Assessing resilience: how plans, strategies, and after action reports can improve our understanding of organizational preparedness
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Resilience has emerged as a prominent term throughout homeland security and emergency preparedness doctrine. The National Preparedness Goal, the United States Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) guiding strategic document, defines success as having a secure and resilient Nation. The homeland security enterprise is promoting resilience, yet there is little literature on resilience at the organizational level in public safety agencies—organizations that are key to the homeland security enterprise. This thesis sought to answer two questions: First, how can existing public safety doctrine contribute to an understanding of the organizational resilience of public safety agencies? Second, how can after action reports (AARs) and their resultant learning process contribute to an understanding of adaptive capacity? To answer the research questions, this thesis applied New Zealand's resilience management framework to public safety agency doctrine. The research found that public safety agencies are engaged in activities that contribute to understanding their organizational resilience. It also found that the New Zealand framework can provide a working construct for understanding resilience within U.S. public safety agencies. Recommendations include standardizing AARs with federal guidance and making them publicly available to further contribute to understanding organizational resilience.
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