The threats to our nation are multiple – climate change and its resulting impacts in serious weather-related natural disasters, our reliance on telecommunications and the Internet that is threatened by cyber criminals and state actors, and the continued threats in future or continued pandemics. The time is now to identify the paths to resilience, which will allow us to withstand these threats.
The need for resilient communities has been greatly highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. The gaps in resilience and the disconnects between the various governmental layers and organizations are laid bare in a crisis of national impact. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly stressed the relationships between the federal, state, and local governments and highlighted existing gaps in trust and understanding. A patchwork of state and local lockdowns, testing and critical medical acquisition has proven to be a poor substitute for a collaborative federal, state and local approach to a national crisis that knows no state and local boundaries.
At the same time, there are examples of governments working together to solve the very serious, complex, and multi-faceted issues. The challenge is to identify and strengthen what is working while at the same time identify and repair the breakdown in the federal, state and local intergovernmental partnership.
In recent years, often in the absence of Federal leadership and support, we have seen increasing state and local skepticism that the federal government is a reliable intergovernmental partner and the related rise of the independent state, local and public-private partnership initiatives to address the most urgent threats to community resilience. No path should be undertaken without a full understanding of the work that has been done, and the inclusion of key stakeholders in any new programs and initiatives.
Restoring the trust and partnership among the levels and agencies of government for building resilient communities is a critical challenge. In this paper, the Academy’s Election 2020 Working Group on Resilient Communities proposes a path forward to build and repair these relationships.
Please visit the Election 2020 Homepage for more action plans.