The ongoing effort to create a more resilient society has moved to the forefront of disaster/emergency and business continuity management. This endeavor has never been more evident than through the recent activities of DRI International. Over the last few months, DRI International has helped facilitate a number of conversations with public sector entities to bring about a better understanding of goals and methodologies pertaining to private/public sector organizations. This has culminated in a joint public/private sector meetings held at the New York Stock Exchange on March 21, 2011. To supplement these efforts, DRI International has met and briefed senior administration and Congressional officials.
During these conversations it became apparent that there was a need for creating some basis of common understanding for public/private sector interfaces. Such understanding is critical considering that 85 percent of all resources used by the government are in the hands of the private sector. “The need to bridge the gaps and misconceptions is vital to both a government’s and a business’s ability to operate,” said Ira Tannenbaum, director of Public-Private Initiatives at NYC OEM.
The mission of emergency services and the delivery of governmental functions are duties and obligations of public sector employees. Often, the level of preparedness will have a direct effect upon life saving functions or a business’s ability to resume operations in the aftermath of an incident.
There has been much discussion in the continuity community of the parallel path travelled by emergency mangers, COOP professionals, and their private sector counterparts. Increasingly, it is acknowledged that there are many similarities, which when fully coordinated, work to achieve mutual benefits. That is not to say that there aren’t also some challenges to overcome.
In an attempt to create a convergent and coherent response to interruptions and to establish common ground for the union of private and public sector response, DRI International is developing training and certification programs specifically targeted to federal, state, and municipal public sector entities. This will be a step in bridging the terminology and procedural gap that now exists.
The course and certification, tentatively called “Certified Public Sector Resiliency Professional (CPSRP),” will provide a four-day course of study delineating the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to keep government open during times of crisis. The class will review public sector terminology, laws, federal, state, and municipal guidances, including Homeland Security Presidential Directives. This class will offer best practices and lessons learned from major events over the past decades. It is important to understand that this is much more than an incident command class; it is an introduction into developing broad and strategic goals and methodologies to protect agencies, staff, facilities, and essential support functions. Government officials at all levels from federal, state, major cities and local jurisdictions will equally benefit from this training.
DRI International’s goal is to bring together the knowledge and experience of top resiliency professionals in the public sector with their private sector counterparts. By learning and sharing from best practices and lessons learned from colleagues with the same set of priorities, we grow as a profession. By being able to understand the many pressures experienced by disaster recovery professionals in the private sector and the providing of essential services by government, we can create a model for public/private sector resilience.
Alan Berman, MBCP, is a member of the ASIS BS25999 technical committee, a member of the Committee of Experts for ANSI-ANAB, a former member of the NY City Partnership for Security and Risk Management, executive director for Disaster Recovery Institute and the co-chair for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation committee to create the new standard for the US Private Sector Preparedness Act (PL 110-53).