Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030: Forging Strategic Action in an Age of Uncertainty

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Public safety, public security, and disaster management organizations have already taken some steps to address these emerging challenges. However, the increasing pace and complexity of change calls for inclusive engagement and action so that we can proactively plan for and address shifting trends together, as a community of practice. To do this requires the emergency management community to establish and maintain a foresight capability. Foresight does not promote a singular vision or prediction. Instead, it considers a broad spectrum of plausible outcomes to help inform decisionmaking under uncertain conditions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI) to address this need. This initiative has brought together a wide cross-section of the emergency management community to explore key future issues, trends and other factors, and to work through their implications. Working collaboratively and with urgency, we are beginning to understand the full range of changes we could encounter and the nature of our future needs; and we can begin to execute a shared agenda for action.

This report presents the findings from foresight efforts thus far, including: uncertainties that define and drive the future environment; strategic needs and gaps our community will have to address; a look into the emergency management community of 2030; and finally, suggested next steps for the community to prepare for the future. The strategic needs in particular – grouped into Essential Capabilities, Innovative Models and Tools, and Dynamic Partnerships – are intended as a catalyst for leaders throughout the emergency management community to prepare themselves and the Nation for the challenges and opportunities the future holds.

The products of this foresight initiative are offered as a starting point for dialogue and active consideration throughout the emergency management community. The thoughts and ideas presented in this report do not encompass all of the nuances and situations we will meet in the future. Rather, they offer a foundation for developing a shared understanding of potential future challenges and how,
working together, we may address these challenges. The work of the SFI is not possible without the participation of many dedicated professionals from across the United States, spanning many fields and disciplines, as well as our international colleagues. These contributions have already generated tremendous knowledge and insight, and will carry this work forward to meet our shared future demands.