Harvard Kennedy School Executive Program Aims to Better Coordinate National Guard and Coast Guard Crisis Response

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: (617) 495-1115
Date: April 20, 2012

CAMBRIDGE, MA. – With thousands of aid workers from various agencies on the ground every day providing critical support to victims of floods, hurricanes, tornados and other disasters, the need for coordinated response has never been greater. With that goal in mind, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is hosting a group of 50 high-level National Guard and other senior leaders from various military and homeland security agencies from around the country for an Executive Education program designed to effect more coordinated and effective responses following natural disasters and other domestic emergencies. The General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar will take place in Cambridge on April 24-27.

The seminar is designed to help agencies and organizations work together in a non-hierarchical command structure and develop new methods and protocols for coordinating decision implementation, work flow, and follow through. It is one of several programs in the portfolio of the Program on Crisis Leadership at the Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Through intensive case study-based discussion of recent events, participants will focus on planning and leadership and develop concepts and frameworks for the design and execution of response in complex, multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral environments.

"The United States faces a continuing necessity to be prepared for and capable of responding to a major disaster which can happen anywhere and anytime," said Herman "Dutch" Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management and co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership. "Much of the thinking about how to organize a response to such an event until now has imagined a highly centralized operation, but in reality the response operation is diffuse and multi-faceted, involving a variety of public, private and non-profit entities. This new reality requires an updated way of thinking, planning, and training."

"We all recognize the critical role of the National Guard and United States Coast Guard as the backbone of the nation’s leadership cadre for providing the response to complex, multi-jurisdiction, multi-level, multi-sectoral events," said Arn Howitt, executive director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and program co-director. "This customized program will help their senior leaders consider the resources and capabilities to produce an effective response."

"This critical seminar will bring together senior leaders from a variety of military and civilian organizations to build partnerships and develop relationships,” said Major General L. Scott Rice, the Adjutant General (Acting), Massachusetts National Guard. “Additionally, this will help prepare our nation to prevent and respond to the next man-made or natural disaster and limit the loss of life and property. Our citizens deserve nothing less.”

The program agenda includes a public event on the evening of April 26 in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Panelists including General Craig McKinley, Chief, National Guard Bureau; Brigadier General Julie Bentz of the National Security Council; and retired Admiral Mary Landry of the U.S. Coast Guard; will discuss "Disaster Response: The military's role from Japan to the Gulf." The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will be webstreamed live on the Forum website: http://forum.iop.harvard.edu/

Read more about The General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar on the Executive Education program website: http://ksgexecprogram.harvard.edu/Programs/clp/overview.aspx

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