perfect end state or end condition of resilience exists. In fact, building resilience means building strong communities that contain adequate essential public and private services including schools, transportation, health care, utilities, roads and bridges, public safety, and businesses. A common understanding of what resilience means for a community, a set of achievable milestones and goals, the approaches for reaching those milestones, and agreed-upon measures of progress are thus required by the people, businesses, and government agencies associated with that community. Resilience also requires that people, businesses, and government agencies recognize their roles and responsibilities, individually and collectively, and act on these roles and responsibilities to help make their communities more resilient. While local and state institutions grapple with specific issues within their communities, for example, federal agencies provide the data, knowledge, tools, and assistance that are needed by all communities to help them become more resilient. A community’s citizens and the private sector also have important roles and responsibilities to increase resilience. These roles and responsibilities, including the data and tools needed to increase resilience, are described in detail later in this report (see also Appendix C).
Enhancing the nation’s resilience to disasters is a national imperative for the stability, progress, and well-being of the nation that can benefit the nation economically, environmentally, and from a national security perspective. However, the challenge of increasing national resilience is profound. These challenges were recognized collectively by eight federal agencies and a community resilience group affiliated with a National Laboratory5 who asked the National Research Council to address the broad issue of increasing national disaster resilience (Box 1.3).
Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee overseen collaboratively by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and the Disasters Roundtable will conduct a study and issue a consensus report that integrates information from the natural, physical, technical, economic, and social sciences to identify ways to increase national resilience to hazards and disasters in the United States. In this context, “national resilience” includes resilience at federal, state, and local community levels. The committee will:
5 The study sponsors (see also Preface) include U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Community and Regional Resilience Institute.