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Looking beyond the horizon : Preparation, reaction and flexibility as key concepts of security in the twenty-first century
Material posted: Publication date: 30-07-2013

Carefully studying the events of recent years such as Storm sandy, the shooting in the States and drought across the country, as well as the response from the authorities and the population, the author offers a new conceptual approach to preventing and responding to crises. The article emphasizes the need for a new, innovative approach to the planning, reaction and the concept of "flexibility".

Analyzing the September 11 terrorist attack and the consequences of hurricanes Katrina, Irene and sandy, the author suggests that dimensions of security services and the decision maker must look beyond the immediate needs grants and to abandon the narrow focus on "prevention" and "protection", and to concentrate on the systematic concept of "mitigation of damages adequate response and return the system to its original state" - based functional method and the resources available. The author emphasizes the need to abandon the waste of limited resources to prevent that in any case will happen and the irrational to the protection of "physical" locations. In the face of growing complexity and uncertainty of the future, necessary transition to the concept of flexibility, which must be implemented throughout the country. New challenges are forcing leaders comes to realize strategic benefits and unique features that can be extracted from a society with enough flexibility to counter any kind of threats.

In the modern world is no place "safe Harbor" in which to avoid the impact of disasters of modern times – the physical (climate change, earthquakes, terrorism) and "virtual" (financial crisis and cybercrime). The increasing complexity of challenges and threats compel us to make difficult decisions in the field of national security. According to the author, the new concept will build on the benefits of a national approach and engagement with the private sector for the systematic analysis of the preparedness and flexibility of the system. The destabilizing effects of the disasters of recent years have revived the trend to reactionary response, which is detrimental to strategic interests. The author proposes to examine the events of recent years, and not concentrating on the immediate threats, to try to identify strategic opportunities, the country providing the supply flexibility, which will allow with the least damage to deal with immediate threats to national security, based on the triad "preparedness, appropriate response, flexibility".

Initially, the study was focused on the protection of critical infrastructure, but then expanded to the concepts of "willingness" and "flexibility", in proportion to the growth of the strategic component in the study. The author notes that the intelligence departments of management of emergency situations and the leaders of the private sector in specific regions have experience in the construction and protection of infrastructure in the local area, but less importance is attached to those threats that are relevant for neighbouring regions. Besides the obvious lack of analysis based on the concept of "flexibility" of the system, a joint civil-military planning and collective action at national and local levels.

Statistics confirm that the fragmented planning and risk assessment in each region separately associated with the underestimation of the interrelatedness and integrated nature of contemporary threats. Thus, the system of grants of the state budget leads to more isolation of the subjects from each other, to the detriment of overall security. According to the author, we still think the categories of XX century, based on the funding of individual regions, which won the tenders, and the reaction on the need for resources in the aftermath of disasters.

The author insists on the fact that many existing "habits" of national security (for example, focus on providing physical safety) is irrational and should be abolished.

He emphasizes the necessity of an approach based on "flexibility" for the protection of critical infrastructure. Cooperation of both private and public sectors in this regard will be mutually beneficial. In addition to the conceptual documents and specific action plans that will attract the private sector in the implementation of the "flexibility" of the national security system.

Statistics, according to the author, identifies potential threats that are not yet understood by the population as, in their opinion, critical infrastructure can automatically meet your needs, including the need for security. In the modern world of growing linkages, disasters such as storm sandy cause a "Domino effect" among States.

The author emphasizes that to ensure the principle of "flexibility" required not only the cooperation of private and public services, but also create "risk maps" that take into account all types of threats for the region.

Dane egli cites figures according to which the development of technology and the rise of social media today makes us all more vulnerable, and the funds that were previously effective for "softening" the impact of disasters is not relevant.

The new approach starts with a thorough study of the "mind" of the object of security, as, in the opinion of the author, any danger in the first place, is of a personal nature and different in each social and cultural environment. Ignoring this situation leads to unsatisfactory results security. For example, the Federal emergency management Agency United States, believes that the first 72 hours after an emergency situation, the citizen must provide for their own security. However, polls clearly show on the passivity behavior of the average American citizen after the occurrence of a force majeure event, as it relies on the command "top".

Next, the author explains the value of the category of "flexibility" which, in his opinion, means the ability of a system to return to its original state after the pressure or outside influence. But it is crucial that the system return to its original state, but has become more stable, because of experience.

The previous concept of national security was based on the generation of additional protective layers and the creation of reserves. The new concept offers the principle of "flexibility" that will allow the system to improve after inevitable shocks. For example, in ensuring the protection of key communications, we should not increase the amount of protection, but systematically to study where and how to use available resources to get out of the crisis with the least losses, but, in some cases, where necessary, establish resource reserve and maintain in the active mode, a team of trained professionals.

"Functional" principle "flexible" approach means that analysts must predict the threat and calculate the resources so that the system could "absorb" the consequences of the crisis without losing its ability to perform its function. This is the "elastic" capacity of the system.

In conclusion, the author suggests the application of this approach at all levels of national security. This approach is not only financially viable, in the current economic situation, but also adequate to the nature of today's thunderstorms. The principles state the "flexible" approach involving the private sector taking into account the mental qualities of the object of security are most effective and pragmatic concept for the United States in the twenty-first century.

 

Original Source: Egli, Dane S. 2013. Beyond the Storms: Strengthening Preparedness, Response, & Resilience in the 21st Century. Journal of Strategic Security.

Refereed translations – Medvedev Dmitry


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