become less import-dependent for our energy needs (NRC, 2010). Although such policies may not be recognized immediately as affecting resilience to natural disasters, they are examples of the far-reaching implications of policy decisions that may have impact on national resilience.
Finally, strategic investment of federal funds in local communities— even within the structure of existing statutes and programs—may provide a strong impetus to develop more resilient communities. Communities realize that stronger infrastructure and institutions would make their population less vulnerable to disasters, but they generally lack the resources or political will to make capital-intense short-term investments even if they believe that those investments will reap long-term benefits. In the future, predisaster funding may serve as a critical tool in building national resilience. The practice of federal funding of post-disaster recovery within local communities should be strategically complemented with predisaster funding of the highest-priority resilience elements within a community, such as enforcement of building codes, land-use and development planning, and disaster-resistant health care services. Existing programs such as those within FEMA3 could be strengthened to place a greater emphasis on resilience. Careful analysis and consideration of a strategic approach to federal funding of resilience are important in efforts to reduce the impact (and cost) of disasters.
Coordination of Executive Branch Federal Agencies
In addition to the Executive Branch policies issued through Presidential Directives and Executive Orders, agency policies may be initiated by individual federal agencies through the rulemaking process, and may include such things as management practices for federal lands or other resources, or rules and policies that outline roles and responsibilities of various federal agencies in managing federal assets, including those directing or supporting the activities that foster community resilience. A key challenge for the federal government is how to maintain motivation and accountability among all of the federal agencies in the pursuit of defined, common goals toward increasing resilience. Each federal agency has a specific mission, has a budget that is largely separate from the budgets of other agencies, and is accountable to the President and to Congress, rather than to other agencies.
A large number of federal agencies play key roles in mitigation, preparedness and response aspects of building resilience. The ways in which federal agencies are coordinated to address resilience issues on individual, community, state, and national levels are currently not always clear, and the process of coordination should be defined around a common vision of resilience in order to leverage the effectiveness of each agency’s efforts and investments. DHS, by virtue of its mission and because it contains the major response