Through research, teaching, and work with governments and practicing professionals, the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) seeks to improve society’s capacity to deal with natural disasters; infrastructure, technology, and systems failures; emergent infectious disease; and terrorism. PCL takes a comprehensive perspective, looking at risk reduction strategies, emergency preparedness and response, and disaster recovery.

Affiliated faculty members teach in Harvard’s degree and executive education programs while, together with program staff and students, they conduct research, develop curriculum materials, and support action research projects in conjunction with federal, state, and local government officials in the United States and other countries.

Faculty Co-Directors of the Program on Crisis Leadership are Arnold M. Howitt and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard | People

A program of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

When Disaster Strikes

Why Was Boston Strong? Initiative: Program releases white paper on the response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Crisis Leadership in Action: HKS highlights research by PCL Faculty Co-Directors Howitt and Leonard.

Reputational Crises: Faculty Co-Director Dutch Leonard analyzes Gov. Chris Christie's and Target's responses to their respective crises.

Hurricane Sandy: Joseph Pfeifer, Senior Fellow and FDNY's Chief of Counterterrorism and Emergency Preparedness, discusses responding to the Breezy Point fires.

JFK Jr. Forum: Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later  
April 16, 2014

Past Event Highlights:

 Why Was Boston Strong? Conference  
March 13-14, 2014

A Mayor’s Perspective on Disaster Response: Mayor Walter Maddox on the 2011 Tuscaloosa, Alabama Tornado   
December 4, 2013

Haiti: Progress and Challenges Three Years Later, a JFK Jr. Forum Panel
February 26, 2013

Asia Public Policy Forum: Disaster Management in Asia
May 13 - 15, 2012


NEW White Paper: "Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing"

Article: Howitt et al, "An Incident Management System for Japan?"

Featured Case Studies: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Politics of Crisis Response profiles the Obama administration's coordination of the inter-agency, inter-governmental response to the disaster.