The United States has been faced with a number of significant emergency situations stemming from natural disasters, domestic terrorist attacks, and other emergency events. Since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, federal and state governments have begun to pursue a proactive approach to homeland security by developing strong homeland security strategic plans. As such, the U. S. federal government has designed and implemented a comprehensive homeland security strategic plan, which has been utilized as a guideline for the development of state strategic plans. In addition, the federal government continuously develops regulatory governance in which the individual states must remain in compliance.

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Most recently, the federal government outlined requirements regarding the updating of state and urban area strategic plans, which indicated that at a minimum, these jurisdictions need to ensure that updated strategies take into account and address the four primary mission areas outlined in the federal homeland security strategic plan, which include prevent, protect, respond, and recover. In addition, states must ensure that updated state homeland security strategic plans are reflective of the 7 national priorities established by the federal government. Moving forward with these requirements in mind, the following section provides a detailed examination of the eight primary goals and corresponding objectives, that comprise the State Homeland Security Strategic Plan for State A.

State Homeland Security Strategic Planning Goals and Objectives
The State Homeland Security Strategic Planning goals and objectives are listed in the following sections. When navigating through these goals and objectives, it is important to note that each is classified according to which of the four primary homeland security missions they apply to, whether it is prevent, protect, respond, or recovery, and as such, will be listed accordingly.

The first goal for State A that will be focusing on the mission of prevention focuses on preventing terrorist attacks perpetuated by Al-Qaeda, as this terrorist network has been identified as posing the greatest threat to the state. In order to effectively prevent attacks by Al-Qaeda, State A has established the objectives of conducting comprehensive research, investigation, and study to facilitate better understanding of the threat, determining effective ways to disrupt terrorist planning or activities, and protecting against the capabilities of groups such as Al-Qaeda by engaging in community participation in mass casualty exercises and practice drills.

State A’s second goal associated with prevention seeks to prevent unauthorized procurement or utilization of threatening weapons of mass destruction such as chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons. In order to accomplish this, the state has determined that appropriate objectives include developing a mechanism to anticipate emerging threats, establishing effective controls that limit access to and movement of these types of weapons, and actively working towards protection of the state’s population and critical resources against hostile use of these weapons of mass destruction by boosting community awareness about how to respond .

From the perspective of the second primary mission, to protect, State A’s third goal focuses on managing the inherent and potential risks against critical infrastructure. An examination of State A’s current infrastructure reveals that the state has an extensive transportation network, that includes over 110,000 miles of highways and 18,000 highway bridges that support over 140 billion vehicle miles each year. Further, an extensive network of railroads represent a critical part of State A’s infrastructure as it supports the transportation of 73.5 million tons of freight and supply transport annually. Finally, other critical components of State A’s infrastructure include power generation stations, a regional electrical grid, numerous fuel and natural gas pipelines, and power plant and fuel refineries. To protect these critical components of infrastructure, State A must examine potential risks posed by terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other events in order to better understand and prioritize these risks to facilitate the development of effective plans to mitigate these risks.

Another critical component of homeland security strategic planning protection involves the establishment of a prophylaxis framework to address public health treats, such as influenza, SARS, and the bird flu. In order to achieve this, State A has established the goal of strengthening established medical flow and mass prophylaxis capabilities, which it will utilize the objectives of procuring inoculations for childhood disease, SARS, influenza, and other illnesses that can pose a significant threat to public health and safety, and ensuring procurement is adequate to support administration to the entire state population of 20 million in a timely manner

With regard to the mission of response, State A has set the goal of strengthen planning and the capabilities of the state population through development of community networks, enhanced communication channels, and reaction planning in order to ensure the community is trained and knowledgeable about what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency, a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack. In addition, enhance capabilities through a regional comprehensive progressive homeland security exercise and evaluation program in order to facilitate continued development, implementation, and improvement of local, regional, and state communication systems will be instrumental in ensuring the successful achievement of this goal.

The second response goal focuses on ensuring effective emergency response, which will be accomplished through completion of specific objectives including strengthening statewide response capacities in order to facilitate rapid stabilization in the aftermath of a catastrophic event so as to promote swift recovery, conducting effective disaster response operations, such as practice drills that require collaboration of emergency response agencies state wide, and providing prompt and adequate disaster assistance.

The goals established to address the fourth and final critical homeland security mission, recovery, begin with enabling the facilitation of rapid recovery from a catastrophic event by improving the state’s ability to adapt and prompt recover by ensuring comprehensive examination and development of recovery core capabilities, and ensuring stability and coordination of the state’s essential services and functions.

The last of the eight goals comprising State A’s State Homeland Security Strategic Plan (SHSSP), is characterized as implementation of the national preparedness goal and state preparedness system as established by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as prioritizing state and regional resources that enable local, state, and county jurisdictions to protect valuable first responders in order to allow them to save lives while the state awaits the delivery of additional mutual aid, as well as state and/or federal aid .

  • Dept. of Homeland Security. (2005, July 22). State and urban area homeland security strategy. Retrieved from United States Department of Homeland Security Web site:
  • DHS. (2008, February). Fiscal Year 2008 homeland security grant program guidance and application kit. Retrieved from United States Department of Homeland Security:
  • FEMA. (2007, September). Target capabilities list: A companion to the National Preparedness Guidlines. Retrieved from Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site:
  • Nelson, G., Allen, A., Mendelson, S., & Miller, A. (2007). Homeland security strategic planning: Mission area analysis. Arlington, VA: Homeland Security Institute of Arlington VA.
  • USDHS. (2012). National preparedness guidlines. Retrieved from United States Department of Homeland Security Web site: