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Overview of the National Congress

The National Congress for Secure Communities is a joint meeting convened by partners working together to develop ways that communities can leverage private and community sectors assets to augment the local public sector response capability during the critical first 72 hours of crisis.

The Congress provides local leaders an opportunity to work together and develop plans that augment the local public sector capability with community sector assets, so that the community can survive while waiting for federal and state reinforcements.

The Congress delegates will study the National Blueprint for Secure Communities, a collection of best practices and practical ideas submitted by sector leaders from across the country. These ideas are intended to leverage the private sector and community organization assets into the local public sector response during the early hours of a crisis. Developed by CIPRR with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Blueprint is a continually evolving document, providing ideas and application templates that can be customized for any particular locale.

Each Alternate and Delegate, before arriving in Washington, DC, will have had an opportunity to participate in the development of the Blueprint by submitting their own ideas prior to the Congress. Delegates will also participate in a general session on the first day of the Congress, and help develop templates that integrate these ideas into a local community demonstration pilot. During the second day, Delegates will prepare a report on the barriers to preparedness, and recommendations for legislation that can remove those barriers.

About the General Session at the National Congress

Subject matter experts from government, business, community and media will help lead the general session. This is intended primarily to be an open forum to discuss how communities, state and local officials, the corporate and non-profit community and the federal government can use the Blueprint ideas to begin working together. Second, some barriers result from antiquated laws that prevent cooperation; and institutional cultures need to be changed to overcome a "stovepipe" mentality both in and outside of government. Lastly, more and better communication between all stakeholders is necessary. The delegates will examine not only the barriers to community security, but also the type of legislation required to overcome those barriers.

The National Congress for Secure Communities brings together hundreds of the nation's committed leaders willing to participate to help communities prepare for the critical first 72 hours of crisis.