The Strategic Plan for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) for Fiscal Years 2009-2013 was submitted to Congress by the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) of NEHRP, as required by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977. The plan outlines a cooperative program of earthquake monitoring, research, implementation, education, and outreach activities to be performed by the NEHRP agencies—the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NEHRP lead agency), the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The plan is founded on the premise that the continued success of NEHRP will emphasize the linked roles of the NEHRP agencies and their partners, based on a common vision and shared mission. The vision is “a nation that is earthquake-resilient in public safety, economic strength, and national security;” the mission is:
To develop, disseminate, and promote knowledge, tools, and practices for earthquake risk reduction—through coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency partnerships among the NEHRP agencies and their stakeholders—that improve the Nation’s earthquake resilience in public safety, economic strength, and national security.
Accomplishing the NEHRP mission will require developing and applying knowledge based on research in the geological, engineering, and social sciences; educating leaders and the public; and assisting state, local,
and private-sector leaders to develop standards, policies, and practices. The NEHRP agencies have established three overarching, long-term Strategic Goals, with 14 associated objectives, to support this mission:
Goal A: Improve understanding of earthquake processes and impacts.
• Objective 1: Advance understanding of earthquake phenomena and generation processes.
• Objective 2: Advance understanding of earthquake effects on the built environment.
• Objective 3: Advance understanding of the social, behavioral, and economic factors linked to implementing risk reduction and mitigation strategies in the public and private sectors.
• Objective 4: Improve post-earthquake information acquisition and management.
Goal B: Develop cost-effective measures to reduce earthquake impacts on individuals, the built environment, and society-at-large.
• Objective 5: Assess earthquake hazards for research and practical application.
• Objective 6: Develop advanced loss estimation and risk assessment tools.
• Objective 7: Develop tools that improve the seismic performance of buildings and other structures.
• Objective 8: Develop tools that improve the seismic performance of critical infrastructure.
Goal C: Improve the earthquake resilience of communities nationwide.
• Objective 9: Improve the accuracy, timeliness, and content of earthquake information products.
• Objective 10: Develop comprehensive earthquake risk scenarios and risk assessments.
• Objective 11: Support development of seismic standards and building codes and advocate their adoption and enforcement.
• Objective 12: Promote the implementation of earthquake-resilient measures in professional practice and in private and public policies.
• Objective 13: Increase public awareness of earthquake hazards and risks.
• Objective 14: Develop the nation’s human resource base in earthquake safety fields.
The plan also describes nine cross-cutting Strategic Priorities that directly support the goals and augment other on-going agency activities needed to satisfy them. These priorities are:
• Fully implement the Advanced National Seismic System.
• Improve techniques for evaluating and rehabilitating existing buildings.
• Further develop Performance-Based Seismic Design.
• Increase consideration of socioeconomic issues related to hazard mitigation implementation.
• Develop a national post-earthquake information management system.
• Develop advanced earthquake risk mitigation technologies and practices.
• Develop guidelines for earthquake-resilient lifeline components and systems.
• Develop and conduct earthquake scenarios for effective earthquake risk reduction and response and recovery planning.
• Facilitate improved earthquake mitigation at state and local levels.
The goals, objectives, and Strategic Priorities are consistent with, and expand upon, the “Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction: Priority Interagency Earthquake Implementation Actions” identified by the Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction of the President’s National Science and Technology Council.
The plan provides a straightforward and executable strategy for NEHRP. Successful strategic planning and program accomplishment must be consistent with existing policies, based on realistic assumptions, and responsive to changing conditions. The pace of program accomplishment will depend on the resources that are available to NEHRP agencies during the 2009-2013 plan period, and the plan is intended to guide relevant funding decisions by NEHRP agencies. Following the adoption of the plan, the NEHRP agencies propose to jointly develop a Management Plan to detail Strategic Plan implementation activities that are consistent with agency appropriations and funding priorities.
The costs of earthquake loss reduction and post-earthquake recovery are shared by the public and private sectors. The role of NEHRP is to provide the public and private sectors with the scientific and engineering information, knowledge, and technologies needed to prepare for earthquakes and thus reduce the costs of losses and recovery. NEHRP will continue to develop partnerships with its stakeholder community of earthquake professionals working in academia and in business, government, technical, professional, and codes-and-standards organizations that
are involved with the earthquake risk reduction process, in fulfillment of its role.
The NEHRP agencies propose to keep abreast of advances in science and technology, and adjust short- and long-term developmental efforts accordingly. Although NEHRP will remain focused on the elements of the Strategic Plan, the agencies will adapt to contingencies and opportunities that may arise. If a major earthquake occurs in the United States during the plan period, NEHRP will initiate efforts to study the effects and impacts of that event, including successes, failures, and unforeseen problems that arose in mitigation, response, and recovery practices and policies, and adjust the plan as needed.