Tip of the Day “Preparedness” How Benghazi Highlighted Getting the Right Resources to the Right Place, at the Right Time Matters

Testimony on Capitol Hill regarding the attack on Benghazi revealed there was conflict between managers and employees concerning resource requests.  I am not trying to second guess the State Department Officials because I do not have the expertise they have.  I am pointing out that trying to defend a position that is highly questionable can never turn out in your favor. Employees wanted what they believe was the right resource at the right place, in a timely manner. This is a basic logistical concept. Capability must meet the requirements.  A scenario where there is a mismatch in the resources and the requirements, can never turn out good.

When we look at Katrina in the light of history we find that people knew that the resources didn’t match the requirements of dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane.  Getting out of the area was the answer. Sometimes employees on the ground can feel that something is wrong or something bad is going to happen that they just can’t put into words. Evaluating the risks, hazards and resources to meet the challenges is key if you want your operation to be successful. This is at the heart of preparation.

Claims of preparedness will be challenged by the situation and the situation is never merciful.  The Benghazi situation tested the preparedness posture of the State Department. It tested the assumptions, the resources, and their ability to listen to the employees. When the environment changes we must be willing to change how we do things and assume we are not prepared until we examine all the issues. How can employees communicate effectively when managers don’t see things the same way? I advocate that employees need to examine and learn how to manage their superiors. No one teaches employees how to deal with this power imbalance. Employees need to get a hold on this communication phenomena before they get overwhelmed by events. Managers need to understand the phenomena before they are left to explain the unexplainable. I’d rather live to explain why I felt a certain way than have someone blame me when I am dead. If your assumptions do not hold true in the light of planning requirements and testing you are not prepared.


About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at sysmanemerconsult@aol.com. I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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2 Responses to Tip of the Day “Preparedness” How Benghazi Highlighted Getting the Right Resources to the Right Place, at the Right Time Matters

  1. Employees need to first be able to agree before they question management. A group only has power when it shares one voice. Once the voice start to multiply unite dissolves in the noise. The masses are controlled because they can’t agree on what they want; making it easy to divide them. I don’t believe in questioning leaders; I believe in having faith in leadership. A great leader will encourage the whole to remain whole, not watch them fall to pieces. Thought provoking stuff….

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