Monday, September 08, 2014

Ebola outbreak testing Homeland Security strategy

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently released the second Quadrennial Homeland Security Review that defines a set of risk-informed priorities for the homeland security enterprise as a whole. One of those priorities is “A Homeland Security Strategy for Countering Biological Threats and Hazards,” to include – while not being limited to – addressing of “emerging infectious diseases that are highly disruptive (e.g., viruses that could cause human pandemic).” The current Ebola outbreak and the scenarios it may involve put that priority to a test, and also encourages policy and academic experts, and the public, to think about biological threats and hazards writ large and how to ensure effective crisis response and a resilient nation.

Alexander Siedschlag, chair of Homeland Security at Penn State Harrisburg, says the Ebola outbreak provides "an incentive to consider the variety of challenges that biological threats and hazards pose to a national preparedness and an all-hazards approach to homeland security. In short: How could and should Ebola make us think about the “bio” dimension of homeland security? And how well prepared are we to manage “bio” risks. "

Penn State Harrisburg has scheduled a panel Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 12  noon with Thomas Minton, director of Pennsylvania Homeland Security, and Kent Butts, senior lecturer at Penn State, to discuss the implications for homeland security of the current Ebola outbreak. This panel and discussion features a multidisciplinary mix of experts who teach at Penn State’s School of Public Affairs. It is free and open to the public; no registration is required.