From floods to fires, tornadoes to terrorist attacks, governments must respond to a variety of crises and meet reasonable standards of performance. What accounts for governments’ effective responses to unfolding disasters? How should they organize and plan for significant emergencies? With fifteen adapted Kennedy School cases, students experience first-hand a series of large-scale emergencies and come away with a clear sense of the different types of disaster situations governments confront, with each type requiring different planning, resourcing, skill-building, leadership, and execution.
Grappling with the details of flawed responses to the LA Riots or Hurricane Katrina, or with the success of the Incident Management System during the Pentagon fire on 9/11, students start to see the ways in which responders can improve capabilities and more adeptly navigate between technical or operational needs and political considerations.