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Radical Islam: “An Escalating Threat”

This article by John Powers addresses the escalating threat posed by radical Islam and the safe havens that support the movement.

This was originally written as an Op-Ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author.


An Escalating Threat

“We have ignored warnings of serious threats before that resulted in extreme consequences. The 1930’s are a good example. In many respects the current threat of radical Islam is much more serious as it could easily become irreversible if we fail to act decisively.

“The reason for such a dire prospect is that the number of safe havens that serve as centers for recruitment appear to be multiplying exponentially. Forty years ago, radical Islam seemed fairly limited and the threat was mainly in the background until the bombings in 1983 (Beirut Embassy) and 1993 (World Trade Center). Today, the numbers of recruits flocking to ISIS is a bit frightening and is best viewed as an indicator of the rate of growth of this threat. For perspective, we only need consider the damage done by Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen prior to his death in 2011 to understand the potency of these safe havens.

“Radical Islam was not seen by most as a serious threat until al Qaeda brought down the twin towers and the Taliban took over Afghanistan. While the Taliban was not welcomed by the majority of Afghanis, little was done until it was believed that Osama bin Laden was offered sanctuary there.”

Download a PDF of the full article here.


All Hands Consulting Completes Several Projects

COLUMBIA, MD – August 6, 2012 - All Hands Consulting (AHC), a leading provider of emergency management consulting services, has completed several projects recently as part of a busy 2012.  The balance of 2012 has many exciting projects on the books.

Despite the sluggish economy, the business of preparing for emergencies goes on. So far, 2012 has been an exciting year of steady work for AHC. All Hands consultants kept busy working with many returning clients and a few new clients. Our client list has grown to over 150 while our team of consultants has climbed well past the 1,100 mark.

We successfully built several large teams of very qualified consultants to staff national exercise and planning programs as well as response teams who are standing by to respond to catastrophic disasters. This includes a cadre of disaster responders for support to FEMA’s Individual Assistance Technical Assistance program and other federal, state, and local deployment contracts for Incident Management Teams and surge capacity for training and exercise deliveries. More…


Looking for a Job in Emergency Management?

We know that the economy is bad: Budgets are being reduced, grants are being cut, and competition is fierce.  We assume that many in the All Hands Community may be looking for work and we want to help.

All Hands Consulting tries to help place as many people as possible but we have grown to over 1,000 consultants and there is no way for us to keep everyone busy.

We often get requests to either help fill jobs or to share information about job openings.  We often do this on our various lists but we do not want to load up general mail lists with job announcements.  For that reason, we focus on sharing job openings on a mail list designed for just this purpose: The Emergency Management Employment Yahoo! Group at EmergencyManagementJobs. If you are looking for a job, I would encourage you to join this list.

Another great resource for job seekers is the IAEM Job Board – you should check the board often.  Steve Detwiler keeps up a steady stream of job postings there along with a few others.

Finally, I would encourage networking as it seems to be the best way to find out about opportunities.  Feel free to join our social media efforts as well. A complete list of our accounts are on the web site.


Steve Davis, All Hands Consulting



Steve Davis Interviewed on Program Evaluation

All Hands Consulting President Steve Davis was recently interviewed by Professor Wendy Combs for a graduate level course on program evaluation for Drexel University. Students who are pursuing a certificate in homeland
security were looking for an expert to interview on the topic of evaluation of homeland security strategies, processes and systems. Steve discussed a range of evaluation techniques from the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) to capabilities assessments and discuss the current budget environment for homeland security in general.

The interview is available at the Drexel web site:


All Hands Looking Forward to the New Year

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. I prepared the following as an update on AHC activities past, present and future.

All Hands Consulting (AHC) is ending another successful year: its twelfth since rebranding DavisLogic as All Hands in early 2000.  2012 will be the thirteenth year of operations for this unique emergency management consulting firm.  AHC is starting off the New Year with many exciting projects on the books.  The 2012 outlook is positive despite the sluggish economy and cut backs in homeland security grants.

This is the time of year to reflect on our past accomplishments and keys to success. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of All Hands including our consultants, clients and partners. Despite the recession, 2011 was a year of steady work for AHC. All Hands consultants kept busy working with many returning clients and a few new clients. Our client list has grown to over 150 while our team of consultants has climbed well past 1,000. More…


Emergency Exercise in Ohio Supported by AHC

A behind-the-scenes look at why one district did a emergency exercise to test its disaster plan.

