Preparing for the Unexpected

Brian Kamoie, senior director for preparedness policy on the White House National Security Staff, and Daniel Kaniewski, deputy director of GW’s Homeland Security Policy Institute
April 08, 2011

The White House announces a new national security directive at GW.

The Obama administration announced a new presidential policy directive on national preparedness at the George Washington University Friday that aims to strengthen the security and resilience of the U.S.

The new mandate, which was unveiled during an event sponsored by GW’s Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI), calls for a system that will guide the way the nation responds to major emergencies including terrorism, cyber-attacks, pandemics and catastrophic natural disasters.

“The president’s highest priority is the safety and security of the American people,” said Brian Kamoie, J.D. ’96 and M.P.H. ‘97, senior director for preparedness policy on the White House National Security Staff. “He’s committed to securing the homeland against 21st century threats by preventing terrorist attacks, preparing for emergencies regardless of their cause and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. We aim to prevent what we can and respond rapidly to what we must.”

Mr. Kamoie has a longstanding relationship with GW. He graduated from GW’s Law School in 1996 and a year later received a master’s in public health. In 2001, he returned to the School of Public Health and Health Services as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and the Department of Health Services Management and Leadership, where he taught classes in health law and policy until going to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004. Today, he’s still an adjunct professor at SPHHS and routinely gives guest lectures.

The directive requires the development of a national preparedness goal that identifies the core capabilities that are necessary for the U.S. to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from national security threats. The national preparedness goal is due to President Barack Obama by October. A national preparedness system, which will guide activities for how the nation will meet the national preparedness goal, is due to the president by December.

“The nation is better prepared to navigate a catastrophic emergency than ever before. But we must continue to lean forward together to prepare for all hazards,” said Mr. Kamoie.

After Mr. Kamoie’s initial address, Daniel Kaniewski, deputy director of GW’s HSPI – a nonpartisan think tank whose mission is to advance homeland security – moderated a question and answer session in the City View Room in 1957 E Street.

“GW’s Homeland Security Policy Institute brings together the nation’s leaders of contemporary national security policy issues,” said Mr. Kaniewski. “To not only be able to review the Presidential Policy Directive before it was publicly available but to be able to ask questions and engage in a discussion about national security was a unique opportunity.”

While the new policy guidelines are directed specifically to the federal government, they’re also aimed at the entire nation including the private and nonprofit sectors, state and local governments, communities and individual citizens.

“We’ve also placed a renewed emphasis on individual and community preparedness, which we believe is a cornerstone of our national resilience. Communities are inherently strong and resilient even in the face of disaster, and our national response is strengthened when we leverage the expertise and resources that exist our communities, ” said Mr. Kamoie. “Our goal is to inform Americans about the risks we face and the actions we can take to protect ourselves and our communities.”

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