Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA) Program Launch

We want to congratulate the recipients of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA Program). This program provides funding to local, state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions of various types, sizes, and capabilities to improve their ability to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex coordinated terrorist attacks.

As communities have now received their funding and begin to think about implementation, Hagerty has a few tips based on our experience assisting communities on this topic around the nation.

#1: Think Beyond Response, Throughout All Phases of the Life Cycle

Look at CCTA as a complex issue that spans from prevention to recovery.  After having done extensive research on past CCTAs and related best practices, incidents teach us that some of the biggest lessons learned do not come from what we conventionally think of as “response”.  It is issues that present themselves in recovery and prevention that often are identified as things that were not considered until after the incident.  Think big picture, imagine the threat in a way that homeland security efforts have not fully addressed in the past.

Hagerty has developed a life cycle approach to a CCTA.  This approach spans across five phases of emergency management and looks at the critical tasks that need to be considered to establish a robust and capability. We encourage communities to establish a similar framework or contact us to discuss how we developed these capability targets and critical tasks.

Active Threat Lifecycle
Lifecycle of an Active Threat Event

#2, It is a Program, Not a Project

Hagerty has seen success in approaching CCTA not as “one-off” projects for single disciplines, but as an integrated program.  A programmatic approach allows for CCTA planners to fully address the complexity of the issue through a coherent, progressive series of events and planning activities that build whole community competencies. This approach also maximizes the return on investment through leveraging resources toward specific competencies as defined objectives.

In CCTA more traditional approaches to emergency management may not be adequate to address shorter operational periods, the need for immediate action by non-traditional responders, the inevitable surge of mutual aid, a need for effective incident management across several locations, activation of immediate human response and recovery services (such as reunification, family assistance, and witness management), quelling of rumors over social media, donations management, victim compensation, and short-term economic recovery that add layers of complexity. These are only a few examples demonstrating the value of program that looks to build competences through events and planning activities across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.

The CCTA program is an incredible opportunity to galvanize the whole community in emergency preparedness, and through our previous work in this field, we know that programs like the CCTA Program help strengthen readiness across the community and stakeholder groups for a dynamic and unfolding emergency incident.  Maximize your return on investment through thinking and managing a multi-year, inclusive program, not a one-off project. Hagerty has worked with communities building programmatic approaches across a spectrum of engagements, from community outreach campaigns, assessments of capability, planning, and exercises of every size.

Hagerty's Work Infographic
By the Numbers: Hagerty’s Active Threat and CCTA Work

#3, New Stakeholders, New Opportunity

Out of approximately 250 projects in the past 24 months, we have found no subject motivates stakeholder participation like CCTA.  Not only that, but we have seen a high number of non-traditional response stakeholders genuinely at the table looking for guidance and we feel this to be one of the greatest opportunities with the CCTA program.

New stakeholders have included venue managers, shopping malls and other retail, religious figures, community-based organizations, schools, universities, cultural centers, and primary care providers of all types (e.g. hospitals, doctors, urgent care). Through our integrated engagement model, we have seen tremendous opportunity, fresh perspective, and new capabilities.  What is more, once you advance engagement around CCTA, it is easy to transition to further engagement in other areas of emergency preparedness and homeland security.

Hagerty Can Help!

If you received CCTA funding from FEMA or, more generally, have interest in engaging in activity around this threat, please contact us.  We want to help, we are passionate about engaging this threat and advancing higher levels of preparedness around the nation.  David Schuld, the lead for the Active Threat Portfolio, can be reached at 202-360-7526, or via email at
david.schuld@hagertyconsulting.com.


David Schuld leads Hagerty’s Active Threat Portfolio, and supports public safety agencies and their public and private sector partners consider preparedness activities across the full life cycle of an Active Threat Event, events that include active shooter, vehicular attacks, bombings, and complex coordinated terrorist attacks.   He has successfully managed numerous active threat related projects across the United States, and has supported develop thought leadership in the field of active threats.  His earlier professional experience includes working as British Government’s Crisis Management Adviser for the United States, where he managed teams that were addressing emergencies across the country and the world.