Which disaster is your favorite?
As we’ve noted before, disasters come in basically two flavors–natural and human-caused. We, in fact, may be guilty of focusing on human-caused — terrorism, war, cybersecurity, the failing infrastructure of civilization, etc. These type of events are more sexy, in most cases, than floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.
However, that doesn’t mean that we can set aside natural disasters while we focus on the others. Far from it. In fact, [link url=”http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/24/world-heading-for-catastrophe-over-natural-disasters-risk-expert-warns” title=”natural disasters are more relevant than ever“].
So please read over the above analysis, and DO take this to heart: Yes, as an emergency and disaster manager, often a person in the military or otherwise involved in national defense or homeland security, your first obligation is to protect the homeland from human-caused attacks, including war and terrorism.
However, an important component of your oath to protect the pubic includes, or should, protection from natural disasters. This is becoming more common as you, our defense boots on the ground, don’t need to be overseas so much and can protect the public in more effective ways.
DO advocate that an incredibly valued contribution to homeland security is disaster response. I personally advocated this approach to operational readiness inspection (ORI) officials back in the 1980’s. In my mind, there was no better test of readiness than to respond to a natural disaster. I was laughed off the stage, so to speak.
But maybe times have changed. Maybe now we have a better concept of how you, our military, could be utilized to protect our country by both protecting our citizens during disaster AND deploying to protect our neighbors when the hurricane or earthquake strikes. It is certainly an honorable mission.