established PS-Prep as a top-down effort to promulgate voluntary resilience standards for businesses, by which collaboration is conducted in a formal process centrally managed by DHS. Predictably, private-sector responses have been mixed. The business-continuity community, a private-sector group that stands to gain considerably from the existence of the program, has been active in disseminating information about the new voluntary standards. A commentator from that sector expressed concern that the program was not receiving the emphasis warranted within DHS but also noted that critics of PS-Prep see it as “a back-door way of DHS to regulate industry and impose additional rules, regulations, and costs upon the private sector.”3 A May 2009 blog posting by IBS Publishing featured an interview with a San Francisco-area banking executive quoted as saying that “banks could endure a compliance nightmare” as a consequence of the new standards and that “while the idea is excellent, it threatens the banking industry…. So how do we—the public sector and the private sector—play together?”4 A cursory look at comments raised in public meetings reveals private-sector concerns regarding the economic burden and the training required for personnel to ensure that businesses are in compliance. Small businesses especially would feel the burden. In summary, PS-Prep has had the mixed result of defining widely accepted standards and metrics but through a process that became a deterrent to local collaborative efforts. The lesson learned from PS-Prep is scalable to the community level: it is essential for communities establishing private–public collaboration to be sensitive to and identify collaborators’ sometimes competing self-interests. It is necessary to identify incentives that will engage all sectors of the population for the community to embrace the goals and methods of collaboration.

It is best to avoid conflict and competition among those engaged in private–public collaboration and in the community more broadly. Another national-level example of how vested interests can create conflict and competition is the DHS Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI),5 which was intended to increase community and regional preparedness against terrorist attacks and other extreme events. From its inception, the initiative was focused more on traditional crisis-relevant organizations, such as fire and police departments and local emergency-management agencies, and less on other types of organizations, such as businesses, public health agencies, school districts, community-based organizations, and universities. The program was marked by various types of competition and conflict, not only among agencies at the community level but between core cities in regions and their less urbanized counterparts. Even communities receiving UASI grants saw themselves as vying against one another for funding. Competition was created simultaneously with collaboration at the community level as different community agencies sought funding on the basis of their own definitions of what was needed to combat terrorism while attempting to

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement