Meeting Minutes: August 11, 2008
Regional Advisory Council DHS/FEMA Region VIII, Denver CO
Garry Briese convened the third meeting of the Regional Advisory Council for Region VIII on August 11, 2008, via teleconference at (800) 320-4330, PIN 918821. The Council meeting began at 10:30 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m. Mountain time.
Participating Council Members
Garry Briese - Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VIII
Dr. Greg Burcham - Denver emergency physician, Colorado US&R Task Force
Bruce Hoover - Chief, Fargo ND Fire Department
Hans Kallam - Director, CO Div. of Emergency Management
Joe Moore - Director, WY Office of Homeland Security
Pete Red Tomahawk Transportation Director, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (ND/SD)
Kristi Turman - Director, SD Office of Emergency Management
Mason Whitney - CO Governor's Homeland Security Advisor
Doug Gore, Deputy Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VIII
Tim Deal, Federal Preparedness Coordinator, FEMA Region VIII
Donovan Puffer, FEMA Region VIII, designated support officer for the Council
Handouts Distributed to RAC Members in Advance of Meeting
Region VIII Strategic Plan for 2008-2013
Executive Summary from latest National Advisory Council meeting, May 14-15, 2008
Update on Regional Advisory Councils: Handout used by Region V Administrator Ed Buikema in briefing the National Advisory Council on May 15, 2008
Powerpoint presentation on "Consequence Management Preparation for the 2008 Democratic National Convention"
At 10:30 a.m., Garry Briese called the meeting to order and thanked the attendees for participating in the Regional Advisory Council.
Consequence Management Preparation for the 2008 DNC. Pete Bakersky gave a 10-minute presentation on this topic. A steering committee and 17 subcommittees are established to coordinate DNC preparations, and FEMA Region VIII is involved in 5 of them. Preparations have been a partnership between local, state and federal organizations. U.S. Secret Service and the FBI are setting up a Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) in Building 810 of the Denver Federal Center to coordinate venue site security, intelligence, and law enforcement support. 76 agencies are involved in MACC operations. DHS Secretary is deploying a Principal Federal Official (PFO) to represent the Department and provide the secretary with on-site information and situational awareness. Mr. Bakersky said they are working on identifying "threshold decisions" - events or information that would trigger a larger response or an activation of assets.
Purpose of the Regional Advisory Council. Garry Briese invited RAC members to share their opinions about how the Region VIII RAC can best fulfill its purpose and the spirit of the legislation that established the RACs.
Kristi Turman commented on the trend nationwide for homeland security and emergency management guidance and requirements to come from the top-down, and she asked how we could work to bring back a bottom-up approach. What can we do at the regional level to strengthen state, tribal and local capabilities? Ms. Turman talked briefly about the idea of joint planning support within the region, and said South Dakota had many lessons learned from their own recent disaster experiences, particularly in the area of Human Services and mass care, which they'd like to share with other interested stakeholders in the region.
Hans Kallam supported Ms. Turman's earlier comments. He recommended the RAC work to help identify and synchronize state priorities, and then coordinate with FEMA Region VIII on their accomplishment. For example, Mr. Kallam talked about the common requirement of doing a multi-year training & exercise schedule, and how this type of project is improved by intra-regional synchronization and coordination.
Next Steps for the Region VIII Strategic Plan. Mason Whitney offered observations about the Region VIII strategic plan. In general, it shows a task orientation and it appears to be a tool for organizing FEMA Region VIII's work. However, in the strategic plan he doesn't see a lot of alignment with the National Preparedness Guidelines, DHS strategic plan, or state strategic plans. It's unclear how the Region VIII strategy will be integrated with our state strategies. General Whitney suggested the RAC bring in copies of the state strategies for the next RAC meeting, see if/how they align, and use the crosswalk as a basis for subsequent creation of a regional homeland security strategy or strategic plan.
Joe Moore said the RVIII strategic plan was well written, but he agreed with General Whitney, and he commented the regional strategic plan should be a place for integrating the States' top strategic goals and priorities. As an example, Director Moore commented that Wyoming's top strategic goal is achieving and maintaining communications interoperability, which is not mentioned significantly in the RVIII strategic plan. He also recalled the comments his office provided on the draft strategic plan, which pointed out the plan's relative de-emphasis of terrorism as a hazard and homeland security as a discipline, particularly when compared to national doctrine and DHS grant guidance.
Garry Briese agreed with the suggestion that at the next meeting, the Council members should take up the topic of assessing and comparing state strategies as a starting point for revising the regional strategic plan. After confirming that Region VIII has copies of all the state strategies, he said he would prefer that Region VIII staff do some of the advance work by preparing a crosswalk for the RAC members to review, rather than just giving them copies of the state strategies. (Note: Tim Deal agreed to have the regional preparedness analysis and planning officer, Lynn Pisano-Pedigo, develop the crosswalk document.)
Next RAC Meeting in November 2008. Mr. Briese proposes to hold the next meeting of the Regional Advisory Council in person versus via teleconference on November 17-18, immediately preceding the next meeting of the Regional Interagency Steering Committee (RISC) on November 19-20. He asked the Council members for their opinions about the timing and content of the meeting, including the idea of holding a two-day meeting. Hans Kallam responded he was available on the dates proposed, and he is in favor of "rolling up our sleeves and getting to work." Kristi Turman agreed with the proposed date, recommended the Council members do some preparatory work in advance of the meeting, and said she thought the RAC could accomplish its work in one day rather than two. Joe Moore agreed to the dates, said Mr. Briese has some good initiatives going in Region VIII, and said he'd like to ensure they're reflected in the Region VIII strategic plan. Bruce Hoover said a two-day meeting would be beneficial to him, providing an opportunity to learn more about the RAC process. Greg Burcham was in favor of the proposed date and topic of the meeting. Pete Red Tomahawk also was in favor of the proposed date and topics to be covered.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Red Tomahawk also offered to Mr. Briese a proposal to consider adding a second tribal representative to the Council: Robert DesRosier, the deputy emergency manager of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. Mr. Red Tomahawk summarized Mr. DesRosier's background and experience, and suggested he would make a good addition to the Council membership.
In closing, Hans Kallam mentioned an upcoming opportunity in November for outreach during a tribal conference or meeting in New Mexico. He said he would provide details of the meeting to the other RAC members. (Note: In a follow-up email, Mr. Kallam said the Tribal Risk and Emergency Management Association is having its inaugural conference November 12-13 in New Mexico, and more information is available on their website, wwwtreamaonline.org.)
Mr. Briese thanked Council members for participating, and adjourned the meeting at 11:25 a.m. Mountain time.