Policy Overview

Policy encompasses the beliefs, guiding principles, and broad courses of action that we adopt in order to make decisions, take action, and influence the actions of others. At NCDP, we are focused on the actions needed in order to achieve better outcomes following disasters. Through research, we address critical issues in disaster preparedness and response; and through our policy work, we provide evidence of what works and what does not—to government, the private sector, and households. NCDP is a resource for policy-makers at all levels of government, for those on the front lines of disaster response, and for all Americans.

Capitol At NCDP, policy ideas and recommendations are the outcome of our research and practice. We seek evidence to inform disaster policy recommendations—whether we are analyzing how citizens prepare for disasters, describing how disparities affect population vulnerability, or explaining how to optimize recovery.

NCDP contributes insight and research findings to policy debates and discussions–on issues that reflect the Center’s long-term interests and on newly-emerging issues where we have expertise.

As a national voice for disaster policy, we work to educate politically-active individuals and organizations and to strengthen governmental and private sector disaster policy-making. This is accomplished through Congressional testimony, legislative briefings, editorial and “lessons learned” pieces, media appearances, sponsored conferences, white papers, and participation in national commissions and task forces.

NCDP’s expertise and policy advice is relevant to a broad range of natural and man-made hazards, but its most sustained policy involvement relates to children and disasters, building and strengthening the resilience of health and preparedness systems.

Policy Context

The attacks of September 11, 2001, ushered in a new age of disaster awareness in the US. The following year Congress established the Department of Homeland Security. The US dramatically expanded its focus on preventing, responding to, and recovering from all kinds of large-scale disasters. NCDP was founded in 2003 as part of this response. NCDP’s mission was to develop an evidence-based approach to disaster preparedness, which could inform policy and be translated into action.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the goal was to prevent harm inflicted on the US from abroad. But, more and more, we have recognized the need to devote attention and resources to a wide range of threats—to extreme weather or geological events, industrial accidents, and biological catastrophes. Along with the Department of Homeland Security, other federal agencies have developed new or expanded preparedness entities and programs, and state and local governments have established analogous programs. The private and not-for-profit sectors have also become involved in disaster response preparedness and response: corporations have disaster plans. Community-based organizations provide recovery services. Philanthropies undertake relief efforts on a global basis. NCDP is a resource to all of these entities. As an academic center, we call attention to key issues, convene experts, conduct research, and propose new and better to ways to approach disaster policy.

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