The National Academies

ACRP 04-30 [Pending]

Identifying and Developing the Core Capabilities of an Airport Emergency Management Program

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 18 months
Staff Responsibility: Edward K. McDonald III


Airports must manage all-hazards events, which occur from time to time. Airports should be proactive in addressing the needs for the development and implementation of Emergency Management (EM) frameworks and core capabilities to build preparedness. As airports move toward the establishment or expansion of their EM initiatives, they should understand airport organizational designs of EM, training needs, guidelines, and requirements in the development, implementation, and sustainability of EM core capabilities. Airports should consider opportunities to explore lessons learned from airport case studies and examine interdependent industries and related disciplines with emerging risks to identify commonalities and variances. This project will assist airports in establishing and maintaining their EM programs through and standardized approach of continuous process improvement.


The objective of this research is to develop a guide of standardized core capabilities. The core capabilities should include EM-specific benchmarks tailored for the airport EM function for airport sponsors and its stakeholders to continuously evaluate the strengths and opportunities in the development or improvement of a comprehensive EM framework. The report shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Aviation-related regulatory requirements to identify key priorities in the development and implementation of airport EM programs. Explore if there are any existing or projected correlation between governing body guidance and its impacts on EM funding.

2. An analysis of effective practices utilized in other interdependent industries (e.g., transit, hospitals) and related disciplines. Develop a comparative analysis to identify commonalities and variances between industry practices and how they may translate to airport EM.

3. How practices are conducted by interdependent industry EM practitioners.

4. An analysis of EM implementation strategies, objectives, and actions

a. Performance metrics,

b. Process improvement,

c. Operational measures, and

d. Organizational reporting structure and budget capabilities of EM.

5. A summary of impacts of supporting agencies and partners categorized by airport sponsorship type.

6. A list of EM-specific training needs.

7. A list of other EM performance capabilities.

8. A list of recommended airport-specific EM core capabilities and associated performance functions for fulfilling them.

9. A tool on how to assess the current state of EM programs, determining strategies, activities, and Planning Organizing Equipping Training and Exercising (POETE) EM elements.

10. A summary of case studies that at minimum examine and provide:

a. Organizations had an existing emergency management function prior to the event,

b. Incident After Action Reports highlighting gaps, corrective actions taken and best practices that emerged,

c. Organizations had an integrated preparedness plan and training and exercise plan,

d. Organizational support to develop initiatives and strategic plan specific to EM was established,

e. A trend and comparative analysis of gaps between operational performance and EM functionality, and

f. How organizational buy-in was attained to address the need for an emergency management program.


The research plan should include deliverables, for ACRP and panel review and approval, that include at a minimum:

  • A data collection plan.
  • A Technical Memo summarizing interviews of airport EM practitioners (or persons with similar responsibility) and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) specific to EM programs that may translate into general and airport-specific capabilities, including any specific associated tasks (e.g., utilization of metrics, dashboards, Emergency Operations Center, funding). 

The research plan should also include checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum:

1. A kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed, and

2. One face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.

3. (a) A Summary of Key Findings; (b) a Further Recommended Research Memo; and (c) a technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”. 


STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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