Homeland Security in 2020: How EPA Prepares for Modern Threats to Our Nation

Paul Kudarauskas, Deputy Associate Administrator, EPA Office of Homeland SecurityBy Paul Kudarauskas
Deputy Associate Administrator, EPA Office of Homeland Security

Homeland security is part of our overall national security in the United States. Dating back before 9/11, homeland security officials from all departments and agencies worked to support national preparedness in various forms. Over time, the scope of potential threats to prepare for has expanded beyond large-scale terrorist attacks to also include cyber-attacks, pandemics and catastrophic natural disasters. The evolution of threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation required us to take a broader, more integrated approach to preparedness.

Over the years, we have strengthened the security and resilience of the United States using systematic preparation, which is an integrated, national-level, capabilities-based approach to preparedness. Within this national preparedness system, we’re using a series of integrated national planning frameworks that covers: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.

ASPECT Team members process the day's data from overflights of BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Left to right, Paul Kudarauskas, John Cardarelli, Bob Kroutil, Tim Curry, and Team Leader, Mark Thomas. USEPA Photo by Eric Vance

ASPECT Team members process the day’s data from overflights of BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Left to right, Paul Kudarauskas, John Cardarelli, Bob Kroutil, Tim Curry, and Team Leader, Mark Thomas. USEPA Photo by Eric Vance

These frameworks are adaptable, with coordinating structures to align key roles and responsibilities to deliver the necessary capabilities. They are coordinated under a national, unified system that uses common terminology and approaches; builds upon basic plans that support an all-hazards approach to preparedness; and utilizes functional or incident annexes to describe any unique requirements for threats or scenarios as needed. Each one describes how actions taken in that specific framework are coordinated with relevant actions described in the other frameworks across the preparedness spectrum.

The term “Homeland Security” has changed over the years. At EPA, we are also focusing on new impacts to homeland and national security, such as “Insider Threats,” theft of intellectual property by foreign adversaries, and other counter-intelligence issues. We need to support our partners in the water sector — teaming up with them to reinforce their cybersecurity, to ensure clean water and continuously operating systems. Historically, we haven’t included these other focus areas in our homeland security program, however with the evolution of threats, we cannot afford to overlook them today. As we look at our homeland security program in 2020, we see a more agile and resilient program using a risk-based approach to prioritize preparedness under the five national planning frameworks.


About the author: Paul Kudarauskas is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Homeland Security in the Administrator’s Office. Paul has spent 23 years in the Federal Government supporting environmental management, emergency response and homeland security programs at the Department of Transportation and at EPA, in both field and senior leadership positions.

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