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Improved Web 2.0 Strategy for FEMA to Enable Collaboration and a Shared Situational Awareness Across the Whole of Community

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Master's thesis

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA has adopted a Whole of Community approach to emergency management, and seeks to enhance emergency management outcomes through improved preparedness, response and recovery efforts. The significant amount of time and money required engaging disparate partners, technological and cultural barriers to interoperability, and a lack of trainingfamiliarity with each other inhibits the collaboration necessary to achieve a state of shared situational awareness. A lack of shared situational awareness results in an incomplete operating picture, which complicates decision-making and can lead to inefficient preparedness, response and recovery activities. This thesis explores the terms situational awareness, shared situational awareness, collaboration and common operating picture. It argues that a common operating picture is a state of shared situational awareness achievable only through the process of collaboration, which can be greatly enhanced through a comprehensive Web 2.0 strategy. The thesis reviews FEMAs current strategy for Web 2.0, and using a structure of appreciative inquiry and successful implementations of Web 2.0 as a guide, proposes strategy adjustments for FEMA. A comprehensive Web 2.0 strategy can foster a culture of collaboration, which will significantly increase FEMAs ability to achieve enhance emergency management outcomes and support the Whole of Community. FEMAs strategy has applicability throughout the homeland security enterprise, as all agencies therein seek a state of shared situational awareness reflected in a common operating picture, and all are considered part of the Whole of Community.

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  • Administration and Management

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