Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Basic Practices Aiding High-Performance Homeland Security Regional Partnerships

Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Basic Practices Aiding High-Performance Homeland Security Regional Partnerships

Article excerpt


Required by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, the National Preparedness Goal is a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal intended to establish measurable readiness priorities and targets. All states and urban areas are to align existing preparedness strategies within the National Preparedness Goal's eight national priorities. 1 A national priority under the Goal is the use of geographic regions across the nation to share risk, engage in joint planning, and share resources to develop and sustain risk-based capability levels.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) required states and urban areas to assess their preparedness needs by reviewing their existing programs and capabilities. These findings were then to be used in developing a plan and formal investment justification outlining major statewide, sub-state, or interstate initiatives for which they will seek federal funding under the Homeland Security Grant Program. According to DHS, the funding initiatives are to focus efforts on how to build and sustain programs and capabilities within and across state boundaries while aligning with the Goal and national priorities. In fiscal year 2006 DHS funding guidance, regional collaboration included specific implementation benchmarks. These benchmarks included (1) formalizing mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities and states to share equipment, personnel, and facilities during emergencies; (2) conducting exercises of the execution of mutual aid agreements to identify the challenges and familiarize officials with resources that are available in the region; and (3) coordinating homeland security preparedness assistance expenditures and planning efforts on a regional basis to avoid duplicative or inconsistent investments.

There are tremendous challenges in developing and implementing regional collaboration strategies. This article examines these practices, based on an analysis of several published sources elaborating on critical success elements or factors for successful collaborations, partnerships, or strategic alliances and performance management and strategic planning, including those for homeland security.


Others besides DHS have emphasized the importance of multi-organizational relationships, coordination, and collaboration such as regional approaches to homeland security preparedness, response, and recovery. For example, Donald F. Kettl characterized homeland security as being fundamentally about coordination involving multiple federal agencies, complex partnerships with state and local governments, and intricate ties between the public and nongovernmental sectors. 2 Kiki Caruson, Susan A. MacManus, Matthew Kohen, and Thomas A. Watson also have written that regionalism offers a powerful tool for encouraging greater intergovernmental cooperation and improved homeland security preparedness. Assessing Florida's regional approach, these authors highlighted the importance of regionalism in fostering strong vertical and horizontal networks, intergovernmental cooperation, and security preparedness. They found that regional organizational structures are most effective in promoting intergovernmental cooperation and homeland security preparedness where there are (1) a large number of counties, cities, special districts, and multi-county special districts operating in each region and (2) a number of vulnerabilities, including high-risk physical targets, at-risk populations, water geography, and population size and density. Under these conditions, they found local officials tend to report higher levels of intergovernmental cooperation, better-quality networks, and a high level of preparedness. Regions where these conditions were not present tended to report less cooperation among government entities and lower preparedness ratings. 3 The Homeland Security Policy Institute Task Force also emphasized that regional preparedness is critical to building a national response system. …

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