Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability and Committee on Homeland and National Security are pleased to release a report, a plan, and a review that will improve the Nation's preparedness for and resilience to potential disasters, whether natural or manmade:
These documents provide important insights to scientists and engineers who are working to improve the Nation's disaster preparedness and to agency officials and other decision makers as they develop research and development plans and priorities. These documents are a significant contribution to an all-of-nation approach to safety, security, preparedness, and resilience. We are grateful to the many agency scientists and officials who collaborated to develop these insights.
National Preparedness Science and Technology Task Force Report: Identifying Science and Technology Opportunities for National Preparedness
Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8, National Preparedness, establishes overarching principles for national-preparedness policy, to achieve “a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” To implement PPD-8, the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction formed the National Preparedness Science and Technology Task Force to bring the Federal interagency science and technology (S&T) community together with the national-preparedness community to identify S&T priorities for national preparedness. This joint planning approach ensures that S&T outcomes are relevant to the needs of the emergency managers and decision makers who are responsible for protecting the Nation.
The report describes areas where science and technology show significant promise for advances that would be of value to the preparedness community: communication of warnings and advisories; fundamental understanding of hazards; event characterization and risk assessment; observations, modeling, and data management; technology for safer response and recovery; and the integration of science into preparedness decisions.
Implementation Roadmap for the National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Research and Development Plan
The Nation’s critical infrastructure is at risk from known threats and hazards, such as damage to the electric grid from extreme-weather events, as well as unknown emerging threats, such as possible cascading cross-sector impacts from terrorist acts. Research and development (R&D) yields knowledge and technologies that can ensure uninterrupted service during high-impact events.
Presidential Policy Directive 21/PPD-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, mandated the development of a National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience R&D Plan, released last year, as well as this implementation roadmap for that plan. The implementation roadmap describes multi-agency R&D activities that will strengthen the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure by addressing five S&T challenge areas. Executive departments and agencies will use the roadmap to inform their R&D investments and track progress.
Homeland Biodefense Science and Technology Capability Review
The United States has developed considerable biodefense capability through investments that have expanded the Nation’s biomedical-research infrastructure; fostered international research relationships; and established a medical, public health, and agricultural infrastructure that would be called upon to respond to a bioterrorism attack. The Homeland Biodefense Science and Technology Capability Review is the product of an interagency effort to identify key science and technology needs that, when met, will improve the Nation’s ability to counter and respond to the intentional use of biological agents to harm human or animal health. This review, produced by the Biological Defense Research and Development (BDRD) Sub-Committee of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Homeland and National Security, identifies the Nation’s most important biodefense needs.
Tamara Dickinson is Principal Assistant Director for Environment and Energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Steve Fetter is Principal Assistant Director for National Security and International Affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.