September is designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as National Preparedness Month – a time when U.S. agencies and organizations, at all levels, recognize the need for and take steps to improve their own preparedness efforts. Today, however, on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon – another attack, thwarted by the heroic efforts of private citizens, ended on a country meadow in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – the nation’s preparedness and resilience levels are still below where they should be.
Leaks of sensitive information not only have opened the door wider for both insider and outsider threats to agencies and organizations, but also have created additional vulnerabilities for the populations they serve. The cyber threat, for example, does not appear to have an easy-to-deploy solution. Budget appropriations for emergency response and training are being whittled down, partly as a result of sequestration and partly because of political infighting. In addition, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano resigned last month, with no successor yet named. Today, the threat of another war still looms while the legislative and executive branches of government debate the fate of Syria and its stockpile of chemical weapons. Moreover, the threat environment throughout the entire Middle East seems to be worsening over time.
Although significant progress in resilience has been made since 2001, the nation has not advanced as fast, or as far, as it perhaps should have. On the other hand, and despite today’s uncertain environment, the nation’s emergency planners, responders, and receivers continue to sacrifice their time – and sometimes their lives – to maintain their focus, prepare their own communities for any type of manmade or natural disaster that might occur, and to respond quickly and effectively when new disasters actually occur.
DomPrep proudly supports and salutes all of those in the public and private sectors who are serving on the front line of preparedness and who, despite the numerous hurdles still to overcome, continue to build a stronger, better prepared, and more resilient nation. Thanks to all of you for your own service and both personal and professional sacrifices, particularly on this special day when we remember those before us who have fallen in the unending battle to build a better world for tomorrow.
Best personal regards, Marty
Martin D. Masiuk
Martin (Marty) Masiuk is president and founder of International Media Representatives Inc. (IMR Group Inc.), which was established in 1986 as an American-based media representation firm for overseas, aerospace, and defense publications. In 1998, under the IMR Group, he established DomesticPreparedness.com, which has evolved into a highly trusted, and important information service for the multi-disclipline, multi-jurisdiction preparedness community. In 2014, he transitioned the DomPrep40 into the Preparedness Leadership Council to lessen the burden on and increase the effectiveness of operational preparedness professionals and help policy professionals make better-informed decisions. Prior to IMR Group, he served as an account representative for McGraw Hill’s Business Week and Aviation Week & Space Technology publications.