Emergency Responders

Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

Written nearly two years after September 11, 2001, this report concludes that the United States is drastically underfunding local emergency responders and remains dangerously unprepared to handle a catastrophic attack on American soil, particularly one involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-impact conventional weapons. If the nation does not take immediate steps to better identify and address the urgent needs of emergency responders, the next terrorist incident could be even more devastating than 9/11.

Richard A. Clarke

former national coordinator, National Security Council

These are the central findings of the Council-sponsored independent Task Force on Emergency Responders, a blue-ribbon panel of Nobel laureates, U.S. military leaders, former high-level government officials, and other senior experts, led by former Senator Warren B. Rudman and advised by former White House terrorism and cyber-security chief Richard A. Clarke. This report marks the first time that data from emergency responder communities has been brought together to estimate national needs.

More on:

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Middle East and North Africa


The Task Force met with U.S. firefighters, police officers, emergency medical workers, public health providers, and other emergency responders—whose lives depend on the adequacy of their preparedness for another terrorist attack—and asked them what additional programs they truly need to establish a minimum effective response to a catastrophic attack. The shockingly high unbudgeted needs they articulated make clear the importance of closing the gap between current levels of emergency preparedness and minimum essential preparedness levels across the United States. This is a must read for anyone interested in how the United States can, and must, better protect itself.

More on:

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Middle East and North Africa


Task Force Members

Task Force Members

Warren B. Rudman, partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison; former senator, New Hampshire

Charles Graham Boyd,chief executive officer and president, Business Executives for National Security; former deputy commander in chief, U.S. European Command

Richard A. Clarke, senior adviser, Council on Foreign Relations; chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, LLC; former senior White House adviser

William J. Crowe, senior adviser, Global Options; former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

James Kallstrom, senior executive vice president, MBNA America; former director, Office of Public Security for the State of New York

Joshua Lederberg, president emeritus and Sackler Foundation Scholar, Rockefeller University; Nobel laureate

Donald Marron, chairman, UBS America and chairman, Lightyear Capital

Jamie Metzl, senior fellow and coordinator for Homeland Security Programs, Council on Foreign Relations; former National Security Council aide; former Senate Foreign Relations Committee official

Philip A. Odeen, former chairman, TRW, Inc.

Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Dennis Reimer, director, Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism; former chief of staff, U.S. Army

George P. Shultz, Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford distinguished fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; former secretary of state, secretary of the Treasury, secretary of labor, and director, Office of Management and Budget

Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

David Stern, commissioner, National Basketball Association

Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, National Football League

Harold E. Varmus, president and chief executive officer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Nobel laureate

John W. Vessey, former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

William H. Webster, partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy; former director, Central Intelligence Agency; former director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Steven Weinberg, director of the Theory Group, University of Texas; Nobel laureate

Mary Jo White, partner and chair of the litigation department, Debevoise and Plimpton; former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

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