Homeland Security: Standards for State and Local Preparedness [Updated October 8, 2003]   [open pdf - 151KB]

Some Members of Congress, as well Administration officials and other observers, believe that state and local governments should be held to established standards for terrorism preparedness. They argue that standards could improve the capability of first responders to deal with terrorist attacks, particularly those involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Preparedness standards can be categorized by such attributes as scope, development process, and user community. They can include broad performance goals, as well asmore specific operational procedures and equipment specifications. Traditionally, nongovernmental organizations develop preparedness standards, sometimes with the participation of federal agencies. Since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, however, a number of federal agencies have initiated efforts to develop preparedness standards, among which are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, now in DHS), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are a number of policy approaches Congress could take, should it desire to address preparedness standards. Encouraging the development and implementation of standards could give states and localities discretion in adapting standards to their unique preparedness needs, but may not lead to nationwide adoption.

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31680
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