Our vision is a safe, prepared, and resilient New York State.
- Commissioner Jackie Bray
New York State faces a wide variety of threats and hazards which requires the development of a comprehensive and coordinated Homeland Security Strategy. Our State remains one of the top terrorist targets in the world and also contends with forms of targeted violence, cyber attacks, public health emergencies, and devastating natural disasters. New York has experienced several major storms in the past decade such as Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, Hurricane Ida, and Superstorm Sandy. Homes have been devastated by flooding along Lake Ontario and record snowfall has been seen in Buffalo. More recently, New Yorkers have fought against the spread of COVID-19, which is like no challenge faced in over a century. The threat of catastrophic events requires continuous attention, coordination, trust, and commitment from all levels of government, the private sector, and the public. Equity remains a guiding principle in how New York State supports individuals and communities before, during, and after a disaster. A commitment to continuous improvement paves the way to enhanced preparedness across all areas and levels of government. It is vital to remain focused on working as a unified team to ensure the State is best prepared to tackle the severe risks our communities face.
This Strategy establishes a comprehensive framework to guide and organize homeland security efforts in New York State over the next four years. Not only does the Strategy guide the use of grant funding and maintain compliance with the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), but it serves as a roadmap to guide the implementation of homeland security related programs, policies, and priorities across the State.
This document serves as an overarching statewide Strategy, not a strategy for any single agency or level of government. There are many stakeholders in our homeland security and emergency response efforts supporting this whole of government approach. Our focus is to implement this Strategy by building and maintaining the capabilities needed to address the threats and hazards we face.
The vision contained within this strategy, of creating a safe, prepared, and resilient New York State, will be implemented through a series of strategic goals and objectives. These goals are supported by programs, initiatives, and the development and sustainment of critical capabilities across all homeland security mission areas including preparedness, response, recovery, prevention, and mitigation.
New York State and key partners must measure progress against mission areas and critical capabilities to chart our collective progress. These capabilities align to the National Core Capabilities identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and advance state and local programs and initiatives. The capabilities provide a mechanism to measure collective preparedness efforts, as part of the County Emergency Preparedness Assessment (CEPA) Program – a statewide risk and capability assessment framework developed by DHSES in collaboration with the local first responder community in New York State. CEPA allows counties to evaluate the risks facing their communities and provides a standardized and repeatable process to assess capabilities. The assessment culminates in a better understanding of collective statewide preparedness and provides decision makers with a snapshot of strengths and gaps within the five mission areas and of critical capabilities.
The five Homeland Security Mission Areas that guide our efforts include:
- Prevention: Prevent acts of terrorism and other human-caused events through information-sharing and counter-terrorism investigations and operations.
- Protection: Protect the people of New York State, our critical infrastructure, and our key resources using a comprehensive risk management approach.
- Mitigation: Reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of future disasters through coordinated mitigation efforts.
- Response: Respond quickly to save lives, reduce suffering, protect property, meet basic human needs, and mitigate further harm after an event.
- Recovery: Restore essential services after disasters, and strengthen and revitalize infrastructure and systems impacted by disasters to build back better.
The Strategy requires coordinated planning, investment, and support from state, local, and federal agencies and stakeholders involved in homeland security. Ultimately, strong collaboration and a networked approach are key to the successful implementation of this Strategy. To coordinate these activities, DHSES works with the Disaster Preparedness Commission (DPC) and other partners statewide to ensure an integrated approach to homeland security. The DHSES Commissioner works closely with the Governor’s Office to ensure consistent leadership, as well as seamless communication and coordination between the Executive Chamber, DHSES, and our state and local stakeholders.
Equity remains a guiding principle in how New York State supports individuals and communities before, during, and after a disaster. To achieve the vision of a safe, prepared, and resilient New York State, a whole community approach is taken where residents, first responder agencies, community and faith-based leaders, and elected officials work together. Engagement and dialogue should be an ongoing activity to build strong relationships and foster trust and confidence in these partnerships. Local government and its leaders are critical as most response resources exist at the county and municipal level. To compliment these efforts, regional coordination structures in a variety of disciplines including emergency management, law enforcement, fire service, emergency communications, specialty response teams (e.g., HazMat), transportation, and public health guide the optimization of funding, staffing, and resource availability.
It is critically important to continually provide New York State residents the information and resources needed to prepare for any type of disaster facing their family or community including individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs. However, there is a need to increase the availability of government services to all members of the public. It is of the utmost importance to conduct outreach to every community in New York, given the diversity of language and ethnicity of our State. Personal and family preparedness is key to achieving the vision outlined in this Strategy, and this is only possible if all New Yorkers are engaged through the collective efforts of government.
To successfully implement the New York State Homeland Security Strategy, we must evaluate progress. Each iteration of the Strategy builds from the previous version and aims to:
- Advance equity before, during, and after disasters.
- Incorporate best practices.
- Address areas for enhancement.
- Analyze progress in key areas.
The effective and efficient use of public funds is a critical part of this Strategy and requires measurable progress towards the preparedness capability goals. New York State identified targets, objectives, and metrics for each of the goals outlined in this Strategy. These targets and metrics allow for a standardized approach to assess progress. A comprehensive evaluation and review of the Strategy will take place at least once during the planning cycle. The assessment will include the annual evaluations of certain specialty areas of the State’s homeland security programs.
New York State will maintain an updated Strategy to serve as a roadmap to guide implementation of homeland security related policies, priorities, and programs across the State. Stakeholders may share feedback on the Strategy by emailing DHSES (firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time.
New York State has identified ten homeland security goals which recognize the risk profile, lessons learned, and best practices from major incidents. Each Strategy goal contains supporting objectives that further define the programs, initiatives, and steps required to meet the goal.
Since New York faces a wide variety of natural, human-caused, and accidental-type threats and hazards, the State maintains an “all hazards” approach to addressing these threats and hazards by developing and maintaining the capabilities necessary to prevent or mitigate all types of disasters. This risk profile serves to inform decision- makers. It ties directly into other efforts to understand our risk, including FEMA’s annual Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) requirements.