I have just finished reading Stephen Flynn’s wonderful new book, The Edge of Disaster, which is an excellent introduction on homeland security and disaster recovery issues. Three facts about current policy stand out:
1) Under the Bush Administration’s budgets, there is far more money spent by the Pentagon protecting its own domestic military installations ($16.5 billion) than protecting the rest of us.
2) In 2002, as part of the legislation creating the Homeland Security Department, Congress directed the administration to construct a list setting priorities for protecting critical national infrastructure: which energy facilities, utilities, bridges, ports, water and other crucial services are most at risk of terrorist attacks and what are the plans for protecting them. Five years later, the Administration still has not developed this list.
3) There was one important pre-9/11 success story: Project Impact, in which the federal government helped fund and worked closely with local governments in developing resilient systems that could provide services in the wake of disasters and terrorist attacks. It was cancelled by the Bush Administration.
Feeling safer yet?