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Research Questions

  1. Are there risk-informed, capabilities-based planning tools in existence that would be useful to local civilian governments, VA health care providers, and military installations?
  2. How can those tools be improved upon or developed?
  3. What would such a tool need to address, and how?

Against a backdrop of terrorist threats, natural disasters, and heightened concern about pandemic influenza, national security policy is now based on an all-hazards approach to disaster preparedness planning. Effective local planning is critical to disaster preparedness. Military installations and their civilian counterparts — local government and local health-care providers — can strengthen local-level disaster preparedness planning. This is the second report of a larger study aiming to develop planning support tools for local military and civilian planners. It describes a prototype tool that focuses on risk-informed, capabilities-based planning to determine (and address gaps in) the capabilities and resources a locality will likely require in the event of a disaster, with the prototype demonstration focusing on earthquakes, hurricanes, and pandemic influenza. The report also describes two social networking tools for local coordination of disaster preparedness and sharing of resources.

Key Findings

The Prototype Planning Tool Works Within Its Constraints, but Needs Further Development, Testing and Validation; the Networking Tools Are Fully Functional

  • National security policy is now based on an all-hazards approach to disaster preparedness planning. Effective local-level planning is critical to disaster preparedness. Military installations and their civilian counterparts — local government and local health-care providers including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — can strengthen local-level disaster preparedness planning.
  • The prototype planning tool helps address this need, but requires further work to validate and test the inputs and functions already included, especially the functions used to calculate disaster effects.
  • Use of the prototype tool would enable systematic testing of the data and estimates used in the planning tool to inform its further development. Similarly, feedback from potential users, including government agencies, on ways that both sets of tools may be improved would support future efforts to refine them.
  • Networking among local response organizations can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster preparedness and response. The prototype networking tools help to enhance such local networking.

Recommendation

  • The prototype planning tool is functional within the scope of its design, but should undergo robust testing and validation by local users as well as potential future sponsors and other interested stakeholders, especially for the disaster effects functions, to help inform the tool's further development and ultimate dissemination and use.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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