Continuing the work of the 2021 National Resource Stewardship Summit Action Plan
On November 2, 2021, the National Alliance for Public Safety Foundation (NAPSG) released the “Key Findings and Action Plan for the 2021 National Resource Stewardship Summit” (https://www.napsgfoundation.org/new-publication-key-findings-and-action-plan-for-2021-national-resource-management-summit/). The project was funded through a partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. I had the honor and privilege of participating in the Summit along with a wide range of other public safety stakeholders from across the United States. The goal of the summit was to “collaborate with the community to define essential requirements for resource management readiness technology and tools that will maximize value and increase utilization among state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies, and other partners”. (https://www.napsgfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021-NRMS-Findings-and-Action-Plan.pdf)
From the seemingly mundane task of inventorying resources for annual insurance coverage, to tracking the due date of equipment for routine scheduled maintenance, to deploying resources through the Emergency Management Assistance for Mutual Assistance between States (https://www.emacweb.org/), the value of good resource management processes cannot be underestimated. Developing systems and processes that consider as many aspects of resource management as possible is important to maximize stakeholder buy-in. This holistic approach is also important to support the adage “fight while you train”. Building muscle memory with how resource management systems work during normal, routine operations (such as insurance tracking, planned maintenance, replacement timing, etc.) increases the likelihood that these systems will be used for management resources during a large-scale disaster response. Finding, developing and maintaining technology systems that support effective resource management is a vital need. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DHS S&T, along with the NAPSG Foundation, leveraged the National Resource Management Summit to identify essential resource management technology requirements for the stated purpose of to increase the added value of these systems to state, local, tribal and territorial agencies as well as other partners.
Based on the findings identified by the Summit, an action plan has been developed that sets out specific requirements for the National Resources Hub suite (https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/national-resource-hub/about). Although setting a timeline was outside the scope of the NAPSG’s work, I strongly encourage FEMA and DHS to continue the work begun at this Summit with respect to resource management. The action plan provided defines specific, measurable, achievable and relevant objectives (SMART objectives). The only thing missing is the time base for implementation. A few of the action items relate to already existing tools (such as the FEMA Resource Typing Library Tool, RTLT) or existing training resources (various programs from the National Emergency Training Center of FEMA), potentially leverage existing FEMA public assistance cost codes, are complementary to efforts to update job titles and job qualifications, and are all consistent with the fundamentals of the National Incident Management System.
Resource management will always be a basic need of state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and other partners for routine operations through to major disaster response. The leadership and investment of FEMA and DHS S&T in this effort is critical to improving the United States’ all-hazards preparedness. The 2021 National Resource Stewardship Summit was a great initiative and the action plan should be used to move this important work forward.