This testimony discusses the status of efforts to enhance emergency preparedness in the National Capital Region (NCR). The NCR is a partnership among the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, area local governments, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office for National Capital Region Coordination (NCRC) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and nonprofit organizations and private sector interests. The partnership aims to help the region prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from "all-hazards" threats or events. Gridlock and hazardous conditions during recent events like the January 26, 2011, snow and ice storm and the August 23, 2011, earthquake demonstrate the importance of regional communication and coordination in the NCR and that challenges remain. Well-crafted and executed operational plans are critical for effective response to emergencies, but sound strategic planning is also important. A coordinated strategy to establish and monitor the achievement of regional goals and priorities is fundamental to enhancing emergency preparedness and response capabilities in the NCR. We reported on this issue repeatedly from 2004 through 2006. This testimony focuses on the extent to which strategic planning for NCR preparedness is consistent with characteristics we have previously identified as desirable for strategies for complex undertakings, such as NCR preparedness. This statement is based on work we recently completed for Congress.
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