9/11: Mistakes of the Past Could Come Back to Haunt Us

In typical U.S. governmental red-tape fashion, high-tech command centers around the nation that were created or modified in the wake of 9/11 to improve communication have failed to achieve the goal for which they were designed.

Ten years later, two networks, one that deals with emergency preparedness and the other dealing strictly with law enforcement, were found to have no idea what the other agency was doing. This was an issue that was prevalent after the hijackings on 9/11, as state, local and federal organizations did not communicate with each other in an effective manner. This was further bolstered by the ineptitude displayed following Hurricane Katrina.

So, the question must be asked: Has our government, including the state, local and federal branches, truly learned anything in the intervening years since these manmade and natural disasters have occurred? It appears the answer is no, according to a recent www.utsandiego.com article.

The problem seems to lie in the question of who takes responsibility for what. In the case of a center that focuses only on crime, do they not consider emergency operation centers a part of what they do? In turn, do the operators of the emergency operation centers see the need for working with and coordinating the efforts between the two entities? How soon we forget the lessons of the past, for it was because of these exact reasons that some of these centers were created, such as the National Incident Management System (NIMS), in the first place.

There were even reports that some of the centers told federal auditors that the reason there are no coordination plans between emergency management officials was because, “They just do it.” This was the general consensus among the various centers, with no attempts made to establish neither a relationship nor communication with other centers.

With the mindset that “We will deal with a situation when that situation comes about,” it is no wonder that the terrorists had such an easy time on 9/11 or that when Katrina struck, the federal government, FEMA in particular, as well as the government of New Orleans, were ill-prepared to deal with the enormity of the situation, and continued to do so months after the fact.

The lesson here: Communication is key.

For more information about counter terror emergency response, visit: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/24/counterterror-emergency-response-centers-not-shari/