About the Center for National Preparedness

Our country’s response to the events of September 11, 2001, has been formulated around four guiding principles. Prevention must be the first priority, as any catastrophic loss of life represents an unacceptable failure of policy. Prevention requires effective diplomatic policies, border security, and surveillance systems. Protection is the second principle and includes not only military vigilance but also measures to ensure the health of our population, the security of our critical infrastructure, and the continued operation of our cyber networks. If prevention and protection prove insufficient, then Response is critical, employing properly trained and equipped professionals at the local, state,and federal levels. Recovery is the final principle. Key components of critical infrastructure must be restored as quickly as possible. More importantly, organizations that deal with homeland preparedness must learn from terrorist attacks and use that knowledge to enhance the Prevention of, Protection from, and Response to future events. This multi-layered approach to homeland security mandates thorough preparation, tremendous expertise, and cost-efficient implementation. The University of Pittsburgh – as well as the academic community more generally – is uniquely positioned to address these issues.

The Center for National Preparedness is a broad, multidisciplinary, collaborative enterprise that engages the University’s scientists, engineers, policy experts, and clinical faculty. Members of the Center possess expertise in biomedical research, public health, medicine, national security policy, engineering, and information technology. The Center synthesizes efforts in place in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and the Schools of Engineering, Information Sciences, Law, Medicine, and Nursing. Research, education, and training are the foundation of this enterprise. The Center communicates the innovative research of the University’s faculty to the broader public through the educational and training programs in which students, policymakers, and other interested parties participate. The Center supports research and applications that are directed at the University’s numerous constituencies. The Center contributes to local, state, and national preparedness:

  1. At the federal level, the Center provides expert advice and assistance to the Department of Homeland Security, other cabinet agencies and associated organizations, critical elements of the intelligence community, and key policy makers as they formulate a national homeland security strategy.
  2. At the state level, the Center provides professional training and expert assistance to State and local governments in critical skills, such as cyber security, public health surveillance, nursing, and EMA/Fire/EMS training. Representatives from the Center also are capable of raising public awareness of the homeland security challenge through seminars and informational briefings.
  3. Recognizing that a new generation of public authorities, community leaders and experts must be prepared to succeed in the post 9-11 environment, the Center is structured to provide assistance at the community level through a multi-tiered system of formal education (Certificate through Doctorate level) in disciplines that enhance national preparedness.