HSPD-8: What you need to know

A few things, however, are clear: One is that the impetus to move funds based on risk is unlikely to disappear, and the demand will remain to spread funds beyond urban areas with the highest risk. The desire for solutions that address both terrorist threats and the dangers posed by accidents and nature is also likely to continue, along with the need to balance the needs of local recipients with the creation of national standards.
One thing we know, specifically, based on federal mandates, is that HSPD-8 will become critical to the grant application process. And if, as authorities suspect, next year’s program has more competitive funding streams than in years past, HSPD-8 will need to be in the forefront of every applicant’s mind if he wants to enhance his chances of success.
The basics
HSPD-8, short for the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, was issued in December 2003 under the title “National Preparedness.” The purpose of the directive is to “establish policies to strengthen the preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies by requiring a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal, establishing mechanisms for improved delivery of Federal preparedness assistance to State and local governments, and outlining actions to strengthen preparedness capabilities of Federal, State, and local entities.”
Supplementary to HSPD-8 is last spring’s Interim National Preparedness Goal, which identifies seven priorities for national preparedness, falling into two categories: “overarching priorities,” which include implementing the National Incident Management System and National Response Plan, expanding regional collaboration and implementing the Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan; and “priorities to build specific capabilities,” which include strengthening information sharing and collaboration capabilities, interoperable communications capabilities, chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear and explosive weapons (CBRNE) detection, response and decontamination capabilities, and medical surge and mass prophylaxis capabilities. A summary of both categories can be found at: http://www.dhs. gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0648.xml.
Naturally, developing metrics for evaluating preparedness is necessary in a world of limited resources. Given the inability to implement plans to counter every possible scenario, HSPD-8 stakeholders must determine where resources are most needed based on priorities, targets and metrics. By resources, of course, we inevitably mean funds. Hence, HSPD-8 becomes a means of quantifying and justifying funding, as well as homeland security policies and practices. It’s a matter of delicate balances. As the DHS website explains, “The emphasis is on developing appropriate levels of capabilities to address a wide range of terrorist attacksand disaster scenarios.”
HSPD-8, the ODP and homeland security grants
HSPD-8 isn’t necessarily the new kid on the block, so why is it so important now? According to DHS, “the directive requires submission of the first annual status report on preparedness to the President by March 31, 2006.” This means that all homeland security grant-seekers and their state administrative agencies will be required to adopt all-hazard statewide security preparedness strategies as mandated by HSPD-8 by Sept. 30, 2005. These statewide plans must cohere with the national preparedness goal, as well as, according to the DHS website, “assess the most effective ways to enhance preparedness, address areas facing high risk, and incorporate local government concerns.” If states are on the right track, they will have already updated and compared their existing capabilities inventories to the National Preparedness Goal in order to create their Required Capabilities Lists. Funding in 2006 could center on addressing those needs.
To get more information on what HSPD-8 means for grant-seekers, I spoke with Fran Santagata, Colorado’s special assistant to the governor on homeland security and all-hazards coordinator. Santagata joined the Colorado governor’s office from the DHS Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) as the preparedness officer assigned to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and, later, Utah and Arizona. With a background in public health and emergency preparedness, as well as grants management, she explained how the all-hazards approach intrinsic to HSPD-8 and the capabilities-based process may affect the grants cycle in FY2006.
First and foremost, Santagata clarified that “HSPD-8 is a blueprint for national preparedness” based on years of trial-and-error assessments. The process of fine-tuning assessments was critical since, as Santagata explained, “if the assessment is flawed, then the strategy is flawed, and then the funding would be flawed.”
Since its inception, ODP had to tie together the funding and preparedness functions. To accomplish this, it was tasked with developing a new capabilities-based process in 2003. The process for developing capability planning started with 15 scenarios involving 1,500 federal, state and local responders. The scenarios were standardized and, according to Santagata, “ran the gamut from natural disasters to terrorist attacks.” The Universal Task List currently used by DHS developed from the scenarios, and the capabilities, in turn, were developed from the Universal Task List.
HSPD-8 has directed that funding for grants be tied to a risk model that is capabilities-based. Assessing preparedness is based on the extent to which communities address these target capabilities. As Santagata explained it, these are not one-size-fits-all models. Capabilities were categorized into tiers, with the understanding that a city’s capabilities were different from a county’s. 
As Santagata noted at press time, the Senate Appropriations Committee appeared to be favoring tying funding to the capabilities-based approach. This meant that more of the FY2006 homeland security funds would likely not be distributed based on formulas to states but, rather, that states would be required to compete for funds based on their ability to present a case for capabilities-based funding.
In other words, there will likely still be some formula-derived funding, but the portion that will be threat-based will be at least partially competitive. As a result, states will have to compete based on the work they’ve done to assess their capabilities, develop scenario-based responses and figure out, in Santagata’s terms, “where the Delta or difference is” between capability and response and write the grants to address that gap.
More simply, Santagata explained, it looks like “the competitive portion will need to be written toward the difference between what they have and what they need.”
Remember those priorities addressed in the National Preparedness Goal? This is where they become significant to your grant proposal. As Santagata explained, “applicants will need to focus on their perceived capability deficits, but really hone in on those deficits that address those national priorities.” HST
For more information on HSPD-8, visit the DHS website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/assessments/hspd8.htm. The document itself is available at http://www.whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031217-6.html
Kara Mitzel works in non-profit development and is a consultant to Grants Office LLC in Rochester, NY, a national grants consulting firm specializing in homeland security funding.

(Visited 225 times, 1 visits today)

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

Leave a Reply