EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — May 4, 2005

Homeland Security Presidential Directive #8 (HSPD-8)
and the Interim National Preparedness Goal

Corey D. Gruber
Director, Office for Policy, Initiatives, and Assessments,
Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: On behalf of Avagene Moore and myself, welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum! Our topic today is HSPD-8 and the Interim National Preparedness Goal. The Goal and implementing documents have been developed with broad stakeholder input, and some of you here today may have been participants in that process. For others, this will be an opportunity to learn first-hand about this effort to establish a level of national preparedness, and this will have an impact on the practice of emergency management for years to come.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today's speaker. We are honored to have with us Corey Gruber, Director, Office for Policy, Initiatives, and Assessments, Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (SLGCP), Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Gruber provides assistance to the Executive Director of SLGCP by preparing strategic plans, documents, and studies on current and future preparedness strategy; providing information, analysis, guidance, and recommendations on preparedness matters and policy; and preparing SLGCP positions on interdepartmental and interagency preparedness and other issues.

He recently returned from a six-month detail to the Secretary of Homeland Security's Headquarters Operational Integrating Staff, where he served as Director, Training and Exercise Division. Prior to his detail, he served in SLGCP as Assistant Director, National Programs Directorate. Please see the Background Page for further biographical information and links to related material. Welcome Corey, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to you to start us off please.


Corey Gruber: First of all, thank you very much for participating in today’s session on National Preparedness. And I’d like to offer additional thanks to those of you who have been active participants in this truly national effort. I sincerely appreciate all your continuing hard work and feedback.

As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security, with the assistance of our State, local, and tribal partners, continues to aggressively implement Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 on National Preparedness, or HSPD-8. President Bush issued HSPD-8 in December 2003 in order to establish policies, procedures, and goals to strengthen our Nation's preparedness to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. Specifically, HSPD-8 calls for a domestic all-hazards preparedness goal that establishes measurable priorities and targets; creates mechanisms to improve delivery of Federal preparedness assistance to State, local, and tribal governments; and outlines actions to strengthen the preparedness capabilities of Federal, State, local, and tribal governments.

DHS has consulted extensively with stakeholders from Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to ensure that implementation is a truly national - not solely a Federal - effort. In developing the National Preparedness Goal, DHS sought the input of experts and agencies across the country. DHS invited over 1,500 entities to comment, including 398 municipalities, 112 State agencies, and 94 national associations.

The Department's commitment to stakeholder engagement reflects the principle that preparedness and domestic incident management are shared national responsibilities. HSPD-8, therefore, complements and supports HSPD-5 on Management of Domestic Incidents. Together, these two directives establish a common approach to preparedness and response through the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the National Response Plan (NRP), and the National Preparedness Goal (Goal). The Goal will enable entities across the Nation to pinpoint capabilities that need improvement, and sustain these capabilities at levels needed to manage major events using the protocols established by the NRP and NIMS.

On March 31, 2005, DHS released the Interim National Preparedness Goal. The Goal reflects the Department's progress to date and represents the first major step in transforming the way the Nation prepares and develops capabilities to prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. It will guide Federal, State, local, and tribal entities in determining how best to devote limited resources to most effectively and efficiently strengthen preparedness. It transforms the way we think about preparedness by defining agile and flexible capabilities that must be in place, at appropriate levels, to prevent and respond to current and future threats and hazards. The Goal establishes measurable targets and priorities to guide the Nation's preparedness, and a systematic approach for determining how prepared we are, how prepared we need to be, and how we should prioritize efforts to close gaps.

To help achieve the Goal, DHS, in coordination and consultation with national stakeholders, has developed a set of detailed planning tools. These include:

  • National Planning Scenarios, which illustrate the Nation's strategic risk in the form of the potential scope, magnitude, and complexity of major events;
  • a comprehensive library of homeland security critical tasks, called the Universal Task List; and
  • a compendium of thirty-six capability templates called the Target Capabilities List.

