Appendix H

The “Ready Center” Concept1


Elizabeth G. Boulton, PhD

Ready centers are envisioned as whole-of-society crisis planning centers that specialize in short-notice integrated risk assessment and response planning during a 4-hour to 30-day time horizon. The driving underpinning logic is to prepare people and systems for chaos. The hypothetical name ready center establishes the center’s key aim of being “ready” while avoiding the confusion associated with acronym use. Ready centers could operate at nested local, state, national, or ecoregional levels.

Best-practice approaches developed within the fields of disaster response, emergency services, or military planning would inform the development of rapid hyperthreat risk analysis methods. A specific capability that is envisioned as being needed is a “red-flag” service, whereby meteorological and other environmental intelligence agencies (e.g., water catchments or coastal monitoring) have the capacity to issue a red flag notice if they identify trends or phenomena of concern that may fall outside established norms or peer-reviewed scientific research. A red flag notice would precipitate ready centers undertaking rapid analysis.

Permanent staff would be required to run training courses in such methods for agencies and community members typically involved in disaster or emergency response, including meteorological and other environmental intelligence agencies, emergency services, logistics and transportation services, government officials, and medical experts. A suite of possible high-risk scenarios and contingency plans for response would need to be developed, and simulated training exercises would need to be conducted to test and improve response capability.

This would also involve the production and maintenance of simple publications and online resources that ensure common language and understanding for various subject matter experts and the rapid assembly of multidisciplinary analytical and planning teams. Finally, ready centers would need to potentially provide an institutional home for rapid response or ready reaction forces with niche specialist skills outside normal emergency services agencies, such as deployable crisis planning, logistics, and communications expertise.


  1. The concept for a ready center, of which the driving undepinning logic is to prepare people and systems for chaos, is explained in greater detail in Elizabeth Boulton, “Submission 47: Senate Inquiry into Implications of Climate Change for Australia’s Security” (paper, Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade References Committee, Parliment of Australia, Canberra, Australia, 2017).



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