On November 2, 2021, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation released the “Key Findings and Action Plan for 2021 National Resource Management Summit” (https://www.napsgfoundation.org/new-publication-key-findings-and-action-plan-for-2021-national-resource-management-summit/). The project was funded through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. I had the honor and privilege of participating in the Summit along with a diverse range of other public safety stakeholders from across the United States. The goal of the summit was to “collaborate with the community in defining mission-critical requirements for resource management preparedness technology and tools that will maximize value and increase use among the state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies, and other partners.” (https://www.napsgfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021-NRMS-Findings-and-Action-Plan.pdf)
From the seemingly mundane task of inventorying resources for annual insurance coverage, to tracking when equipment is due for routine scheduled maintenance, all the way up to deploying resources through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for state-to-state mutual aid (https://www.emacweb.org/), the value of good resource management processes cannot be understated. Developing systems and processes that look at as many aspects of resource management as possible is important to maximizing buy-in from stakeholders. This holistic approach is also important to supporting the adage “fight as you train.” Building muscle memory with how resource management systems work during normal, routine operations (such as for tracking for insurance, scheduled maintenance, replacement schedule, etc.) increases the probability that those systems will be used for resources management during large-scale disaster response. Finding, developing, and maintaining technology systems that support effective resources management is a vital need. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DHS S&T, along with the NAPSG Foundation, leveraged the National Resource Management Summit to identify the mission-critical requirements for resource management technology with the stated goal of increasing the value-add of such systems to state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies as well as other partners.
Based on the findings identified by the Summit, an action plan was developed that lays out specific requirements for the National Resources Hub suite (https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/national-resource-hub/about). While establishing a timeline was not within the scope of the NAPSG’s work, I strongly encourage FEMA and DHS to continue the work that has been started by this Summit with regards to resource management. The provided Action Plan lays out specific, measurable, attainable, relevant goals (S.M.A.R.T goals). The only thing missing is the time base for implementation. A few of the action items link to already existing tools (such as the FEMA Resource Typing Library Tool, RTLT) or existing training resources (FEMA’s National Emergency Training Center’s various programs), potentially leverage existing FEMA Public Assistance cost codes, are complementary to FEMA’s efforts to update the job titles and position qualifications, and are all in line with the National Incident Management System fundamentals.
Resource management will always be a fundamental need of state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies as well as other partners for routine operations up to major disaster responses. FEMA’s and DHS S&T’s leadership and investments in this effort are vital toward improving the preparedness of the United States for all hazards. The 2021 National Resource Management Summit was a great initiative and the Action Plan should be utilized to keep this important work moving forward.