Disaster Management

The United States experienced over 20 "billion-dollar" disasters in 2023. But costs are just one of the many problems that face a community reeling from wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other serious disaster incidents.

RAND's interdisciplinary team of experts directly supports decisionmakers in developing actionable plans and improving policies for disaster management and resilience. Within the Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD), the Disaster Management and Resilience Program (DMR) serves as the focal point for RAND's activities in this area.

The Challenge

As the United States faces larger disasters more frequently, understanding the best ways to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of disasters will become increasingly important.

A U.S. Coast Guard photo of the 2023 Maui wildfires

A scene from Lahaina, Maui as rescue efforts were underway during the August 2023 wildfires

Photo by the U.S. Coast Guard

RAND's History

Disaster management is not new work for RAND. In fact, in 1975, RAND research proved pivotal to the government of the Netherlands as it sought solutions to prevent catastrophic flooding from the North Sea after an incident in 1953 killed thousands of people. For that effort, RAND developed methodologies for predicting the effectiveness of alternative approaches to prevent flooding. That holistic approach to disaster management and response underpins RAND's work today. See, for example, Supporting Puerto Rico's Disaster Recovery Planning and Recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Progress, Challenges, and Options for the Future.

Mission Support

RAND brings its exceptional talent pool to bear on a broad array of disaster types: natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and pandemics; technological hazards, such as dam failures and industrial accidents; and human-made threats such as terrorist or cyberattacks, biological warfare, and radiological fallout. Our researchers include former senior government officials with extensive practical knowledge of public sector programs and challenges, and RAND is home to nationally recognized experts across multiple fields, including:

  • Recovery planning and implementation
  • Program assessment and process improvement
  • Flood insurance
  • Disaster cost analysis and evaluation
  • Mitigating the effects of disasters
  • Risk assessment
  • Grant program analysis and support
  • Emergency management training and education
  • Equity in disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery
  • Change management and workforce planning

On this page, you'll find recent work on disaster management and resilience curated especially for the homeland security community. To view all of RAND's work on disaster management and resilience, visit our topic pages on Disaster Recovery, Emergency Preparedness, Flooding, and Community Resilience.

For more projects, see our topic pages Disaster Recovery, Emergency Preparedness, Flooding, and Community Resilience.