This week, you have considered technologies (specific applications or tools, etc.) and the technological capabilities (types or categories of technologies) available or appropriate for each level of government within the United States—national or federal, state, and local. You have also explored the necessity and potential limitations for all levels, sectors, and arenas involved in homeland security/crisis management to achieve interoperability.

The National Response Framework (NRF) expressly outlines roles and responsibilities for various levels of government; these levels include not just the political leaders and administrations but also associated agencies. At the federal level, for example, DHS, FEMA, FBI, and DOD—among others—often play a marked role in all stages of crisis-response planning and management. At state levels, one can find the following (among others): state homeland security and/or emergency management offices; state highway patrol departments; state bureaus of investigations; state environmental, labor, or hazardous materials divisions. Local communities will also have regulatory agencies, commissions created by political leaders, task forces, interagency groups, citizens committees, and much more. Importantly, these many distinct entities spread across these levels also require unique technologies and capabilities.

Remember one more thing: all disasters are local. This means that the local community is normally the initial site of a crisis, incident, or disaster. Per the NRF, communities are expected to respond to the best of their capabilities and request help only when given resources are exhausted. In many cases, these requests for assistance are specific, covering specific needs. Local communities request resources from their intrastate regions or the state; states may request resources they’ve exhausted or don’t possess from neighboring states and/or the federal level.

For this unit’s assignment, you will use the Minnesota Bridge/ I-35W Collapse of 2007 as a case study.

Assignment Guidelines