Over the last decades, a number of pieces of legislation and policy directives have included to varying degrees a focus on recovery as an intrinsic element of the national approach to managing disasters: the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act of 2006, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 and its reauthorization in 2013, Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness, and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy. Each of these policies is discussed below in the context of disaster recovery.
The Stafford Act (Public Law 93-288) is the main source of authorities for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) disaster assistance programs. Under this act, the President is authorized to issue major disaster or emergency declarations, resulting in the distribution of wide-ranging federal aid to individuals and families, certain nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 amended the Stafford Act to establish new procedures designed to improve the efficiency and quality of disaster assistance; it created a set of alternative procedures for FEMA’s administration of its Public Assistance program, which offers funding for the removal of debris and the repair and restoration of eligible facilities. Among the other provisions of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act is the authorization for a chief executive of an Indian tribal nation to request a major disaster or emergency declaration, separately from the state. The act also authorizes FEMA to pay for child care expenses as disaster assistance under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program. This provision for child care is critical to protecting a vulnerable population. Finally, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act also makes changes to streamline the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program process, and it allows FEMA to provide up to 25 percent of the estimated costs of hazard mitigation to a grantee in advance of the costs being incurred (Brown et al., 2013).
1 42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq.
2 Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, Public Law 113-2, 113th Cong., H.R.152 (January 29, 2014).
DISASTER MITIGATION ACT OF 20003
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390) authorizes FEMA’s requirement that state, local, and Indian tribal governments carry out mitigation planning as a condition for receiving post-disaster mitigation grant assistance. The DMA also “amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act by repealing the previous mitigation planning provisions and replacing them with a new set of requirements that emphasize the need for state, local, and Indian Tribal entities to closely coordinate mitigation planning and implementation efforts” (FEMA, 2013). The act added incentives, authorizing increased funding for states demonstrating improved coordination and integration of mitigation planning and implementation. Finally, the act established a new requirement for local mitigation plans and authorizes the use of up to 7 percent of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds available to a state for the development of state, local, and Indian tribal mitigation plans (FEMA, 2013). Mitigation, conceived of as a cornerstone of emergency management, refers to activities that reduce a disaster’s impact on lives and property through, for example, damage prevention and flood insurance.
HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 20024
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and placed FEMA, which had been an independent agency created in 1979, within this new department. It also called for the consolidation of existing federal emergency response plans into a National Response Plan (NRP), which was to establish a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management. The NRP was completed in December 2004, and subsequently superseded by the National Response Framework (NRF), first published in January 2008 and updated in May 2013. The NRP and NRF were designed to be used in efforts to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, including terrorist attacks and disasters (FEMA, 2015c). The NRP and the first version of the NRF included a special focus on long-term community recovery through a specific Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14.5 The Homeland Security Act also called for the establishment of a National Incident Management System, which specifies a systematic approach for how to manage emergencies involving all threats and hazards, regardless of the cause, size, location, or complexity of the incident (FEMA, 2015b). Relatedly, a presidential directive—Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5: Management of Domestic Incidents—was issued.6 It directed the development and administration of a National Incident Management System (NIMS), first released on March 1, 2004, by DHS (DHS, 2008). The NIMS is a comprehensive, scalable, and systematic approach to incident management that specifies core doctrine, concepts, and organizational processes for all hazards.
THE POST-KATRINA EMERGENCY REFORM ACT OF 20067 AND THE NATIONAL DISASTER RECOVERY FRAMEWORK
Spurred by the highly visible failures surrounding the response to Hurricane Katrina, one of the main goals of the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act of 2006 was to reconfigure FEMA. It established 10 regional FEMA offices, each with a regional administrator, and it conferred on FEMA more organizational autonomy. Among its other provisions, especially relevant to recovery, was adding to the Stafford Act mission a focus on reunification of families through the development of a National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System and a Child Locator Center. The act also established a National Advisory Council, and it called for the appointment of a FEMA disability coordinator and a small state and rural
3 Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, Public Law 106-390, 106th Cong., H.R.707 (October 30, 2000).
4 Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 107th Cong., H.R.5005 (November 25, 2002).
5 ESF #14 was subsequently replaced by Recovery Support Functions under the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
6 Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, Management of Domestic Incidents (February 28, 2003).
7 Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, 109th Cong., S.3721 (October 4, 2006).
advocate. These last two provisions in particular are key to protecting vulnerable populations during response and recovery (Bea et al., 2006).