Every entity across the country will not be expected to develop and maintain every capability to the same level. These will vary based upon the risk, response base, and needs of different jurisdictions. Over the coming months, DHS will work with stakeholders to establish target levels and apportion responsibility for developing capabilities among levels of government. DHS will issue updated target levels of capabilities in conjunction with the final National Preparedness Goal in October 2005.

In addition to the planning tools, the Interim Goal describes seven consensus national preparedness priorities. They fall into two categories: overarching priorities that contribute to the development of multiple capabilities, and capability-specific priorities that build selected capabilities for which the Nation has the greatest need.

The overarching national priorities are:

  • Implementing the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan;
  • Expanding Regional Collaboration; and
  • Implementing the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

The capability-specific priorities are:

  • Strengthening Information Sharing and Collaboration;
  • Strengthening Interoperable Communications;
  • Strengthening Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Detection, Response, and Decontamination; and finally,
  • Strengthening Medical Surge and Mass Prophylaxis.

To help implement the Goal and priorities, DHS and its partners have developed the National Preparedness Guidance with specific step-by-step instructions on implementing the Goal and for updating State and Urban Area homeland security strategies and assessments. You can access the Guidance on the Lessons Learned Information Sharing website (www.llis.gov). DHS is also conducting regional roll-out conferences this spring to orient national stakeholders to the Interim Goal and Guidance. We held our first roll-out conference last week in Los Angeles and will hold two more conference in Chicago on May 11 and in Miami on May 27.

In addition, DHS is deploying state-by-state mobile training teams, comprised of experienced senior State and local experts, throughout the summer to offer additional assistance on how to implement the Interim Goal and Guidance. This state-by-state training will augment traditional DHS assistance, including Technical Assistance, Distance Learning, and Information Bulletins.

Building the right preparedness system for the Nation and achieving target levels of capabilities will take time, and the full benefits will not come overnight. Many benefits have already been realized, such as the requirement in HSPD-8 to establish a National Exercise Program and Lessons Learned System, and more will be recognized shortly, including a streamlined process for determining needs, a clear role for stakeholders in shaping the National Preparedness System, and a more realistic picture of where we now stand in terms of national preparedness, and where to make the most cost effective investments of homeland security dollars.

In summary, our approach to implementing the guidance of the President and Congress has centered on two key principles: first, that preparedness and domestic incident management are shared national responsibilities, and second, that our strategic analysis must be risk-based, considering current and emerging threats, our potential vulnerabilities, and the consequences of major events that pose the greatest potential threat to our national interests in terms of the impact on lives, property, and the economy.

We live in a world transformed by the attacks on September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission wrote "a rededication to preparedness is perhaps the best way to honor the memories of those we lost that day." The publication of the Interim National Preparedness Goal brings us a significant step closer to fulfilling this pledge.

This concludes the overview, and we can get into some further detail in response to your comments and questions. I now turn the floor back over to our Moderator.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much Corey. Now, to proceed to your questions.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

David Sanders: Corey, what do you see as the major challenge in implementing HSPD8?

Corey Gruber: I think the major challenge in implementing HSPD-8 is creating a system to assess the readiness of the nation and ensure that system is useful for mayors, governors, the president, and departments and agencies at all levels of government.

Steve Davis: Can you please discuss the potential workload on local jurisdictions in response to meeting the Goal and what assistance will be provided?

Corey Gruber: To start with the assistance part of the questions, we will be providing Mobile Training Teams comprised of experts from state and local government that will visit each state and territory to help with implementation we will also provide Technical Assistance through our Office of Domestic Preparedness and continue to implement our outreach strategy. Regarding your question about workload, we believe that taking a capabilities-based approach to preparedness will be less burdensome than reporting on thousands of individual projects at the sub-grantee level and we are going to phase implementation over a multi-year period to make this as easy a transformation as possible.

Bill Nicholson: Critical infrastructure is a major terrorist target. Most of our critical infrastructure is in private hands. How will DHS ensure that the private sector does its part is realizing the preparedness goal?

