1. What role does security play during post-disaster or humanitarian responses?

2. How is the response/recovery impacted by security concerns?


The answers should be at least 3 substantive paragraphs, well developed, referenced, and properly formatted. “Substantive” means that the writer has added to the dialogue with referenced facts or pertinent personal experience leading to a reasoned argument that advances the scholarly discussion. Discussion question answers must include at least one reference that is not from the assigned reading.

Reference to appropriate authoritative resources and official websites. Must be accessible online. Use New Times Roman 12 font with 1” margins and APA style.

The required reading is attached.

Teaching Points:

Security in terms of Emergency Management is typically not a topic that has been well discussed until recently. Unfortunately, security has become a necessity in the Emergency Management field and goes beyond the typical idea of the physical guarding of personnel. Although, this is of course a paramount concern, it is not the only aspect of security that we will discuss. Let’s look at security from multiple angles and see how the concept of security changes.

First, we can be a bit introspective and look at our responsibility as Emergency Managers for our own security. We need to be cognizant of the security of our own personnel both in protecting them from harm and assuring that they themselves are not security risks. This idea of personnel becoming a security risk is especially challenging during international/humanitarian disasters for several reasons. Some personnel will be inexperienced in international travel and security concerns, local security/law enforcement may be ineffective or non-existent, etc. Additionally, how detrimental is it to a response if a member of a disaster response asset was involved in illegal activity during a disaster? How do we keep this from occurring? Have we done our due diligence in vetting personnel prior to a deployment? What protections does this person have in a foreign country?

Along a different line of thinking, how is the decision made to deploy assets to an area. Are there times when an area is in need of support but, the area is perceived as too dangerous to safely send personnel? This may be one occasion where NGO’s are more advantageous than government organizations. NGO’s are not bound by the same liabilities and constraints of governments and have been deployed to hostile regions of the world for quite some time.

From a more traditional line of thinking, how is security maintained once deployed. Do we rely on local assets or do we provide our own security? If we rely on local assets, is there any guarantee that they will be available or will the assets be overwhelmed given the nature of the incident. If we provide our own security, what arrangements need to be made in advance to ensure that our security assets have legal authority to operate in the area. A real-world example of this that I was loosely a part of was during Hurricane Katrina. A federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Force deployed with a group of Sheriff Deputies to Louisiana as means to provide their own security. Unfortunately, at the time there was no legal reciprocity between states and the Deputies had no legal authority for arrest, or detainment and the lines for use of force were significantly blurred. This had greater repercussions as the team brought a local non-vetted resource to federal deployment which, caused a considerable degree of “discussion” after the incident.

Some other “non-traditional” security issues that we need to concern ourselves is food security. There has been increasing discussion on the security of domestic food supplies and this concern should extend to deployments. Obviously, food and water for responders during a incident is critical. When I was with the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, we deployed with a minimum of three days of food and water for each member of the 110+ person team. This is an incredibly large footprint in terms of space alone. Additionally, feeding this number of people with military style Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) takes a physical toll and a toll on morale. For anyone not familiar with MRE’s the are shelf stable meals that are literally eaten out of a bag with a plastic spoon and while they will provide enough calories to sustain life they are not the type of product that one looks forward to consuming after a day in the field. So, how do we ensure the security of food and water for our responders? Do we rely on the local economy to provide food? If so, is this food safe to consume related to the nature of our deployment? Is local food available in the amounts required to sustain response personnel? Will our consumption of local food stores deplete available food stores for the local community? What are the logistics for supplying food for the duration of the deployment?

A second non-traditional security issue is that of surveillance. Surveillance in this particular instance is the ability to monitor the local security climate. Is there an violence or hostile acts or direct threats against response workers. Surveillance can also mean the active or passive monitoring of response workers. While surveillance can be difficult to detect it is reasonable to assume that there is some degree of surveillance occurring at all times. The intent of surveillance may not be to commit hostile but it is reasonable to be vigilant and to take appropriate actions to not set patterns and alter timelines as is pertinent.

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