National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive

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The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20)—also known as the "National Continuity Policy"—was signed May 9, 2007, by President George W. Bush.

Purpose

The directive, according to a May 9, 2007, press release entitled "National Continuity Policy" from the Office of the White House Press Secretary,

"... establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes 'National Essential Functions,' prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency."

Assignment of Power to Executive Branch

The directive assigns sole power to the executive branch of government.

"The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination."
"The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate. The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive."
"The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency."
"Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies."
  • Note: The current Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is Frances Fragos Townsend.

Implementation: "Catastrophic Emergency"

The directive states that this power could/would be exercised in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency", meaning "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions ..."

Responsibilities

"Continuity requirements for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and executive departments" are listed in the directive. In general, those requirements are:

"Continuity of Government, or COG, means a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency;
"Continuity of Operations, or COOP, means an effort within individual executive departments and agencies to ensure that Primary Mission-Essential Functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies; ... "

Revocation of PDD-67

The directive revokes Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 (Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations), "including all Annexes thereto".

According to the Federation of American Scientists, the "text of PDD-67 has not been released, and there is no White House Factsheet summarizing its provisions." [1] A summary can be found here and here.

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