Corey Gruber: We are working closely with the team that is implementing HSPD-7 on Protection of Critical Infrastructure and as you can see in the Goal, one of our Overarching National Priorities is implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

Vicki Morris: Guidance as related to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Assessment was to be provided by March of 05 and then we were told that we would have it by May 2, 2005. Will we have separate guidance for these two issues? The assessment guidance was to be based on risk, threat and vulnerability and in the National Preparedness Guidance we do not see this specific guidance relating to such.

Corey Gruber: I spoke with the Director of the Preparedness Programs Division this morning and they are finalizing the IED/VBIED Guidance. We will work closely with other elements in the Department, particularly Infrastructure Protection, to help States with the IED requirement. I will check with the Division Director to see if it would be possible to send an Information Bulletin to update everyone on the status of that Guidance. More information will be forthcoming through Information Bulletins, the website, and Technical Assistance, including the risk /vulnerability assessment guidance. I know that everyone here is aware of the tight timelines and many of the participants at the LA Rollout Conference helped us understand how best to identify reasonable milestones.

Valerie Quigley: I appreciate that this is focusing on an all-hazard approach. How does this all correlate to the EMAP process that FEMA is currently funding as a baseline assessment of each state's emergency management program? That was designed to measure a program's capability for response against the NFPA1600 standards (essentially). Does DHS see that EMAP has a place in all this?

Corey Gruber: That is a good question, Valerie. We are strong proponents of NFPA 1600/EMAP and are working with the EMAP team to help us in development of preparedness assessments. We think the peer review process has tremendous merit.

William McDeavitt: Where do I find a summary document of what is required of hospitals under NIMS? There seems to be some confusion as to what the actual requirements and timelines are.

Corey Gruber: Your best reference would be the NIMS Integration Center, specifically Gil Jamieson's team. Gil has Mike Kaminski and others who come from the medical community. They would be your best source of information.

Jerry Colivas: What are the specific activities that each Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and the State need to complete by this October. At the Los Angeles meeting there was discussion on amending the strategies. Also, the training teams. How do we access the training teams? By the way, thank you for holding the conference - lots of needed information was provided.

Corey Gruber: First, by October we are asking States and Urban Areas to amend their Homeland Security Strategies to reflect how they will support accomplishment of the National Preparedness Goal and Priorities. Second, we are establishing the Mobile Training Team effort and will be providing tools and training for the teams. The MTTs will be contacting the States and Territories to schedule visits. They will provide additional information, but more importantly, seek feedback on best practices to accomplish this transformation.

Joe Sukaskas: Corey, you mentioned that an initial HSPD-8 rollout regional conference on the Interim Goal and Guidance was conducted in LA last week. Are materials (agendas, presentations, etc.) from that conference available (e.g., on the DHS or LLIS web sites)?

Corey Gruber: We committed to posting all the materials to the conference and the team is working on that. They will be available on the HSPD-8 website and LLIS.gov.

Kyle Karsjen: I see in the HSPD8 guidance that State Homeland Security Strategies will need to be changed or amended to further reflect the national priorities established in HSPD8. We in Iowa are currently undertaking the process of reviewing our Strategy and strategic plan. I understand that new requirements are coming down in '06 and that these requirements will be outlined later. Can you talk a little more on the addendum required for the Strategies for '05?

Corey Gruber: First on the addenda, these are essentially the "bridging" documents that show how the objectives in the State or Urban Area strategies will align with the National Preparedness Goal. Our Preparedness Programs Division will be providing detailed Guidance on doing the addenda.

David Sanders: Are there any plans to work emergency preparedness issues cross-borders, like with PSEPC in Canada? I ask this because of the critical infrastructure dependencies between Canada and the US like power, pipeline, and chemical and their potential for affecting each other.

Corey Gruber: There are standing agreements, such as the Smart Border Action Plan with Canada, and we just completed TOPOFF 3 with the Government of Canada and other international partners that address those specific issues as exercise objectives. We also have the Joint Contact Group with the United Kingdom and are expanding our partnerships with other nations to work on preparedness issues.

Amy Sebring: Since I have not yet seen the Preparedness Guidance, I am not clear on how that process will work. I understand States and Urban Areas will update plans. How will States involve local communities and other stakeholders? Are the States required or encouraged to seek input?

