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core capabilities: national strategies

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about the core capabilities

the core capabilities are the elements necessary to meet the national; preparedness goal.

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The first edition of the National Preparedness Goal, released in September 2011, set the vision for preparedness nationwide and identified the core capabilities necessary to achieve that vision across the five mission areas-Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery. The second edition of the National Preparedness Goal, incorporates critical edits identified through real world events, lessons learned and implementation of the National Preparedness System. 

The National Preparedness Goal continues to define what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies. The goal itself remains:
“A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”

The Capabilities create national standards for public health preparedness capability-based planning and will assist state and local planners in identifying gaps in preparedness, determining the specific jurisdictional priorities, and developing plans for building and sustaining capabilities. These standards are designed to accelerate state and local preparedness planning, provide guidance and recommendations for preparedness planning, and, ultimately, assure safer, more resilient, and better prepared communities.

The CDC identified the following 15 capabilities as the basis for state and local public health preparedness:



Prevention includes those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism. Unlike other mission areas, which are all-hazards by design, Prevention core capabilities are focused specifically on imminent terrorist threats, including on-going attacks or stopping imminent follow-on attacks.

In addition, preventing an imminent terrorist threat will trigger a robust counterterrorism response wherein all instruments of national power may be used to resolve threats and save lives. Prevention also includes activities such as intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland defense as examples of activities conducted to address and resolve the threat.

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Protection includes the capabilities to safeguard the homeland against acts of terrorism and man- made or natural disasters. It focuses on actions to protect our people, our vital interests, and our way of life.

Protection core capabilities are the product of diverse activities. These activities include defense against WMD threats; defense of agriculture and food; critical infrastructure protection7; protection of key leadership and events; border security; maritime security; transportation security; immigration security; and cybersecurity.

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Mitigation includes those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.

It is focused on the premise that individuals, the private and nonprofit sectors, communities, critical infrastructure, and the Nation as a whole are made more resilient when the consequences and impacts, the duration, and the financial and human costs to respond to and recover from adverse incidents are all reduced.

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Response includes those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred. It is focused on ensuring that the Nation is able to effectively respond to any threat or hazard, including those with cascading effects.

Response emphasizes saving and sustaining lives, stabilizing the incident, rapidly meeting basic human needs, restoring basic services and technologies, restoring community functionality, providing universal accessibility, establishing a safe and secure environment, and supporting the transition to recovery.

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Recovery includes those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively. Support for recovery ensures a continuum of care for individuals to maintain and restore health, safety, independence and livelihoods, especially those who experience financial, emotional, and physical hardships. Successful recovery ensures that we emerge from any threat or hazard stronger and positioned to meet the needs of the future.

Recovery capabilities support well-coordinated, transparent, and timely restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of infrastructure and housing; an economic base; health and social systems; and a revitalized cultural, historic, and environmental fabric. The ability of a community to accelerate the recovery process begins with its efforts in pre- incident preparedness: increasing resilience; collaborative, inclusive planning; and developing capacity to manage disaster recovery effectively. Developing and maintaining Recovery core capabilities requires a multi-agency, interdisciplinary approach that engages the whole community, including a wide range of service and resource providers and stakeholders.

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