Major Overhaul to Hurricane Sandy Recovery in the Works

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made a devastating impact to the east coast, "caus[ing] more than $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity[.]" Since then, there have been several relief programs that have helped in rebuilding the communities that were affected.

A recent Press Release given by Mayor de Blasio on April 17, 2014 described how these relief programs have been assisting in the recovery of the communities that have been affected. The de Blasio administration also referenced an in-depth report titled, "One City, Rebuilding Together: A Report on the City of New York's Response to Hurricane Sandy and the Path Forward." This report, "follows a number of improvements made since January to cut red tape and move…

IPCC Releases Working Group III's Report on Climate Change

Climate Change The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released yesterday the climate change report of Working Group III (WGIII) out of Berlin, Germany. The report, "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change," assesses "literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change."

Ultimately, the report "transparently lays out risks, uncertainty and ethical foundations of climate change mitigation policies on the global, national and sub-national level, investigates mitigation measures for all major sectors and assesses investment and finance issues." The report also "features an improved treatment of social, economic and ethical issues, and sustainable development." WGIII does not, however, recommend any particular option for mitigation.

A more in-depth summary of the findings of WGIII can be…

Boston, Massachusetts A new Inspectors General (IGs) report was released yesterday on the Boston Marathon bombings that focuses on information handling and sharing by the U.S. intelligence community (IC) prior to the incident. The 168-page review itself is classified, but the IGs have publicly released the Unclassified Summary which can be found in the HSDL collection.

The review was conducted by the IGs for the Intelligence Community, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security in order to determine the answers to three main questions following the bombings:

  1. "The extent of the information available to the U.S. government concerning the relevant individuals and events preceding the Boston Marathon bombings;
  2. Whether the sharing of this information was complete, accurate, and…

Emergency Response following Boston Marathon bombingsAnother report on the Boston Marathon bombings was released this week out of Harvard University, this time by the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative's report, "Crisis Meta-Leadership Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombings Response: The Ingenuity of Swarm Intelligence," analyzes the leadership of the myriad agencies that responded to the event. Specifically, it "seeks to understand how they were able to effectively lead an [emergency response] operation with remarkable results" by measuring "lives saved, suspects quickly captured, public confidence maintained and population resilience fostered."

The report attributes the remarkable results of response efforts to a phenomenon called "swarm intelligence." Swarm intelligence is defined as a situation "in which no one is in charge and yet, with all following…

White House Remarks on Recent Fort Hood Shooting

Yesterday, April 2, 2014, SObama Ft. Hoodpecialist Ivan Lopez opened fire on fellow service members at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 3 people and wounding 16 before committing suicide.  Lopez was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the time for depression, anxiety and a variety of other psychological problems as well as going through a diagnosis of potential post-traumatic stress disorder. The motivation behind this incident is still unknown and currently being investigated.

The White House published President Obama's official response to the shootings. In his response he stated:  "Any shooting is troubling.  Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago.  We know these families.  We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that

Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing

EMS Responders Harvard's Kennedy School of Government released today a study on response efforts following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, entitled "Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing." The report "identifies strengths of the response as well as areas for improvement," with a focus on conditions of "command" and "coordination" within and among response organizations. It is intended to help response organizations nationwide improve preparation for emergencies at both "fixed" and "no-notice" events.

Based on a series of "intensive" interviews with senior law enforcement leaders, emergency management, and emergency medical organizations, the report finds that "emergency response following the bombing in Boston and the events in Cambridge and Watertown at the end of the week were shaped to a…

Civil Service Overhaul? New Report Devises Plan Worthy of 21st Century Workforce

Yesterday, TheJobs Partnership for Public Service released the report, "Building the Enterprise: A New Civil Service Framework" in which the Partnership calls for major reforms to the federal government's outdated civil service system. These reforms include modernization in pay and hiring policies, as well as implementing improved methods for maintaining the interest of the talented individuals the government hires.

Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, commented on the report's motives, stating "good government starts with good people, and our nation is fortunate to count some of the brightest, most dedicated professionals among its ranks. But too often they succeed in spite of the current system, not because of it."

The report, produced in…

IPCC Releases Working Group II's Report on Climate Change

Climate Change The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) revealed today the climate change findings of Working Group II (WGII), out of Yokohama, Japan. This report, titled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability", constitutes the second part of the IPCC Fifth Assessment report (AR5) on climate change. The findings of WGII detail "the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks."

"The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems…

Climate Action Plan Update: White House Releases Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions

Climate changeAs part of the next phase of the 2013 Climate Action Plan, the White House unveiled today its new strategy to take action on climate change: cutting methane emissions.

"This document lays out that strategy -- summarizing the sources of methane and trends in emissions; setting forth a plan to reduce both domestic and international methane emissions through incentive-based programs and the Administration's existing authorities; and, outlining the Administration's efforts to improve measurement of these emissions. This strategy also highlights examples of technologies and industry-led best practices that are already helping to cut methane emissions."

Specifically, the strategy targets four main sources of methane emissions for reduction efforts: landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and the oil and gas sector. The strategy…

Boston Marathon bombing The House Homeland Security Committee released today its declassified report on the Boston Marathon bombings, entitled "The Road to Boston: Counterterrorism Challenges and Lessons from the Marathon Bombings." The report "examines much of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's personal history and his interaction with Federal agencies, including his radicalization, the 2011 threat assessment carried out by the FBI and his travel to Russia in early 2012." The Committee also "explores missed opportunities that potentially could have prevented this attack."

Following its review, the Committee identified important systemic weaknesses and made recommendations to combat these weaknesses. A few of the weaknesses are as follows:

  • "Insufficient cooperation and information sharing between Federal agencies and local law enforcement;
  • Limited communication between Federal agencies;
  • Inadequate resources for…