Featured Post

Homeland Security: The Sworn Duty of Public Officials

Homeland Security: The Sworn Duty of Public Officials     The United States has a unique position amongst the countries of the world;...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Challenges and Challenge Mitigation in Emergency Management Strategic Planning

Challenges and Challenge Mitigation in Emergency Management Strategic Planning
There are two categories of efforts that agencies should adapt to improve their strategic planning process. The first category lies in the types of organizational analysis that are available to use to accomplish the improvement, and the second are the leadership tools that managers must use to ensure that both effective analysis and the changes/corrections identified by that analysis are effectively carried out. Examples of analytic tools are processes such as SWOT, and specific evaluations in the form of training exercises. Hardin suggests that “a SWOT analysis can be helpful to evaluate your current state of readiness for ...other threats including natural disasters” (2015, para. 3). It is also “important that local government organizations and personnel operating within the EOC understand the assessment methodologies available for evaluating and monitoring exercises” (Sinclair, Doyle, Johnston, & Paton, 2012, p. 508) Leadership is required to “champion” change (Bryson, 2011, P. 363), not only the changes, but to ensure the analytic tools are utilized correctly. The strategic management and planning process is a cycle in which each stage of planning and change may require additional analysis, planning, and correction. A major responsibility of management responses is the need to be aware of challenges to the strategic planning process.
The primary challenge that emergency agencies must content with is the availability of resources; “emergency management agencies and programs have not received the political and fiscal support that they should have” (Choi, 2008, p. 3). The next critical challenge is uncertainty. ”there are factors beyond the control of those designing the policy that will impact the extent to which the policy is implemented as well as the policy's performance and output”(Jensen, 2010, p .114). Other challenges include the level of public awareness of emergency response, public expectations of the level of emergency response, a lack of adequate foresight in planing, the resistance of aligned agencies to proper collaboration, and a lack of commitment to the process internally,
The most effective method of addressing these challenges is flexibility, which is a principle of FEMA planning (FEMA, 2007, p. 4). Choi suggests that agencies “should have the following in place prior to attempting implementation: a powerful and effective process sponsor; a strategic planning team; a willingness to be flexible concerning what constitutes a strategic plan; and a willing to construct and consider arguments geared to many different criteria” (2008, p. 6). Collaboration with other agencies is critical in emergency planning. Whichever methods are selected, it is the leaders of the agency that are responsible for selecting and employing those methods. “Organisation leaders are generally given responsibility for overall design of the planning system” (Drago & Clements, 1999, Abstract). It can be asserted that leadership in itself is a method for answering challenges.
External views of the agency are dependent upon agency performance. “The public increasingly expects better public sector leadership before, during, and after catastrophic disasters (emergencies) and extreme events (crises) than it has seen in the past” (Kapucu, Arslan, & Demiroz, 2010, p. 452). Public trust in emergency agencies dropped after the televised debacle of Katrina. The government conducted performance studies “after wide public criticisms on its performance in responding to Hurricane Katrina” (Oh, 2012, p.16). Because public perception of the agency is a factor in obtaining resources through the political process, it can be seen as a specific challenge in long term planning.
Strategic planning is not just a long term endeavor, but an ongoing process. “Federal stakeholders are incorporating these new inputs by developing new operational plans, revising existing plans, and updating training and exercise programs to reflect new organizational structures and responsibilities” (US Department of Homeland Security, 2014, p. 15). The cycle of plan, act, and evaluate requires the use of analytic tools and effective leadership throughout the strategic change process. Flexible leadership is necessary to adapt to the challenges that arise during the process.


Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved February 19, 2015 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781118281161/Root/0
Choi, S. (2008). Emergency management: implications from a strategic management perspective. Journal of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, 5(1), 1–21. Retrieved February 24, 2015 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=i3h&AN=31195725&site=ehost-live&scope=site

FEMA. (2007). Emergency management definition, vision, mission, principles. Retrieved February 24, 2015 from www.training.fema.gov/hiedu/08conf/emergency%20management%20principles%20monograph%20final.doc
Drago, W. A., & Clements, C. (1999). Leadership characteristics and strategic planning. Management Research News, 22(1), 11–18. Retrieved February 19, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/223548645?pq-origsite=summon

Department of Homeland Security. (2014). 2014 National Preparedness Report. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409688068371-d71247cabc52a55de78305a4462d0e1a/2014%20NPR_FINAL_082914_508v11.pdf

Hardin, L. (2015). Using NIMS to improve your emergency response plan. SM4 Safety News. Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://sm4.global-aero.com/articles/using-nims-to-improve-your-emergency-response-plan/

Jensen, J. A. (2010). Emergency management policy: predicting National Incident Management System (NIMS) implementation behavior(dissertation). North Dakota State University. Retrieved February 3, 2015 from https://cms-devel.ndsu.nodak.edu/fileadmin/emgt/Final_Dissertation_Complete.pdf

Kapucu, N., Arslan, T., & Demiroz, F. (2010). Collaborative emergency management and national emergency management network. Disaster Prevention and Management, 19(4), 452–468. doi:http://dx.doi.org.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/10.1108/09653561011070376

Oh, N. (2012). Strategic uses of lessons for building collaborative emergency management system: Comparative analysis of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav response systems. Journal of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, 9(1), 1–20. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=i3h&AN=78277925&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Sinclair, H., Doyle, E. E., Johnston, D. M., & Paton, D. (2012). Assessing emergency management training and exercises. Disaster Prevention and Management, 21(4), 507-521. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09653561211256198

No comments:

Post a Comment