September marks the eighth annual National Preparedness Month. This month encourages Soldiers, families, and civilians to prepare for emergencies at home, at work and in their communities. Preparedness is a shared responsibility it takes a whole community. This year, in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks, we remember the past as we prepare for the future.

In January of this year, the Secretary of the Army established the Army Protection Program (APP). The APP functions as the over-arching leadership framework to synchronize, prioritize, and coordinate protection policies and resources. Strategically, the APP expands program oversight, ensures senior leader accountability, and improves risk-based decision making.

The Army will field three systems that will improve the ability of Army commands to prepare for and respond to an emergency. Within the Emergency Management Modernization Program, these systems include a common operating picture which allows commands to effectively exchange emergency information mass warning and notification so commanders can quickly warn the population of emergencies and enhanced 911 which utilizes the telephone number and address of the caller to decrease overall emergency response times.

Protecting the lives of Soldiers, families, and civilians is of primary importance to the Army. Emergency preparedness is an essential component of protection. National Preparedness Month promotes improving emergency preparedness skills in anticipation of a disaster no matter where it may strike.