The Department of Homeland Security has issued a blueprint for standardizing the federal government's response to national disasters and terrorist attacks in the United States.
The National Response Plan is an all-hazards plan that outlines the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy and operational coordination for domestic incident management.
One highlight of the NRP is that, for the first time, agriculture is included in a national plan of this nature. The NRP addresses efforts to control and eradicate an outbreak of a highly contagious or economically devastating animal or zoonotic disease, and ways to ensure food safety and food security.
"The National Response Plan embodies our nation's commitment to the concept of one team, one goal: a safer and more secure America," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Jan. 6.
Experts from federal departments and agencies; state, local, and tribal officials; incident response personnel; and private-sector communities from around the nation helped create the NRP, which fulfills a requirement in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5.
The NRP standardizes federal incident response actions by integrating existing and formerly disparate processes. Federal departments and agencies will use the plan to assist or support responding entities during national incidents, whether threats or acts of terrorism, major natural disasters, or man-made emergencies.
When fully implemented, the NRP will supersede the Initial National Response Plan, the Federal Response Plan, the U. S. Government Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan, and the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan. It is expected that states will need to adjust their plans to be consistent with the NRP.
The entire National Response Plan can be viewed at www.dhs.gov/nationalresponseplan.