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New Report Addresses International Disaster Resilience for U.S. and Partner Countries

June 17, 2014

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Contact: Linda Joy

While national security efforts seek to prevent terrorist attacks, the United States and partner countries should also prepare to work together to mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack, should such efforts fail. A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) discusses the challenges around the United States and partner countries responding cooperatively.

Air Force biodecon test
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. A Chemical Biological Radiology Nuclear Challenge exercise at Langley Air Force Base in 2010. Photo: US Air Force

The report looks specifically at an accidental or intentional release of chemical, biological or radioactive hazards – what emergency planners refer to as a CBRNE event – and on the role of capabilities, relationships, standards and interoperability in responding to and managing the aftermath of an event.

The report, An All-Government Approach to Increase Resilience for International Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Events, summarizes a workshop held last year by the NRC. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided grant money to organize the workshop.

“Standards are the keystone of disaster resilience efforts,” said William Billotte, manager of NIST’s National Security Standards Program. “Standards support improved capabilities and interoperability, goals that will help the international community respond to a CBRNE event and work to prevent destabilization of national infrastructure.”

The workshop steering committee identified an initial focus for the 2013 workshop and felt that follow-up activities should further examine development of metrics and measures of disaster resilience. The initial focus covered:

  • Identifying capabilities that are necessary for responding to an international CBRNE event;
  • Discussing best practices and resources needed for improved interoperability of the United States and partner nations during response to a CBRNE event; and
  • Identifying key questions that need to be addressed in follow-up activities that focus on improving U.S. CBRNE response in partner nations.

The 78-page report is available on the National Academies Press website at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18814.