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Author Moe, Kari J
Title The challenges of local homeland security preparedness: A case study of the National Capital Region
book jacket
Descript 210 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-03, Section: A, page: 1086
Adviser: Michael Harmon
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The George Washington University, 2006
The terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 and the ensuing war on terrorism present multiple challenges for American governance. Uncertainty is the general challenge of the homeland security environment. Specifically, how do local governments prepare for novel, complex events? Regional intergovernmental networks represent a promising strategy for building and sustaining local homeland security preparedness
This case study examines the proposition that intergovernmental regional networks represent an effective strategy for local homeland security preparedness. The study investigates how government officials in the homeland security network of the National Capital Region (NCR), comprised of the District of Columbia and surrounding localities, are approaching planning, learning, and collaborating in the post-9/11 environment. The case study is analyzed in light of sensemaking theory, public network theory, and the concept of high reliability organizations---theories that illuminate how organizations address uncertainty
The study finds that, consistent with sensemaking theory, the NCR network partners are creating homeland security preparedness through the activities of information sharing and collaborative actions. Consistent with network theory, the regional partners are implementing a network structure to address issues beyond the scope of a single jurisdiction or governmental function. The NCR partners assert that relationships, ongoing organizational learning, transparent decision-making processes, and interoperable communications systems are the key elements of preparedness
The passage of time may be the most significant threat to regional network performance, a factor that is not explored in the extant literature on homeland security preparedness. Over time, organizational networks mature; the meaning of 9/11/01 evolves; loose structures tend to become more bureaucratic; and practical knowledge dissipates as experienced leaders leave. These factors are important because the tendencies of mature networks may detract from organizational performance in uncertain environments such as homeland security. In addition, as time passes, the political will to fund expensive homeland security infrastructure erodes
This study provides insights regarding how to build and sustain effective local homeland security preparedness through regional networks. The experience of Hurricane Katrina and the current pandemic flu planning underscore the importance of this topic for the field of public administration
School code: 0075
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 67-03A
Subject Political Science, Public Administration
Urban and Regional Planning
Alt Author The George Washington University
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