The act also called for the establishment of the National Disaster Housing Strategy, released January 16, 2009, which addresses temporary housing needs and the rebuilding of permanent housing—including rental housing—and includes a focus on the housing needs of disabled persons (FEMA, 2009). The act also amended the Stafford Act regarding disaster assistance, transportation assistance, and case management services, all of which are important in the early phases of recovery.
The act also called on FEMA to assemble a group of federal and nongovernmental organizations to develop a National Disaster Recovery Strategy, summarizing existing programs and evaluating their utility following a disaster (Bea et al., 2006). In 2009, the President created the White House Long-Term Disaster Recovery Working Group to develop this strategy, which was accomplished by sponsoring outreach sessions and creating a Web portal enabling more than 600 stakeholders to provide thousands of comments. The National Disaster Recovery Strategy was renamed the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) and released in September 2011. The NDRF grew out of recognition of the failure to plan for recovery after Hurricane Katrina, the failure to relate local needs to available resources, and the failure to plan for the actions of multiple parties to address disagreements about resource allocation (Smith, 2011). It specifies “core recovery principles; roles and responsibilities of recovery coordinators and other stakeholders; a coordinating structure that facilitates communication and collaboration among all stakeholders; guidance for pre- and post-disaster recovery planning; and the overall process by which communities can capitalize on opportunities to rebuild” what the NDRF asserts will be “stronger, smarter, and safer” communities (FEMA, 2011, p. 1).
The NDRF provides a guide for the federal government to facilitate effective recovery at the community level (FEMA, 2011). Spearheaded by FEMA and its federal partners, the NDRF is not an explicit plan but is, rather, a document that defines how federal agencies organize and operate during recovery to support states, tribes, and localities. The NDRF is intended for a wide audience of governmental, private sector, and nongovernmental stakeholders. A companion document, the Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plan, was released in 2014. That document operationalizes the NDRF and is far more specific about federal tasks and responsibilities, as well as detailed resource, personnel, and sourcing requirements (FEMA, 2014).
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) of December 2006 amended the Public Health Service Act to establish the position of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It then gave ASPR authority over and responsibility for the National Disaster Medical System and the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) Cooperative Agreement. Relatedly, it formally established in law the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and reassigned responsibility for the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) to ASPR. These two programs establish guidelines and standards for registration, credentialing, and deployment of medical professionals in a national emergency.
The PAHPA also called for establishment of the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) (HHS, 2009). The original NHSS, released in December 2009, presented a vision of national health security—a secure and resilient nation “in the face of diverse incidents with health consequences”—and identified priorities to direct this effort. Progress toward achieving the stated goal to “strengthen and sustain com-
8 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, Public Law 109-417, 109th Cong., S.3678 (December 19, 2006).
9 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, Public Law 113-5, 113th Cong., H.R.307 (March 13, 2013).
munities’ abilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from incidents with negative health consequences” is assessed and reported every four years (HHS, 2015, p. 6). Following the release of the National Health Security Review 2010-2014, an updated National Health Security Strategy Implementation Plan (NHSS/IP) 2015-2018 was released in February 2015. The NHSS/IP offers five strategic objectives, the first of which is to “build and sustain healthy, resilient communities” (HHS, 2015, p. 9). This objective calls for efforts to build social connectedness, to improve the coordination of health and human services through community partnerships, and to foster a culture of resilience throughout the nation (HHS, 2015). Remaining objectives include enhancing the national capability to produce and effectively use both medical countermeasures and non-pharmaceutical interventions; ensuring comprehensive health situational awareness to support decision making before incidents and during response and recovery operations; enhancing the integration and effectiveness of the public health, health care, and emergency management systems; and strengthening global health security (HHS, 2015).
The NHSS is supported by the HPP Cooperative Agreement, which is administered by ASPR, and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreement, which is administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These Cooperative Agreements are authorized by sections 319C-1 and 319C-2 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by the PAHPA.10
Defined sets of public health and health care preparedness capabilities have been developed by CDC and ASPR, respectively, to help public health and health care organizations with strategic planning for preparedness and response. These capabilities form the basis of the program measures and evaluations required by the PHEP and HPP Cooperative Agreements.
Recovery is one of 15 capabilities specified in Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning (CDC, 2011) and one of eight capabilities specified in Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities: National Guidance for Healthcare System Preparedness (ASPR, 2012). For public health, the capability for community recovery is designed to help community partners “plan and advocate for the rebuilding of public health, medical, and mental/behavioral health systems to at least a level functioning comparable to pre-incident levels, and improved levels where possible” (CDC, 2011, p. 10). For health care, the capability for health care system recovery relates to the development of efficient processes for achieving continuity of operations and the return to normalcy in the delivery of health care to a community.
