Prospective vigilance: assessing complex coordinated attack preparedness programs
Goff, Jared B.
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State and local first responders in the United States lack a common strategic approach to prepare for complex coordinated attacks (CCAs). Inconsistent terminology and insufficient guidance from all levels of government and academia complicate matters. State and local agencies face three main barriers to CCA response preparedness: First, the United States has not experienced a CCA like those in Mumbai or Paris; this renders the threat low probability, if high consequence, and thus low priority. Second, preparedness funding in the United States is declining across the board; only high-priority, high-probability events receive necessary funding and attention. Third, if a CCA were to occur today without a unified response plan, first responders would attempt to bring order to chaos; but because this type of event is qualitatively different from those for which responders have trained, such a response could prove to be disastrous. This thesis analyzed and assessed federal summary reports from current preparedness programs. It surveyed program participants about the programs' value and use. When combined with the federal report examination, the survey results revealed that even without a national CCA strategy, these programs increase participants' preparedness and resilience, and first responders may be adapting to the current threat environment. Three recommendations are provided to help address the findings and augment state and local first responder preparedness before a CCA occurs.
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