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Radiation Emergencies
Emergency Response:

Presidential Decision Directives

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

See Homeland Security Presidential Directives for more current information.

Presidential Decision Directives contain the President's decisions on issues of foreign policy and national security. The National Security Council (NSC) is the principal forum for Presidential consideration of foreign policy issues and national security matters.The NSC gathers facts and views of appropriate government agencies, conducts analyses, determines alternatives, and presents policy choices to the President for decision. The President's decisions are announced by decision directives.

On this page:

U.S. Policy on Counterterrorism - PDD 39

PDD 39 was signed by President Clinton on June 21, 1995. It directs federal departments and agencies to do the following:

PDD 39 assigns specific preparedness and response duties to a limited number of federal agencies based on their existing statutory authorities and response capabilities. The two most significant assignments are to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In addition, the FBI and the Department of State lead specialized, interagency teams that focus on specific types of incidents (nuclear, biological, or chemical). PDD-39 called for both Domestic Emergency Support Teams (DEST) and Foreign Emergency Support Teams (FEST). The FBI leads the DEST and the State Department leads the FEST.

EPA's Role

EPA provides technical support to the FBI and FEMA during the crisis and consequence management phases of a terrorist incident response. Our support roles and responsibilities are defined by a number of documents:

EPA assistance during responses to a terrorist incidents is the same as for non-terrorist incidents. However, we may provide it in different capacities and locations:

Full text of PDD-39

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Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas- PDD 62

PDD-62, issued by President Clinton on May 22, 1998, directs the establishment of an integrated program to increase U.S. effectiveness in countering terrorist threats and to prepare to manage the consequences of attacks against U.S. citizens or infrastructures. Lead agencies responsible for supporting the program, such as the EPA, must designate a Senior Program Coordinator who is responsible for coordinating this effort within the U.S. government. This PDD reaffirms and complements the directives contained in PDD 39. PDD 62, places specific requirements on EPA:

PDD 62 also requires each agency to maintain a Continuity of Operations Plan as outlined in Executive Order 12656. This plan must ensure the operation of essential agency functions following an attack that incapacitates headquarters facilities and key leadership. Finally, the PDD requires EPA to support security operations with specialized units and crisis management and provide consequence management for national special security events. These types of events include Presidential Inaugurations, State of the Union Addresses, Presidential Summits, and the Olympics.

Unclassified abstract of PDD-62

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Critical Infrastructure Protection - PDD 63

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

PDD-63 was specifically superseded by HSPD-7, Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection.

The goal of PDD 63, issued by President Clinton in 1998, is that public and private organizations be able to maintain continuity of the U.S. critical infrastructure in the event of a terrorist attack. Critical infrastructure includes the physical and cyber-based systems that are essential for the economy and the government to operate at a minimum level. Because these systems are highly automated and interconnected, they are vulnerable to physical and cyber attack. Examples of critical infrastructure systems are telecommunications, banking, energy, transportation, water systems, and emergency services.

Minimum operation of the economy and government includes the following:

The Role of Federal Agencies

Each agency has specific responsibilities for maintaining continuity of government operations:

Agencies also participate in the Critical Infrastructures Coordination Group created under this directive.

EPA's Critical Infrastructures Protection Plan

On April 22, 1999, EPA issued its Critical Infrastructures Protection Plan. The CIPP identifies the following critical missions:

EPA's CIPP also guides internal organizations that are critical to the Agency's mission as they plan for protecting the Agency's critical infrastructures. These include EPA's physical, information technology, emergency planning and response, and telecommunications systems. The CIPP assigns responsibility for protecting physical and cyber infrastructure to the Office of Administration and Resources Management. The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response is responsible for emergency and remedial response.

Full text of PDD-63

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Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government - PDD 67

PDD 67, issued by President Clinton in October of 1998, directs all levels of government to plan for and be able to continue minimum operations in any potential national security situation. It assigns specific, essential functions to federal agencies based on their existing statutory authorities and capabilities. Each agency must publish a Continuity of Operations Plan; support the program by maintaining the necessary planning and budgeting processes; and ensure their ability to respond during a national emergency through training, testing, and evaluation.

In addition to PDD-67, the following documents contain Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) requirements:

The Agency's COOP was approved on October 21, 1999.

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