The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

October 15, 2013

Danville alum Egli goes ‘Beyond the Storms’ in new book

DANVILLE — Imagine not having access to an ATM for a week due to a power outage, not being able to get in touch with loved ones because communications systems were down and bare shelves at grocery stores as the result of a catastrophic event.

These are realities happening more and more frequently as a result of  natural disasters and man-made disasters, Dane S. Egli writes in his new book “Beyond the Storms: Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience.”

“We need to move beyond the storms and reactionary impulse,” said Egli, a 1975 Danville High School graduate who lives in Colorado and serves as homeland and national security adviser of the applied physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and also teaches graduate students there in the Carey Business School and Whiting School of Engineering.

“Beyond the Storms takes a unique approach to disaster management and emergency planning. The significance of preparedness is based upon economics because our maritime trade, industry supply chains and private commerce depend directly and indirectly upon the resilience of our critical infrastructure sectors — where local and regional businesses operate. … And revenue is generated for cities, neighborhoods and families,” he said.

Egli will sign his books from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 21 in Danville’s Thomas Beaver Free Library.

According to Amazon.com, “This book will help a new generation of leaders understand the need for smart resilience amidst unprecedented uncertainty and complexity.”

“If planes fly into buildings, we develop a TSA to find box cutters and nail clippers that doesn’t make us more secure,” said Egli, who pushes for a new way of thinking, or smart resilience, on local, regional, state and national levels.

A retired Coast Guard officer who speaks throughout the country, Egli said the publisher approached him about writing a book after seeing a report he wrote. He wrote the report the summer of 2012. Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast in October 2012 and publisher M.E. Sharpe contacted him in November 2012.

Since then, Egli, 55, has written a report titled “Facing the Storm” on how to implement his ideas.

He believes his book will be of value to the general public, as a graduate school textbook, used by local and regional planners to develop an approach to collective action and as a strategy guide on national and state levels for homeland security.

We need to change from thinking “this won’t happen to us to a new posture where we must be prepared for that what is certain and inevitable,” he said.

Elgi, who spent two years working on counterterrorism at the White House under President George W. Bush, wants people “to view resilience as not an abstract theoretical issue but as a practical and essential part of how we understand our environment and that we can no longer continue to rely on others — the government and FEMA — to bail us out of the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and the intensity and persistence of man-made crises — terroristic attacks, domestic shooting, cyber attacks or pandemics.”

Infrastructure in the country is aging and has been eroding underneath us since World War II, he said. “We lack a coordinated fiscal legislation strategic plan. We have underinvested in the infrastructure,” said Egli, who received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Danville Area School District Alumni Association in 2010.

He said three events influenced him the summer of 1972 that set him on the career path he took. “I didn’t fully understand these until I wrote the book,” he said. They were Hurricane Agnes flooding Danville and the area which “brought us to our knees economically and forced us to depend upon one another. I witnessed first-person community resiliency,” he said. The second event was Watergate, which fragmented the government, and the third event was when Israeli athletes were captured and killed by terrorists during the Munich Olympics.

“What this country is facing now is governmental chaos that is not helping address systemic issues of facing persistent terrorist threats among us from a lone wolf single attacker to radical extremists and the mentally unstable,” he said.

A globalized economy and expanded technology can cause a small event anywhere to have a cascading, amplified devastating impact on a wide region, he said. “Our systems are highly inter-dependent,” he said.

The good news is that this has made us more efficient, more transparent and faster, he said. “The bad news is the same systems are far more vulnerable because those who seek to harm have the same access,” he said.

A son of Harold and Connie Egli, of Riverside, he is retired after serving 33 years with the Coast Guard. He served as senor adviser to the combatant commander at NORAD/US Northern Command in Colorado. He holds master’s degrees from George Washington University and the National Defense University and a doctorate from the University of Colorado-Denver in public policy with a concentration in homeland security.

Egli’s book will be available Nov. 10 at Amazon.com. The forward was written by Adm. Thad Allen, principal federal officer for the Hurricane Katrina response and national incident commander for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Others endorsing the book are Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Afghanistan; Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser; and Adm. James Loy, former commandant and deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Gov. Tom Ridge.

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