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Radiation Emergencies
Emergency Response:

Homeland Security Presidential Directives

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

Following the events of September 11, 2001, President Bush issued a series of Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPDs) intended to increase coordination among federal response agencies.

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Management of Domestic Incidents –

HSPD-5 was issued by President Bush on February 28, 2003, to improve management of domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and assigned the Secretary of Homeland Security responsibility for coordinating federal emergency operations within the United States. Federal emergency operations include preparing for, responding to, and recovering from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. DHS coordinates federal resources when any one of several conditions occurs:

  1. a federal department or agency requests their assistance
  2. the resources of state and local authorities are overwhelmed and they request federal assistance
  3. more than one federal department or agency is substantially involved in responding to an incident
  4. the President directs the Secretary to assume responsibility for managing the domestic incident.

HSPD-5 also recognizes the role that state, tribal, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations; and the private sector play in managing incidents. Initial responsibility for managing domestic incidents generally falls on state and local authorities. When their resources are overwhelmed, or when federal property is involved, the federal government provides assistance.

In order to provide a consistent, coordinated, nation-wide approach for emergency operations across all levels of government, HSPD-5 directed DHS to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and a National Response Plan. Together, NIMS and the NRP provide an approach for federal, state, and local governments to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.

EPA’s Role under HSPD-5

HSPD-5 directed all federal agencies, including EPA, to assist DHS in the developing and implementing NIMS and the NRP. EPA worked closely with DHS and the federal response community to develop both, and has submitted a NIMS implementation plan to DHS. EPA is working actively to integrate both NIMS and the NRP into the Agency’s response management.

EPA continues to play an important role in leading the response to incidents involving oil and hazardous materials, including radionuclides, under both the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (the NCP) and the National Response Plan (NRP).

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Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection -

HSPD-7 specifically supersedes PDD-63.

HSPD-7, issued by President George W. Bush on December 17, 2003, establishes a national policy for federal departments and agencies to identify and prioritize critical U.S. infrastructure and key resources and to protect them from terrorist attacks. Federal departments and agencies will work with state and local governments and the private sector to accomplish this objective. HSPD-7 also identifies Sector-Specific Agencies which, under DHS’ overall coordination, lead efforts to protect specific critical sectors and key resources.

In addition, HSPD-7 requires DHS to develop a comprehensive, integrated National Plan for Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Protection (NPIP).

Sector-Specific Agencies

Sector-Specific Agencies are agencies responsible for ensuring the protection of a particular resource or part of the national infrastructure. For example, the Department of Energy is the Sector-Specific Agency for the energy sector of the economy.

Sector-Specific Agencies collaborate with other federal, state, and local governments and the private sector to assess and reduce vulnerabilities within the sector. They also encourage the use of risk-management strategies to protect against and mitigate the effects of attacks against the infrastructure and critical resources within the sector.

Nuclear Sector

HSPD-7 specifically requires DHS to work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and, as appropriate, the Department of Energy to protect elements of the nuclear sector:

EPA’s Role under HSPD-7
EPA's Role as a Sector-Specific Agency

EPA is designated as the Sector-Specific Agency for drinking water and water treatment systems. In addition to being responsible for collaborating across all levels of government, assessing vulnerabilities, and promoting the use of risk-management strategies, EPA must:

EPA's Water Security
provides more information on EPA's efforts to reduce the vulnerability of the nation's water resources

General Critical Infrastructure Protection Responsibilities of All Agencies

In addition, HSPD-7 assigns EPA and other federal agencies and departments a number of general responsibilities related to critical infrastructure protection:

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National Preparedness - HSPD-8

As a companion to HSPD-5, HSPD-8 requires DHS to establish a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal and describes the way federal departments and agencies will prepare for a response to a national incident. The intent of the national preparedness goal is to ensure that all levels of government work together toward a common, measurable state of readiness and have adequate support to meet the goal. It includes a system for assessing the Nation's overall readiness to respond to major events, especially those involving acts of terrorism.

HSPD-8 names the Secretary of Homeland Security as the principal federal official for coordinating the implementation of all-hazards preparedness. DHS is undertaking a number of tasks to fulfill this role:

Citizen Involvement

HSPD-8 encourages citizen involvement in preparedness efforts. The Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for working with appropriate federal, state, and local government organizations and the private sector to encourage active citizen participation in preparedness efforts. DHS will periodically identify best practices for integrating private citizen capabilities into local preparedness efforts. In addition, DHS will develop a comprehensive plan to coordinate and provide accurate and timely preparedness information to the general public, first responders, government organizations, the private sector, and other organizations as needed.

EPA’s Role under HSPD-8

Under HSPD-8, EPA will coordinate with DHS when providing preparedness assistance to first responders, to ensure that all assistance supports the national preparedness goal.

The head of each federal department or agency (including EPA) is also responsible for ensuring that their agency is ready to fulfill its roles under the national preparedness goal and the NRP. Towards that end, EPA has been assigned a number of responsibilities:

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