Supported by All Hands Consulting

Video Link


Tales of Irene: Did we over react?

August 27, 2011 1100 hrs EDT (Maryland)

Hurricane Irene 2011

I have been watching Irene with interest, both as a resident of the east coast and as an emergency management practitioner.  I have been impressed with the planning and preparation so far, surprised by some of the doom and gloom, and now listening to those that think that everyone overreacted. So, I am prompted to impose my opinions on my readers once again…

The short answer to the question of overreactions is, IMHO, that it was not overreacting based on what the emergency managers had in the way of a forecast.  Hurricanes are unique, and preparedness officials are blessed, in that there is a lot of warning with tropical systems – almost too much it seems. The problem is there is not as much certainty in the forecasts as we would like. Forecast tracks change all the time and forecast strength is also seldom correct. But you need to work with what you have. More…


Supplanting – Will it be an issue in the future of preparedness programs?

As grant funds are shrinking for all but the Tier I UASIs, the issue of supplanting may come up as UASI jurisdictions discuss options for “program contraction” in light of non-supplanting requirements.

As you may know, the FEMA preparedness grant programs are designed to “enhance community emergency preparedness and participation capabilities”, not to help fund baseline programs. The common concept for grants is that they are to “supplement not supplant” local dollars. However, many communities are looking at a loss of both local tax dollars and grant funds at the same time; what are they to do? Tough decisions must be made; is the option of shifting tax-funded program activities to grants a viable one? Maybe, but caution is warranted. More…


Twitter Hashtags and Emergency Management (Includes my #Hashtag List)

While some emergency managers are embracing social media with both arms, others are still avoiding it. However, social media has emerged as an important tool for emergency managers. Emergency managers are using social media as a preparedness tool to engage the community, help with public information and as otherwise aid in dissemination of the preparedness message.  In addition, social media is emerging as an important tool for situation awareness during the response and recovery phases of an emergency.

The five phases of emergency management
The (now) five phases of emergency management

It is important, in using social media for all phases of emergency management, to understand that it is not just about Twitter.  However, Twitter has clearly emerged as the most significant platform for emergency management engagement and situational awareness.  Twitter is simple; it is a micro blogging tool which is limited to 140 characters.  Anyone can follow what anyone else has to say.  This stream of  data (the Twittersphere or Twitter Stream) can be overwhelming based on the huge volume of silly Tweets that populate the stream.  However, the use of a “hashtag” (a short term preceded by the hash or # symbol) makes it manageable.  In addition, there are many Twitter aggregators and trend monitoring websites available; these use a variety of tactics to filter out what’s important or of interest to emergency managers. Currently some better software tools are emerging which may help automate the monitoring process. More…


What People Don’t Get About My Job: I Worked at FEMA

Saw this on the web today.  What it is like to be a FEMA DAE.

I’m going to write about both my old job and my current job, because there are a lot of misunderstandings about both. 

I was formerly an employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the type of employee known as a Disaster Assistance Employee or Disaster Reservist. I am writing this as a former employee speaking about my experiences and anecdotally, and I am in no way a representative of the agency. I recently quit so I could pursue graduate school, however many people seemed to not really understand a lot about my position or what FEMA even did.

Most Americans either have an overly generous view of FEMA or think that FEMA only operates in major disasters a la Katrina. Both of these views are wrong. FEMA doesn’t come out if you have a little water in your basement or if a Tornado destroys only two houses in an entire state (usually). Conversely, just because a disaster may seem small, does not mean that it may not rise to the level of requiring FEMA assistance.

Additionally, many Americans seem to miss the fact that the agency can’t enter a state without a governor’s request, so many times FEMA’s “slow response” is actually a governor’s slow response. The agency chooses not to ever point this out because governors can become senators, and senators with grudges have the power of the purse. As for my specific position, I was called up when there were disasters and traveled to these disasters. When there were no disasters I didn’t work. For the past three years that I worked at FEMA there were plenty of disasters, so I worked most of the year. Additionally most disasters require a lot of overtime so I was able to make a healthy amount of money to hold me over while I sat at home. Other disaster assistance employees (DAEs) were not so lucky. DAEs, unlike the often vilified government employees, are not entitled to the Federal Healthcare plan, only recently began to receive sick time, and can very easily be fired (at least from a specific disaster). My relatives and friends always thought it was outrageous that I was paying out of pocket for health insurance.