National Resource Framework Document

National Resource Framework Document

The Federal government was given an intrusive role in meeting future emergencies after the widespread devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina. National organization and missions such as Disaster management and Homeland security can be overwhelmed by the response to domestic emergencies. These emergencies require effective support and action from the state and local governments in addition to private and voluntary associations, communities, federal officials as well as individuals. Federalism has been the guiding principle in meeting the needs of citizens after disaster through allocation of responsibilities due to its experience and practicability. Analysis of recent emergencies and scientific research on disaster response still name federalism as the right approach in disaster management. There is an argument that the best efforts to safeguard property and save lives during extreme emergencies are done by the private sector initiatives, individual’s civic deeds and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

According to the “National Response Framework”, the federal government facilitates effective national response to emergencies and catastrophic disasters by helping communities build strong grassroots response. This is done through creation of national response system that encourages collaboration and through support of the” train the trainer” programs. The federal government through the U.S constitution gives the local communities and citizens the greatest role in shaping their lives. This is because the local jurisdictions are the ones best equipped in finding a solution to the problems since they are closest to the problem.

The major impact federalism has in planning and response to emergencies is the ability to fight disasters at local level. It ensures that incidents are best managed at the lowest organizational, geographical and jurisdictional levels. Since every community is unique in terms of language, infrastructure, culture, politics and geography, disaster planning and preparedness encompass these factors. Local communities are responsible for their own public safety and thus have resources and assets required in dealing with the prevalent problems. Local responders reach the point of need in time to make a difference. This is because in most disasters, time is of essence and the first few hours are critical. Priorities also matter and since state and federal government may be needed to allocate additional resources incase of large-scale disasters, a robust local response ensures that more aid is focused on areas greatly affected by the catastrophic disaster. The move encourages disaster preparedness because the local communities will be obliged to invest in assets and resources that safeguard their citizens since they are primarily responsible for disaster response. The Grassroots Response affected by federalism has proved through research to be more effective than the NFR. The community centered disaster preparations ensures more effective planning, a response that is more meaningful and a response that is more versatile.

National Response Framework (NFR) was earlier known as Federal Response Plan (FRP) that focused mainly on Federal roles and responsibilities. The Framework contains the key response structures, roles, principles and participants in the Nation’s response operations. It contains the shared responsibility of the all levels of government, NGO’s, private sector and individual citizens. NFR commits the federal government in partnership with private sector and other tribal and local governments in strategic and operational plans specified by the National Preparedness Guidelines. Federalism is accommodated within the NRF through the National Response Plan which is a framework that defines responsibilities of various participants incase of a domestic emergency. In case of various types of threats and incidents, the framework designates with programs and federal agencies that are to be activated. It specifies 15 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) to be particular and states which organizations have the primary responsibility of coordinating each ESF when an emergency arises. The framework in addition indicates the various ways that federal agencies interact with the local, tribal and sate governments as well as the private sector.

Homeland Security is not the optimal system in fighting disaster. Although Homeland security performs the major role of coordinating operations with its secretary as the principal Federal official responsible for incident management domestically, a lot need to be done to create a more effective system. Homeland Security coordinates between resource deployment and Federal operations within the United States. They have the roles of preparing to disasters, responding to them and recovering from terrorist attacks among other disasters and emergencies. Depending on the nature and size of an event different Federal departments and agents play different roles. DHS (Departments of Homeland Security) was created to serve as a planning integrator in 2003 in coordinate between the President and other Federal management incidents that support local and State partners.

Since DHS is not the optimal disaster response system, the federal government has the role in creating a better system through planning, training, education in interoperable communications and better methods of information sharing. To create a better system Department of Homeland Security should create regional outreach offices, deemphasize national preparedness programs such as National Preparedness Month and ask for help from organizations that reach local citizens like America Red Cross. DHS can also ‘train the trainers’ especially the local leaders in strong community centered programs.

In conclusion, local governments through the community centered disaster response programs offer better results that DHS. It is therefore necessary for Federal, state and local governments to work together with private sectors, NGOs and individuals to plan and build better disaster response and preparedness. The principle of federalism however should be adopted since as with many program like DHS missions and community-centered response programs, they yield the best results.




















Homeland Security. (2008, January). National Response Framework. Retrieved January 25, 2010, from

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