DHS Releases National Response Framework

This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Response Framework, a successor to the National Response Plan. DHS said the NRF, which focuses on response and short-term recovery, articulates the doctrine, principles, and architecture by which our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities.

The NRF is responsive to repeated federal, state, local, and private sector requests for a streamlined document that is less bureaucratic and more user-friendly. It also focuses on preparedness and encourages a higher level of readiness across all jurisdictions.

The framework is being released following an extensive process of outreach and coordination between DHS and key stakeholders representing federal, tribal, state, and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector.

"The National Response Framework is an essential tool for emergency managers at all levels," said Michael Chertoff, DHS secretary. "It helps define the roles, responsibilities, and relationships critical to effective emergency planning, preparedness, and response to any emergency or disaster. Today's release reflects the culmination of many months of hard work and collaboration among the nation's emergency management community."

The NRF is intended for senior elected and appointed leaders, such as federal department and agency heads, state governors, mayors, tribal leaders, city managers, and the private sector. Simultaneously, it informs emergency management practitioners by explaining the operating structures and tools routinely used by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government.

The latest public comment period for the base document of the NRF closed on October 22, 2007, and the comment period for the support annexes closed on November 10, 2007. The final documents reflect the nearly 5,700 comments received from participants of the process.

In addition to releasing the NRF base document, the Emergency Support Function Annexes and Support Annexes will be released and posted on-line at the NRF Resource Center (www.fema.gov/nrf). The annexes are a total of 23 individual documents designed to provide concept of operations, procedures, and structures for achieving response directives for all partners in fulfilling their roles under the NRF. To make the NRF a "living system" that can be revised and updated in a more nimble, transparent fashion, the NRF Resource Center was developed; an on-line repository of the entire component parts of the NRF. Also, the Resource Center will allow for on-going revisions as necessary to reflect real-world events and lessons learned. The NRF and the annexes will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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