Pikes Peak Community College
The purpose of this paper is to become acquainted with the evolution of national incident
response over the last twenty years in America; and henceforth, gain a better understanding of
the current multi-agency/multi-discipline approach to national disasters and emergencies. This summary briefly reviews the history of federal planning documents over the past twenty years as context for the present day, National Response Framework; and then highlights the response doctrine and its five principles, as it seems to encapsulate the National Response Framework overall. “Response doctrine influences the way in which policy and plans are developed, forces are organized and trained, and equipment is procured. It promotes unity of purpose, guides professional judgment, and enables responders to best fulfill their responsibilities.” (NFR, January 2008, Page 8 and 9) This summary draws upon multiple documents from one primary source, the Department of Homeland Security web site. Upon examination of these documents it became clear that as our country faced more frequent and destructive disasters, the more collaborative our preparation, response and recovery efforts had to become; and to coordinate that kind of multi-systems response our first responders and decision makers would need a framework from which to provide a powerful unified response. That document is the National Response Framework. Researching and summarizing this document is a crucial foundation to understanding 21st Century emergency management in the United States.
A Summary of the National Response Framework
“To prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies, the United States Government shall establish a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management.” — Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 5 (NPR Brochure, page 2)
The National Response Framework (NRF) is a 90-page guide to how the United States conducts all-hazards response. As a student exploring the field of emergency management as a career possibility, it is clear that the National Response Framework is the essential first-step to having a better understanding of how incident response will be conducted now and in the future. Furthermore, it is the fundamental directive on how local, state and federal preparation, planning, mitigation and recovery will be forged, as well. So if one wants to be effective in emergency management, one must first become knowledgeable of this framework.
The National Response Framework is guided by the input of hundreds of stakeholders, written for government executives, private-sector and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders, and emergency management practitioners to establish a comprehensive national approach to domestic incident response.
The NRF works because it sharpens the focus on who is involved with emergency management at the local, tribal, state and federal levels and with the private sector and NGOs; describes what we as a nation collectively do to respond to incidents; explains how we are organized to implement response actions; and emphasizes the importance of planning. It allows first responders, decision-makers and supporting entities to provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies. (NFP- Fact Sheet, page 4)
This document is a result of twenty years of federal planning documents. The NRF was preceded 15 years earlier by a Federal Response Plan (1992) that focused largely on federal roles and responsibilities only. (NFP, January 2008, page 2)
However, after the 9/11 attacks, urgent efforts were made to understand and implement common incident management and response principles to develop common planning frameworks. President George W. Bush directed the development of the National...