HSEEP Information

Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-8

On December 17, 2003, the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-8: National Preparedness. Among other actions, HSPD-8 required the establishment of a National Preparedness Goal, which establishes measurable priorities, targets, and a common approach to developing capabilities needed to better prepare the Nation as a whole. The National Preparedness Goal uses a capabilities-based planning approach to help answer the questions, "How prepared are we," "How prepared do we need to be," and "How do we prioritize efforts to close the gap?" As a result of HSPD-8 and the National Preparedness Goal, a set of National Planning Scenarios was developed to illustrate the effects and conditions of incidents of national significance for which the Nation should prepare.

National Preparedness Goal

The National Preparedness Goal is designed to guide departments, agencies, officials, and organizations among Federal, State, Urban Area, local, tribal, private sector, non-government, and public levels in determining how most efficiently to strengthen preparedness for terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

The goal includes seven priorities for national preparedness. The priorities fall into two categories: overarching priorities and priorities to build specific capabilities.

The overarching priorities are to:

The priorities for specific capabilities are to:

The goal addresses a requirement of HSPD-8, National Preparedness, to define "standards for preparedness assessments and strategies, and a system for assessing the Nation's overall preparedness to respond to major events, especially those involving acts of terrorism."

The National Preparedness System

The National Preparedness System is designed to answer three main questions:

By asking and answering these questions, all levels of government should be able to identify critical deficiencies, develop strategies, track and report on progress, and aggregate this information to better understand the Nation's preparedness level.

Target Capabilities List

The Target Capabilities List (TCL) includes 37 goals that will balance the potential threat and magnitude of terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies with the resources required to prevent, respond to, and recover from them. This list is designed to help jurisdictions understand what their preparedness roles and responsibilities are during a major incident, and includes everything from all-hazards planning to worker health and safety.

Universal Task List

The Universal Task List (UTL) is a list of every unique task identified in the National Planning Scenarios, developed under the leadership of the Homeland Security Council. The UTL is a reference to help plan, organize, equip, train, exercise, and evaluate personnel for the tasks they may need to perform during a major incident.

National Planning Scenarios

The 15 National Planning Scenarios address all-hazard incidents, which include terrorism, natural disasters, and health emergencies. They represent a minimum number of scenarios necessary to illustrate the range of potential incidents, rather than every possible threat or hazard. The 15 National Planning Scenarios are as follows:

  1. Improvised Nuclear Device
  2. Aerosolized Anthrax
  3. Pandemic Influenza
  4. Plague
  5. Blister Agent
  6. Toxic Industrial Chemical
  7. Nerve Agent
  8. Chlorine Tank Explosion
  9. Major Earthquake
  10. Major Hurricane
  11. Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD)
  12. Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
  13. Food Contamination
  14. Foreign Animal Disease (FAD)
  15. Cyber

The National Planning Scenarios serve as the basis for identifying tasks that must be performed to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from these incidents, as well as the capabilities required to perform the tasks. From the 15 National Planning Scenarios, the UTL was developed as a comprehensive, integrated menu of essential tasks for major events illustrated by the National Planning Scenarios. The 15 scenarios provide for common planning factors in terms of the potential scope, magnitude, and complexity of major events that will help to determine the target levels of capability required and apportion responsibility among all potential partners. Developing appropriate capabilities to address this range of scenarios will best prepare the Nation for terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

National Priorities

The following eight National Priorities were established by the DHS' Interim National Preparedness Goal:

  1. Implement NIMS and the NRP
  2. Expand Regional Collaboration
  3. Implement the National Infrastructure Preparedness Plan
  4. Strengthen Information Sharing and Collaboration Capabilities
  5. Strengthen CBRNE Weapons Detection, Response, and Decontamination Capabilities
  6. Strengthen Interoperable Communications Capabilities
  7. Strengthen Medical Surge and Mass Prophylaxis Capabilities
  8. Strengthen Emergency Operations Planning and Citizen Protection Capabilities

Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program

HSEEP was published to provide an overview of the exercise planning, design, development, conduct, and evaluation process as well as provide sample materials. HSEEP provides the tools and resources such as policy, guidance, training, technology, and direct support to promote regional, State, and local exercise expertise, while advancing a standardized means of assessing and improving preparedness across the Nation.

Capabilities-Based Planning

The National Planning Scenarios and the establishment of the National Priorities steered the focus of homeland security toward a capabilities-based planning approach. Capabilities-based planning focuses on uncertainty. Because it can never be determined with 100-percent accuracy what threat or hazard will occur, it is important to build capabilities that can be applied to a wide variety of incidents. The TCL defines capabilities-based planning as "planning, under uncertainty, to build capabilities suitable for a wide range of threats and hazards while working within an economic framework that necessitates prioritization and choice." As such, capabilities-based planning is all-hazards planning that identify a baseline assessment of State or Urban Area's homeland security efforts. An assessment of this kind is necessary to begin any long-term exercise strategy. This determines where current capabilities stand against the UTL and TCL, and identifies gaps in capabilities. The approach focuses efforts on identifying and developing the capabilities from the TCL to perform the critical tasks from the UTL. The TCL currently contains 37 target capabilities on which jurisdictions should focus their efforts.

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