PRESIDENTIAL POLICY DIRECTIVE 8: NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS
Presidential Policy Directive 8, which was signed on March 30, 2011, directed the development of a National Preparedness Goal and a National Preparedness System, among other provisions (Brown, 2011).11 The National Preparedness Goal (released September 2011) established what it means for the whole community12 to be prepared for disasters of all types. The National Preparedness Goal, which was issued subsequently, is “a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” The National Preparedness Goal then defines 31 core capabilities that address the greatest risks to the nation. The core capabilities are organized into five mission areas: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery (FEMA, 2015d). The presidential directive defines “recovery” as “rebuilding infrastructure systems; providing adequate interim and long-term housing for survivors;
10 Public Health Service Act § 319(C)(1-2), as amended by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, Public Law 109-417, 109th Cong., S.3678 (December 19, 2006).
11 This directive replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-8: National Preparedness, issued December 17, 2003, and HSPD-8 Annex I: National Planning, issued December 4, 2007, both by President Bush.
12 The whole-community approach to preparedness “recognizes that everyone can contribute to and benefit from national preparedness efforts. This includes individuals and families (including those with disabilities and others with access and functional needs), businesses, community and faith-based groups, nonprofit organizations, and all levels of government” (FEMA, 2015c).
restoring health, social, and community services; promoting economic development; and restoring natural and cultural resources” (DHS, 2011).
The National Preparedness System is an integrated set of guidance, programs, and processes designed for all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, and the public to guide the United States toward meeting the National Preparedness Goal. The National Preparedness System includes a series of integrated national planning frameworks covering each of the five preparedness mission areas: prevention (the National Prevention Framework, released in May 2013); protection (the National Protection Framework, released in June 2014); mitigation (the National Mitigation Framework, released in May 2013); response (the NRF, first edition released in 2008 and second edition in May 2013); and recovery (NDRF, released in September 2011) (FEMA, 2015c).
Each framework explains its purpose, including guiding principles and scope of mission area; provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of each part of the community; identifies the mission area’s core capabilities, providing key examples of crucial tasks; and defines coordinating structures, whether new or existing, that can enable the whole community to work collaboratively to deliver the core capabilities. Each framework also provides information that state, local, tribal, and territorial governments can utilize to revise their own operational plans (FEMA, 2015a).
Each of the frameworks also is associated with a Federal Interagency Operational Plan that is designed to enable the federal government to implement the framework. Each operational plan describes how federal activities can integrate with and support state and local recovery efforts. Each operational plan also describes critical federal tasks and responsibilities, including resource, personnel, and sourcing requirements and offers guidelines for integrating resources and staff quickly and efficiently. These plans are intended to serve as the federal government’s concept of operations for each of the five preparedness mission areas (FEMA, 2015a). Finally, Presidential Directive 8 requires an annual report, the National Preparedness Report, which summarizes progress toward core capabilities in the National Preparedness Goal. Such reports were released on March 30, 2012; March 30, 2013; and March 30, 2014 (see FEMA, 2015e).
HURRICANE SANDY REBUILDING STRATEGY
On December 7, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. That task force was responsible for writing the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy, a comprehensive plan, released in August 2013, that is designed to guide the expenditure of the $50 billion appropriated under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which supports recovery from Hurricane Sandy (Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, 2013). From the outset, the strategy envisioned rebuilding the affected region in a way that is stronger and smarter, including more resilient—that is, better able to withstand future storms. The strategy sets forth 69 recommendations designed to achieve the following goals: “promoting resilient rebuilding through innovative ideas and a thorough understanding of current and future risk; ensuring a regionally coordinated, resilient approach to infrastructure investment; restoring and strengthening homes and providing families with safe, affordable housing options; supporting small businesses and revitalizing local economies; addressing insurance challenges, understanding, and affordability; building state and local capacity to plan for and implement long-term recovery and rebuilding; [and] improving data sharing between federal, state and local officials” (Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, 2013, p. 39). Some of the specific recommendations are to make the electrical grid smarter and more flexible and to protect the liquid fuel supply chain so that it can better withstand future disasters. Another recommendation is to make housing units—both individual and multifamily—more sustainable and resilient through recovery steps such as elevating units well above flood risk levels and increasing energy efficiency. Still another is to fund local disaster recovery manager positions in communities in the Sandy-affected region (Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, 2013).
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