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Designing a Resilient Social Networking and Public Participation System (SNAPPS) Open Access

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been plagued by poorly managed disasters throughout its history. As the Agency has evolved, it has adopted the use of better technology to enhance its missions. Hurricane Sandy represented a shift in technology adoption and community engagement for FEMA. With the rise of social networking communications and the technology adoption by the majority of Americans, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have had successes and challenges with the integration of these new channels of communication for operational purposes. FEMA is mandated by law to use the policy and procedures outlined in the National Incident Management. This framework is an all-hazards approach to government disaster response, regardless of complexity, size, and type. The framework is designed to provide guidance to support local, regional, and national jurisdictional levels of large-scale response. There is minimal guidance specifically on the government use of social media and other collaborative technologies to enhance mission performance.To address the gaps in both literature and the National Incident Management System, this dissertation presents the Social Networking and Public Participation System (SNAPPS) model for government response to large-scale natural disasters. This model is derived from an in-depth analysis of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) response during Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest recorded storms in American history. New design standards, positions, and measures of effectiveness are introduced to enhance the existing National Incident Management System. The SNAPPS concept of operations considers the broader issues of privacy, network security, and non-social media users.Using systems engineering and organizational cybernetics, FEMA's use of the National Incident Management System is systematically analyzed using the Viable System Model. The effectiveness of the large-scale disaster response and integration of social media and other collaborative technologies are evaluated through the lenses of emergency management, information management, crisis communication, and resource coordination. Data from literature and government after-action reports are used to develop a baseline viable system model for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Sandy in New York and New Jersey. From a system-of-systems perspective, the national, regional, and local jurisdictional levels of response are analyzed and evaluated to attempt to determine organizational strengths and weaknesses associated with the operational integration of social media. The SNAPPS model contributes to the existing body of knowledge in organizational cybernetics and systems engineering research in operations for large organizations. The SNAPPS concept of operations makes implications for the integration of government and community-based technology, competency-based workforce, and vital infrastructure enhancements toward the National Incident Management System.

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