America Unprepared: Are Budget Cuts Undermining National Disaster Readiness?

Center Director Irwin Redlener, MD discusses the implications of funding cuts to preparedness and response programs and training. NCDP’s own Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (PERLC) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also facing serious cutbacks. 

“In fact, overall preparedness and response funding within the U.S Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security dropped by nearly $900 million, from $5.3 billion in FY10 to $4.4 billion in FY11, a 17% overall reduction. And for 2012, even more cuts in disaster readiness programs are being proposed.”

“Ironically, the PERLCs actually ensure that local readiness is in-line with both the goals of the administration’s own National Health Security Strategy‘s objectives on workforce readiness and the Presidential Policy Directive on National Preparedness. Yet, PERLCs are set to expire in 2012 — three years short of the intended length of the program. With no proposed substitute, the PERLCs mandate will not be met and the capacity of states and local communities to respond effectively to a spectrum of disaster scenarios will be diminished.”

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