Core Capabilities

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The National Preparedness Goal identified 31 core capabilities—these are the distinct critical elements needed to achieve the goal.

These capabilities are referenced in many national preparedness efforts, including the National Planning Frameworks. The Goal grouped the capabilities into five mission areas, based on where they most logically fit. Some fall into only one mission area, while some others apply to several mission areas.

Download the capabilities crosswalk to see how the legacy Target Capabilities List compares with the new core capabilities.


  • Mission Areas: All
  • Description: Conduct a systematic process engaging the whole community as appropriate in the development of executable strategic, operational, and/or community-based approaches to meet defined objectives.

Public Information and Warning

  • Mission Areas: All
  • Description: Deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable, and actionable information to the whole community through the use of clear, consistent, accessible, and culturally and linguistically appropriate methods to effectively relay information regarding any threat or hazard, as well as the actions being taken and the assistance being made available, as appropriate.

Operational Coordination

  • Mission Areas: All
  • Description: Establish and maintain a unified and coordinated operational structure and process that appropriately integrates all critical stakeholders and supports the execution of core capabilities.

Forensics and Attribution

  • Mission Area: Prevention
  • Description: Conduct forensic analysis and attribute terrorist acts (including the means and methods of terrorism) to their source, to include forensic analysis as well as attribution for an attack and for the preparation for an attack in an effort to prevent initial or follow-on acts and/or swiftly develop counter-options.

Intelligence and Information Sharing

  • Mission Areas: Prevention, Protection
  • Description: Provide timely, accurate, and actionable information resulting from the planning, direction, collection, exploitation, processing, analysis, production, dissemination, evaluation, and feedback of available information concerning threats to the United States, its people, property, or interests; the development, proliferation, or use of WMDs; or any other matter bearing on U.S. national or homeland security by Federal, state, local, and other stakeholders. Information sharing is the ability to exchange intelligence, information, data, or knowledge among Federal, state, local, or private sector entities, as appropriate.

Interdiction and Disruption

  • Mission Areas: Prevention, Protection
  • Description: Delay, divert, intercept, halt, apprehend, or secure threats and/or hazards.

Screening, Search, and Detection

  • Mission Areas: Prevention, Protection
  • Description: Identify, discover, or locate threats and/or hazards through active and passive surveillance and search procedures. This may include the use of systematic examinations and assessments, sensor technologies, or physical investigation and intelligence.

Access Control and Identity Verification

  • Mission Area: Protection
  • Description: Apply a broad range of physical, technological, and cyber measures to control admittance to critical locations and systems, limiting access to authorized individuals to carry out legitimate activities.


  • Mission Area: Protection
  • Description: Protect against damage to, the unauthorized use of, and/or the exploitation of (and, if needed, the restoration of) electronic communications systems and services (and the information contained therein).

Physical Protective Measures

  • Mission Area: Protection
  • Description: Reduce or mitigate risks, including actions targeted at threats, vulnerabilities, and/or consequences, by controlling movement and protecting borders, critical infrastructure, and the homeland.

Risk Management for Protection Programs and Activities

  • Mission Area: Protection
  • Description: Identify, assess, and prioritize risks to inform Protection activities and investments.

Supply Chain Integrity and Security

  • Mission Area: Protection
  • Description: Strengthen the security and resilience of the supply chain.

Community Resilience

  • Mission Area: Mitigation
  • Description: Lead the integrated effort to recognize, understand, communicate, plan, and address risks so that the community can develop a set of actions to accomplish Mitigation and improve resilience.

Long-term Vulnerability Reduction

  • Mission Area: Mitigation
  • Description: Build and sustain resilient systems, communities, and critical infrastructure and key resources lifelines so as to reduce their vulnerability to natural, technological, and human-caused incidents by lessening the likelihood, severity, and duration of the adverse consequences related to these incidents.

Risk and Disaster Resilience Assessment

  • Mission Area: Mitigation
  • Description: Assess risk and disaster resilience so that decision makers, responders, and community members can take informed action to reduce their entity's risk and increase their resilience.

Threats and Hazard Identification

  • Mission Area: Mitigation
  • Description: Identify the threats and hazards that occur in the geographic area; determine the frequency and magnitude; and incorporate this into analysis and planning processes so as to clearly understand the needs of a community or entity.

Critical Transportation

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide transportation (including infrastructure access and accessible transportation services) for response priority objectives, including the evacuation of people and animals, and the delivery of vital response personnel, equipment, and services into the affected areas.

Environmental Response/Health and Safety

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Ensure the availability of guidance and resources to address all hazards including hazardous materials, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters in support of the responder operations and the affected communities.

Fatality Management Services

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide fatality management services, including body recovery and victim identification, working with state and local authorities to provide temporary mortuary solutions, sharing information with mass care services for the purpose of reunifying family members and caregivers with missing persons/remains, and providing counseling to the bereaved.

Infrastructure Systems

  • Mission Area: Response, Recovery
  • Description: Stabilize critical infrastructure functions, minimize health and safety threats, and efficiently restore and revitalize systems and services to support a viable, resilient community.

Mass Care Services

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide life-sustaining services to the affected population with a focus on hydration, feeding, and sheltering to those who have the most need, as well as support for reunifying families.

Mass Search and Rescue Operations

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Deliver traditional and atypical search and rescue capabilities, including personnel, services, animals, and assets to survivors in need, with the goal of saving the greatest number of endangered lives in the shortest time possible.

On-scene Security and Protection

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Ensure a safe and secure environment through law enforcement and related security and protection operations for people and communities located within affected areas and also for all traditional and atypical response personnel engaged in lifesaving and life-sustaining operations.

Operational Communications

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Ensure the capacity for timely communications in support of security, situational awareness, and operations by any and all means available, among and between affected communities in the impact area and all response forces.

Public and Private Services and Resources

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide essential public and private services and resources to the affected population and surrounding communities, to include emergency power to critical facilities, fuel support for emergency responders, and access to community staples (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks) and fire and other first response services.

Public Health and Medical Services

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide lifesaving medical treatment via emergency medical services and related operations and avoid additional disease and injury by providing targeted public health and medical support and products to all people in need within the affected area.

Situational Assessment

  • Mission Area: Response
  • Description: Provide all decision makers with decision-relevant information regarding the nature and extent of the hazard, any cascading effects, and the status of the response.

Economic Recovery

  • Mission Area: Recovery
  • Description: Return economic and business activities (including food and agriculture) to a healthy state and develop new business and employment opportunities that result in a sustainable and economically viable community.

Health and Social Services

  • Mission Area: Recovery
  • Description: Restore and improve health and social services networks to promote the resilience, independence, health (including behavioral health), and well-being of the whole community.


  • Mission Area: Recovery
  • Description: Implement housing solutions that effectively support the needs of the whole community and contribute to its sustainability and resilience.

Natural and Cultural Resources

  • Mission Area: Recovery
  • Description: Protect natural and cultural resources and historic properties through appropriate planning, mitigation, response, and recovery actions to preserve, conserve, rehabilitate, and restore them consistent with post-disaster community priorities and best practices and in compliance with appropriate environmental and historical preservation laws and executive orders.
Last Updated: 
05/04/2015 - 09:20
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