Corey Gruber: In the course of developing their strategies, States routinely involve their local communities, often through sub-state regional structures or through advisory councils/working groups.

Chris Effgen: Does this approach involve all hazards planning? Natural, manmade, technical?

Corey Gruber: Yes. The reason we selected a capabilities-based planning methodology is because we believe that it is the best all-hazards planning approach for strengthening our national preparedness.

Michaela Kekedy: Is there a place on your web site or another's web site as to who is the key contact for each state?

Corey Gruber: We will confirm that either on our ODP website or LLIS.gov we have the listings for State Homeland Security Advisors. I need to check to see which source has that information.

Amy Sebring: There is an April 6th draft of Target Capabilities List [posted on the HSPD-8 Website]. Are you still taking direct comment on this and other implementation documents? And if so, to whom should they be sent?

Corey Gruber: Yes. As you know, we are going to finalize the Goal, including the Target Levels of Capability by October 1. We welcome and encourage people to send us their feedback on all the tools and documents. You can send your comments to [email protected].

Avagene Moore: What type of timeframe do you and DHS see for moving the country to a better preparedness level? How will our progress be measured?

Corey Gruber: We have laid out a detailed, multi-year implementation schedule in partnership with our Federal, State, local and tribal team members in the Guidance. We think the best way to measure our progress is to measure our sufficiency in target levels of capabilities and our proficiency in performing the critical tasks associated with the capabilities.

Lynn Pisano-Pedigo: States have traditionally managed the all-hazards emergency management functions and capabilities utilizing the Emergency Management Performance Grants which are formula based to each state. How do you see this funding stream adapting to the risk and vulnerability based means of funding in the future?

Corey Gruber: As you know, one of the president's objectives was to consolidate grant programs/funding streams and provide States with more flexibility for accomplishing their planning, training, exercising, and equipment acquisition. Secretary Chertoff has made threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences the centerpiece of our approach to homeland security. Grants and other assistance will follow that approach, while ensuring that States and Urban Areas retain the flexibility to use the resources to their best advantage.

Isabel McCurdy: Corey, show me the money comes to mind. Who absorbs the cost of implementation? Cost -sharing? Country- sharing? Special funding?

Corey Gruber: The cost of HSPD-8 implementation is principally born through federal preparedness assistance provided by our department and others, like Health and Human Services. We all appreciate that homeland security is a shared national responsibility and that States and localities make significant contributions out of their general revenues to these missions.

Claudine Martin: I attended the NRP rollout in Washington, DC and despite many references to the importance of public health in responding to many emergencies from the podium, there were hardly any local or state public health representatives in the room. I heard that invitations were not initially extended (overlooked) and then later individuals were turned away because of concerns the room would be too full (it wasn't). Was there greater representation in Los Angeles, do you know? If PH folks want to attend meetings in their area and they weren't formally invited, is there someone they can contact?

Corey Gruber: The roll-out in Washington, DC was for NRP/NIMS and if that was the case, then I'm sure that the NIMS/NRP team has corrected that oversight. I know at our Los Angeles National Preparedness Goal roll-out conference we had great representation from the public health community. I personally spoke to several representatives, as did our panelist from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Amy Sebring: Do you anticipate there will be some kind of level-specific self-assessment tool in the future?

Corey Gruber: We believe an effective assessment system will include self-assessment, peer-review, compliance monitoring, and a robust exercise program.

Lynn Pisano-Pedigo: Another funding question. Sorry. With CBRNE response and decontamination, as well as medical surge and mass prophylaxis two of the overarching capabilities, in addition to at least eight other capabilities related to MMRS, what is the rationale for not including the Metropolitan Medical Response System in the 2006 president’s budget?

Corey Gruber: The MMRS program will be integrated into the overall grants funding stream.


Amy Sebring: That's all we have time for today. Thank you very much Corey for an excellent job. We hope you enjoyed the experience. Thanks also to Dan Noble of your staff for his assistance in preparing the session. Please stand by a moment while we make a couple of quick announcements.

Again, the formatted transcript will be available later today. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page and click on Subscribe.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Corey for a fine job and excellent information.