Homeland Security Agencies Relationships Collaboration And Cooperation

Improving Collaboration

Collaboration is one of the strategies that have been commonly used by different agencies involved in risk management and disaster response tasks. Collaboration basically refers to the act of two or more different agencies, bodies, groups or individuals working together to attain a shared goal. Basically, collaboration in risk management goals is very important due to the agency involved in the matter. In this regard, the Department of Homeland Security has taken the responsibility of enhancing collaboration among local, state, and federal government, regional agencies, private and other governmental agencies developed to enhance disaster management. This collaboration enhances the response, prevention, protection and recovery from any kind of disaster in all American States (Homeland Security, 2005). This paper evaluates the concept of collaboration in the Department of Homeland Security with intention of developing new strategies to strengthen this collaboration.

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Collaboration in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The DHS is a United States federal government cabinet department that was developed in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack.  The department’s main mission is to protect the country over all forms of threats that include threats related to terrorist related threats, natural and manmade disasters. To ensure success in their ultimate goal, the department has advocated for collaboration with an extensive range of agencies and bodies at different parts of the United States. This collaboration enhances the development of strategies that all the involved bodies should employ to reach common goals. Among the bodies and agencies that the department works with include the tribal, local, federal and state governments, as well as private sectors. The main aim of enhancing this collaboration is to ensure effective distribution and sharing of limited resources to enhance quick recovery from, response to, protection against and prevention of major disasters, terrorist attacks, and other crises.

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To enhance collaboration DHS provides an outline for enterprise-wide, comprehensive planning for efforts of homeland security. It also offers a strategic plan for the utilization of associated private, local, state, and federal resources in the urban area and state after, during, and before actual or threatened domestic terrorist attacks, natural disaster or any other form of emergency. The main goal of enhancing this collaboration is to enact their preparedness goals. Normally, disasters result to more severe impacts if there are no good measures employed to ensure quick response.  This swift response can only when the involved bodies or agencies are well prepared to handle disasters which are normally sudden, immediately. To enhance this high level of response, the DHS has enhanced effective communication and division of responsibilities among the involved parties. DHS have developed strategies to involve the tribal, local, state, and federal entities, their non-governmental and private partners, as well as the general public to sustain and attain risk-based capability levels, targeted to protect, recover, prevent and respond to main incidences so as to lower their effect on the economy, property, and lives (Homeland Security, 2005).

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The success of the DHS in its preparedness goals lies on the adaptive and robust collaboration between private and public sector, among different government levels, among agencies and departments in a same jurisdiction and among agencies and department in multiple jurisdictions. As employed by the DHS, collaboration entails an extensive range of activities that include joint operations, training and planning, focused at coordinating the resources and aptitudes of different collaborating entities to attain similar goals. In this regard, collaboration can therefore be perceived as the basis in which success in response, prevention, protection and recovery depends on. Each of the DHS mission involves a collection of abilities which need the combination of multiple procedures, processes, disciplines, and agencies. For instance, the mission of prevention requires the intelligence analysis and fusion ability. This ability needs the collaboration of report of suspicious activity by the public, surveillance of public health, investigations by law enforcers, among other disciplines with unique activities. In addition, nitration is required across different areas of mission. For instance, information obtained in intelligence analysis and fusion needs to be shared with those enhancing efforts for critical protection of infrastructure in order for strategies of protection to fit the threats. This demonstrates that the process of information sharing and effective, accurate and immediate communication among agencies and entities will be of great importance in enhancing collaboration.

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Another strategy employed to enhance collaboration among the involved entities in preparedness agenda is the use of a system. The system acts as a shared technique that aligns national preparedness efforts and program with intention of attain the final goal.  This system involves the combination of communications, procedures, personnel, equipment, and facilities integrated into mutual organizational structure to attain a certain outcome or mission. The national preparedness system acts as a backbone system that merges many capabilities, programs, and processes that are already operational in private, tribal, local and state sectors programs controlled by homeland security and across disciplines that support the system of national preparedness. The national preparedness system offers a strategy of facilitating the known resources by enhancing their efficient networking (Homeland Security, 2005).

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Effective communication and information sharing has also been prioritized in the DHS. However, this has not been effectively achieved due to absence of interoperable systems of wireless communication, an aspect that continues to impact the agencies of public safety in communication across the United States. Normally, agencies are incapable of communicating or sharing crucial data or voice information with other disciplines or jurisdictions in major incidences or even in daily activities. In this regard, the DHS have been trying to establish interoperable communication. This is the aptitude to offer continuous flow of crucial information among multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary agencies at all government levels after, during, and before an incident. Communications interoperability reinforces the tribal, local, state, and federal entities to effectively operate together to recover from, prevent, respond to, and protect against major disasters, terrorist attacks as well as other emergencies. The continuum of interoperability graphically reinforces the five critical success aspects that include equipment usage, exercise and training, technology, standard procedures of operation, and governance, which need to be handled to create robust solutions of interoperability (Homeland Security, 2005).

