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CNA has conducted supply chain resilience after-action analyses in the wake of numerous natural disasters, as well as preparatory supply chain analyses for emergency management agencies planning for natural disasters. Here we summarize the results of six CNA studies on lifeline commodities for Puget Sound, the California Bay Area, locations affected by the 2017 and 2019 hurricane seasons, and a FEMA project involving 11 locations. Maps based on CNA geospatial analyses of regional food, fuel, and water networks illustrate the studies.

CNA is a nationally recognized research and analysis organization with a 76-year record of impactful work in the areas of national
security, homeland security, and emergency management. Since 1999, CNA has supported local and state clients with emergency
management services, with a particular focus on preparedness activities such as assessments, planning, and exercises, as well as the
provision of disaster support. Over the past five years, CNA has pioneered the analysis of regional food, fuel, and water networks and
the analysis of the supply chains of other lifeline commodities to support emergency management planning and operations. Our work
in these areas has been featured in presentations at the Big City Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management
Association conferences. In this paper, we present selected highlights of our recent supply chain analysis work.


To address commodity flows in the Puget Sound region, CNA led a project for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Risk Management Center through the National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS). CNA developed the Supply Chain Operational Engagement (CNA SCOPE™) method to identify bottlenecks in commodity flow networks and determine effective options to address flow disruptions during disasters that affect large urban areas. CNA conducted a comprehensive literature review that examinedfor a cluster of grocery distribution centers in the Puget Sound region existing methodologies and approaches to analyzing supply chains and commodity flows. We identified the most relevant methodologies and then customized them, creating a scalable analytic framework to characterize commodity networks for food, fuel, and water, as they operate during steady‑state conditions in the Puget Sound region. CNA collected opensource data to substantiate these flows and identified specific concentrations of supply sourcing, volume, velocity, and demand.

We vetted the framework with DHS Region X, state and local emergency management in the state of Washington, and private-sector stakeholders. To validate our network characterizations, flow maps, and analytic findings, we worked closely with the private sector in the Puget Sound region, including the fuel industry (terminal operators), the grocery industry (Albertson’s, Kroger, Costco, UNFI), and water utilities (Seattle Public Utilities, Tacoma Water, City of Everett).

Next we assessed the grocery network under a disaster scenario and conducted a public/private exercise to identify likely bottlenecks that would constrain commodity flows and options for exploiting remaining capacity at surviving bottlenecks. Through these efforts, CNA provided the Puget Sound region with a significantly enhanced understanding of food, fuel, and water networks and flows across the region, their vulnerabilities to disruption, and cooperative planning actions that industry and government can undertake to enhance overall system resilience. For DHS, CNA produced a scalable analytic framework for assessing food, fuel, and water supply chains, ready for application in other high-risk regions, that can enhance its understanding of lifeline supply chain networks and the operational support that DHS may provide to enable continuity of commodity flows during disasters.

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  • Publication Date: 11/19/2019