Homeland Security

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the establishment of a voluntary agreement to provide for the possibility of mutual assistance among the Central and Prairie Regions of the United States and Canada in managing any emergency or disaster when the affected jurisdiction or jurisdictions ask for assistance, whether arising from natural disaster, technological hazard, man-made disaster or civil emergency aspects of resource shortages. 

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March killed 16,000 people. It could have been worse.

About 73 percent of the land in Japan is uninhabitable, John Madden, director Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Friday morning. That means about 127 million are concentrated on about 27 percent of the country’s land mass—much of it along the coasts.

The tsunami that followed a devastating earthquake in Japan in March threatened to impact the U.S. Pacific Coast, causing emergency management officials to issue tsunami warnings, make evacuation decisions and implement emergency operations plans.  While states were able to handle the event, a larger tsunami could have required international mutual aid assistance. The Pacific Northwest and Canada already have an agreement in place to provide resources and assistance. This session explored lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan and ways the U.S. might respond to such a catastrophic disaster. 

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has co-sponsored a survey that explores public attitudes about terrorism and natural disasters a decade after the attacks of September 11, 2011.  

Faced with severe budget deficits across the nation, state governments are making difficult, if not impossible, choices when it comes to cutting services for their residents. Like most functions within state government, emergency management is feeling the brunt of this brutal environment. On one side are the economic constraints. On the other is the reality of disasters, which don’t care about budgets and whether resources are available or not. Only one constant remains—if a disaster occurs, citizens expect an adequate level of public resources to manage the disaster. Every well-managed disaster teaches the benefits of a comprehensive capability. Effective and exercised evacuation plans remove people from harm’s way. A fully functioning tsunami warning system saves lives. Rigorous building codes mean fewer deaths and lower costs for expensive reconstruction and debris removal after a devastating event. For the foreseeable future, the challenge for emergency management is balancing these conflicting realities while meeting the responsibility of saving lives and protecting property.

Chapter 9 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Book of the States 2011

Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs


  1. An Impossible Choice: Reconciling State Budget Cuts and Disasters that Demand Adequate Management
  2. ...


As residents in parts of the Midwest experienced record flooding this spring, discussions began on Capitol Hill about the future of the National Flood Insurance Program.

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: 6/5-6/11, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of June 5-11 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

Like Arizona before it, Alabama has become the latest state to up the ante on illegal immigration. Gov. Robert Bentley signed the controversial measure into law today and it’s slated to take effect Sept. 1st.

Maryland became the 12th state in the country to allow illegal immigrants living within its borders to attend colleges and universities at in-state prices when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed Senate Bill 167 in early May.