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Basically, the relation between different entities involved in risk management is enhanced by a high level of collaboration where in different professional entities serves different purpose but with intention of fulfilling a shared goal. This level of collaboration is highly enhanced by developing infrastructure that enhances information sharing and entities support where needed be. For instance, the healthcare entities provide emergency health treatment to the victims of an incident and refer them for further treatment. This is enhanced by making a collaboration with transportation department which airlift patients in critical state to hospital and transport less severe but still in need of further attention by road. In addition, the rescue teamwork in collaboration with healthcare officers by directing them to rescued individuals who need immediate attention. Thus, the collaboration is also enhanced by the interdependency of different entities during the event and before event in arranging on how the resources in one entity can benefit another entity in times of crisis.

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Strategies to Improve Collaboration and Corporation between Agencies

Strategies to enhance collaboration will basically focus on enhancing collaboration between local government, the state government, and private organizations. The three strategies employed to enhance collaboration will include improved means of communication and information sharing platform, training the local community on disaster preparedness and reaction, and finally, enhancing emergency transportation system.

Improved means of Communication and Information Sharing

Communication and information sharing is very essential during, before, and after an incident. Although it is normally easy to communicate during an incident, it is normally hard to communicate during and immediately after an incident, especially a natural disaster where infrastructures are completely destroyed. In this regard, a strategy to enhance communication during and immediately after is very essential. To enhance communication during and immediately after disaster, the local government will develop a web-platform where all locals are aware of as well as all disaster response agencies, both private and public. This platform will be accessible through smartphones and other mobile devices to enhance communication during disaster. Here, affected individuals, who are in a condition to communicate, will be posting vital information like where they are trapped, their health condition and their number. The government officials monitoring the site will then communicate with the rescue team and others on the ground or send a new team with the message in case no any other form of communication. The site will also allow other individuals in the public who have received information from their loved ones trapped in the site to post most vital details that can enhance easy rescue procedure. This system will enhance collaboration between the response team and the community where the disaster has taken place. It will then eventually enhance the collaboration among response agencies since there will be precise information to work on. Relatives will also post on their loved one who was in the site to give the response team a general idea of those that are still trapped and their condition is unknown (GSMA, 2013).

Training of Locals on Disaster Preparedness and Reaction

Disasters normally turn to be more severe to the victims basically due to lack of effective knowledge on how to react during such incidences. This strategy will focus on the collaboration between the local government and the tribal government. It will involve evaluating a region and identifying possible disasters that are more prone to happen in the area. Then the local government in collaboration with the tribal government will educate the dwellers on how to detect preparedness strategies and their immediate reaction during the disaster time. In the prevention aspect, the communities will be guided on how to report a suspicion or a sign of disaster. They will also be educated on the measures to take to reduce the disaster effect as per each disaster and finally on the immediate action they should take to ensure they safe a huge amount of people and that they communicate to the right place. These training will also be enhanced in different areas were crowds can be found including places of worship, market place and in schools. The main aim is to ensure the collaboration between the community and their local government with intention of preventing incidences and also lowering the impact of an incident to the community (O’Donnell, O, 2012).

Enhancing Transportation

The next strategy to enhance collaboration is enhancing transportation. Basically, most disaster response agencies have their own means of transportation from their center of operation to the disaster site. However, some means of available transportation are not swift enough to ensure immediate response. In addition, some disasters do interfere with the infrastructure, and thus making it hard to transport the response team as swift as it should be. In this regard, the local government will partner with a number of private agencies that have better means of transportation such as helicopters to enhance swift transportation. To ensure swift response, the department of homeland security, serving in the local government will sign a contract with the private agency to ensure for they provide at least two to three planes that can enhance transportation of the response team from different agencies working in collaboration with the DHS and also airlift victims that will be needed immediate medical attention to safe their life. This implies that the private agency making a contract in with the government will always have at least two planes in their stations at all times just in case of an emergency. The private agency will receive an emergency alert only from the local government DHS department and non-other. However, from that call, the plane can be directed to any of the agencies involved in disaster response. This will ensure total support to private agencies that contains right disaster response skills but lack advanced facilities to facilitate their work (Stanton, 2008).

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