Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Adrian Gheorghe

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Sebastian Bawab

Committee Member

Ariel Pinto


The historical roots of the Emergency Management concept in the U.S. date back to 19th century. As disasters occurred, policies relating to disaster response have been developed, and many statuary provisions, including several Federal Disaster Relief Acts, conceptually established the framework of Emergency Management. In 1979, with the foundation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), disaster relief efforts were finally institutionalized, and the federal government acknowledged that Emergency Management included mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities as abbreviated 'MPRR.'

However, after 2000, the U.S. experienced two milestone events - the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Following the foundation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002, the definitional context of Emergency Management and its phases/components, simply its essence, evolved and was incorporated into many official documents differently, creating contextual inconsistencies. Recent key official documents embody epistemological problems that have the potential to traumatize the coherence of the Homeland Security contextual framework as well as to impose challenges theoretically to the education and training of Homeland Security/Emergency Management stakeholders. Furthermore, the conceptual design of the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) which have been defined within the context of the National Response Framework (NRF) displays similar problematic symptoms, and existing urban area Public Safety and Security planning processes have also not been supported by methodologies that are aligned with the post-disaster security requirements.

To that end, the conceptual framework of Emergency Management and its incorporation in the Homeland Security global architecture should be revised and redefined to enhance coherence and reliability. Coherence in the contextual structure directly links to the system's organizational structure and its viability functions. Also, holistic multi-dimensional system representations/abstractions, which would support appreciation of the system's complex context, should be incorporated in policy documents to be utilized to educate the relevant stakeholders (individuals, teams, etc.) during the training/orientation programs.

In addition, the NRF and its ESFs should be reviewed through a post-disaster security centric focus, since the post-disaster environment has unique characteristics that should be addressed by different approaches. In that sense, this dissertation develops a Post-Disaster Security Index (PDSI) Model that provides valuable insights for security agents and other Emergency Management and Homeland Security stakeholders.