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Building Community Disaster Resilience Through Private–Public Collaboration
efforts coordinated by DHS and others who can provide the strategic context and programmatic funding opportunities for local efforts.
On the public-sector side, the DHS regional and local presence is fragmented, partial, and still evolving, so it is difficult to be aware of or enable local and regional resilience-focused collaboration and thus difficult for community-level collaborative structures to network vertically with them. Although some agencies in DHS (such as the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security Agency) do have a local presence in some parts of the country and some sectors, their ties to local-level private entities are generally mission-specific rather than focused more broadly on enhancing community resilience to all hazards. FEMA has influenced and will continue to influence local resilience-building actions, for example, through its responsibilities under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and the Stafford Act, but it has no physical presence below the regional level. It is then a challenging task for communities to identify which vertical networking points in the private and public sectors are vital and to plan their strategies accordingly.
The interests of collaborators often diverge, and this impedes the development of trusted collaborative relationships. When diverse stakeholders engage in a joint venture, vested interests often come into play and can result in conflict and failure to agree on objectives, goals, and methods. No entity can be faulted for pursuing its own interests; doing so is natural and understandable. Problems develop, however, when actors view collaboration as a zero-sum game. Such problems can complicate resilience-enhancing efforts and the development of effective collaboration. Organizations want assurances that the benefits of engaging in collaboration outweigh the perceived loss of autonomy, the financial and reputation-related risks, and the costs associated with investment in collaborative activities. When there is a failure to provide tangible and meaningful rewards to participants in collaboration, problems develop. However, it is also important to build confidence among collaborators that working for the broader collective good benefits the individual collaborator. The building of community and societal resilience depends on the ability to acknowledge and address the priorities of diverse parties while defining and leveraging common interests through collaborative effort.
The DHS Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep) is an example of how public- and private-sector interests diverge.2 DHS
See www.fema.gov/privatesector/preparedness/index.htm (accessed June 18, 2010). The impetus for the PS-Prep program was Title IX of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-53, 2007), which sought to increase resilience by providing incentives for private-sector preparedness. In January 2009, DHS began a series of public stakeholder meetings on the topic of standards. In October 2009, three standards for private-sector preparedness were recommended by DHS as part of PS-Prep: NFPA 1600, ASIS International SPC.1-2009, and British Standard 25999 (NFPA, 2007; ASIS International, 2009; BSI Group, 2009). A period of public comment regarding the standards followed.