Technology Needs and the Levels of Government

Technology Needs and the Levels of Government

This week, you have considered technologies (specific applications or tools, etc.) and the technological capabilities (types or categories of technologies) available or appropriate for each level of government within the United States—national or federal, state, and local. You have also explored the necessity and potential limitations for all levels, sectors, and arenas involved in homeland security/crisis management to achieve interoperability.

The National Response Framework (NRF) expressly outlines roles and responsibilities for various levels of government; these levels include not just the political leaders and administrations but also associated agencies. At the federal level, for example, DHS, FEMA, FBI, and DOD—among others—often play a marked role in all stages of crisis-response planning and management. At state levels, one can find the following (among others): state homeland security and/or emergency management offices; state highway patrol departments; state bureaus of investigations; state environmental, labor, or hazardous materials divisions. Local communities will also have regulatory agencies, commissions created by political leaders, task forces, interagency groups, citizens committees, and much more. Importantly, these many distinct entities spread across these levels also require unique technologies and capabilities.

Remember one more thing: all disasters are local. This means that the local community is normally the initial site of a crisis, incident, or disaster. Per the NRF, communities are expected to respond to the best of their capabilities and request help only when given resources are exhausted. In many cases, these requests for assistance are specific, covering specific needs. Local communities request resources from their intrastate regions or the state; states may request resources they’ve exhausted or don’t possess from neighboring states and/or the federal level.

For this unit’s assignment, you will use the Minnesota Bridge/ I-35W Collapse of 2007 as a case study.

Assignment Guidelines

  • Address the following in 3–5 pages:
    • What are at least 3 forms of technology that made or could have made a significant difference in saving lives, lessening suffering, and/or protecting property? Explain in detail.
    • Describe each of the 3 technologies (specific form or class of capabilities). Discuss in detail.
    • Which level(s) of government did employ or should have employed this tool or capability? Explain.
      • Who specifically used it (or should have)? How did they use it? Explain and be specific.
    • How did each tool or type of technology make—or would have made—a significant impact in the management of this crisis? Explain.
      • Emphasize the ability to save or protect lives and property
  • Note the technologies you choose for this assignment may have been used or not.
  • They must be real, existing capabilities or tools that you will probably have to research specifically, not just “cool” ideas in need of invention or development.
    • Conclude your paper by arguing how and when technology is, or is not, a force multiplier for incidents such as the Minnesota Bridge Collapse, and support your arguments with evidence, not opinion.
    • Your final product should be well organized, well written, employ good mechanics, and be clear and persuasive. All information used that does not solely reflect original thought must be properly cited with appropriate references provided.
  • Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

Note: when thinking about technology, do not limit your consideration only to primarily electronic products and capabilities. Technology and technological capabilities span all relevant specialties to include engineering, hazardous materials and firefighting, law enforcement, medical, logistical, transportation, and other operations. (A special respiratory apparatus that permits hazmat responders to work in a radiological contaminated area or debris removal vehicles that are extra light in weight, might be two examples.)


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