August 1, 2002
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government
When the nation's domestic preparedness program began in the 1990s, the focus was primarily to ensure that the federal, state, and local governments were well equipped to deal with any potential terrorist attack. A similarly limited view has also been adopted by the private sector. Since September 11, the issue of business continuity--the idea that planning is needed for businesses to operate and deliver uninterrupted services to customers during natural and man-made disruptions--has been the focus of much discussion within the business community. While business continuity is essential, there is an even greater need for an integrated public and private domestic preparedness strategy, one that views the private sector not merely as a profit making entity, but as an entity responsible (as the government is) for protecting life and ensuring security. The first part of this paper argues the private sector's current lack of integration into domestic preparedness programs is dangerous and explains the need for public-private emergency planning. The second part provides models and recommendations that would facilitate private sector involvement in public safety and security planning.
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