisis management programs, and reorganizing and redirecting existing programs. Among the effects of these actions are a decrease in emphasis on preparedness and response for natural and technological disasters; an increase in the role of law enforcement agencies and the military in the management of domestic emergencies, accompanied by a decline in the importance and influence of the emergency management profession; and an increase in the importance of "special purpose" initiatives that have the potential for interfering with efforts to develop comprehensive, integrated, all-hazards approaches to managing extreme events (Tierney, 2007).

Fortunately, there have been no domestic terrorist attacks following 9/11, so whether these laws have prepared the U.S. To deal with terrorist attacks is merely speculation.

The advocates of these increased laws and restrictions point to the absence of further terrorist attacks as a sign of success of these laws. They suggest that the removal of constitutionally mandated restrictions on who can be detained, for what causes, and for what duration have led to the ability to interrogate potential terrorists and thwart further attacks. This may or may not be true; the information that the average citizen would need to evaluate this information is classified, keeping it from independent review. Moreover, many of these laws and the resulting organizations formed under these laws are supposed to be helpful in the face of any type of national emergency, including a natural disaster. However, the federal government's response to hurricane Katrina, which many people feel was insufficient, at best, and willfully negligent, at worst, suggests that these laws and their resulting organizations have not resulted in an increase in safety for the average American (Wise, 2006). It would be erroneous, however, to suggest that the federal government response to Katrina is an indication that an increase in laws was not a required response to 9/11; instead, the response to Katrina could be a learning opportunity for the federal government and provide it with opportunities to improve its implementation of those policies and procedures dictated by post 9/11 legislation (Wise, 2006).

Furthermore, it is equally clear that in an increasingly global world, the United States will remain at risk for terrorist attacks, and, that, despite the global war on terror, there is little that the U.S. can do to decrease its vulnerability to these attacks. Even becoming an isolationist, as the U.S. once was, will not reduce the nation's vulnerability, because many nations have come to regard the U.S. As a global peacekeeper, not by choice, but as if doing so is a duty. Therefore, "the United States will increasingly face threats and remain vulnerable to acts of terrorism and other disasters despite the many physical protection measures currently in place. While physical protection can limit or discourage attacks, the unfortunate reality is that nothing is ever 100% effective" (Hardenbrook, 2005).


Because so much information regarding the efficacy of post 9/11 laws is classified, it is difficult to assess whether those laws have increased the efficacy of the U.S. government in responding to threats or potential threats. SNRA makes it clear that PPD-8 has led to a comprehensive evaluation of the nature and scope of threats that could seriously negatively impact the nation. Moreover, there are certainly whispers in the intelligence community that the laws enacted in support of PPD-8 have had a chilling effect on terrorism. However, as one can see from SNRA, terrorism is only one of the many threats facing the nation. In fact, while terrorism may be the most emotionally daunting threat facing the nation because it is man-made, seemingly random, and unpredictable, terrorist threats do not pose the same level of risk as some of the natural disasters identified as real risks to the nation. It seems unrealistic to believe that laws could render the country invulnerable to those risks, but an efficient response to those disasters could certainly impact the nation's resiliency.


Clovis, S. (2006). Federalism, homeland security and national preparedness: A case study in the development of public policy. Homeland Security Affairs, 2(3), Article 4. Retrieved from:

Clovis, S. (2008). Promises unfulfilled: The sub-optimization of homeland security national preparedness. Homeland Security Affairs, 4(3), Article 3. Retrieved from:

Hardenbrook, B.J. (2005). The need for a policy framework to develop disaster resilient regions. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 2(3), Article 2. doi: 10.2202/1547-7355.1133

Tierney, K. (2007). Recent developments in U.S. homeland security policies and their implications for the management of extreme events. Handbook of Disaster Research, 405-412.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2011, September). National preparedness goal.

Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2011, December). Strategic national risk assessment in support of PPD-8: A comprehensive risk-based approach toward a secure and resilient nation. Retrieved from

Wise, C. (2006).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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National Preparedness (Ppd-8) Examines.  (2012, January 15).  Retrieved January 20, 2019, from

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