LSU Completes DHS Project

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 7:43am

BATON ROUGE – LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute research affiliates Suzanne D. Pawlowski and James R. Van Scotter have announced the completion of a two-year research project, “Optimizing Knowledge Networks in Disaster Response.” The project was conducted as part of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management.

“We hope that the insights of our research will be a valuable tool for emergency management leadership in determining how best to allocate limited resources to gain the greatest improvements in disaster response coordination,” Pawlowski said.

The final report, “An Examination of the Interdependencies among Major Barriers to Coordination in Disaster Response: Report to Disaster Management Leadership and Study Participants,” details the findings of two studies that identified major barriers to coordination in disaster response and assessed interdependencies among the barriers.

Two state directors of emergency management and disaster responders such as firefighters, law enforcement and local emergency managers from Louisiana and around the country contributed to the studies by sharing their unique perspectives, knowledge and disaster management expertise.

Based on their input, the researchers identified six major barriers to coordination in disaster response: planning, resources, training, chain of command, politics and communication. The project led to the development of a Coordination Barrier Classification Framework that incorporates information about the relative value of reducing barriers to coordination and the degree of interdependencies among the barriers to identify problem areas and prioritize potential improvements.

The final report was distributed to all Louisiana parish directors of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, participants and stakeholders across the nation. The entire report can be viewed at

Pawlowski is an associate professor and the Frederick E. “Rick” and Holly A. Wolfert Professor in Business in the LSU Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences. Van Scotter is an associate professor in the LSU Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences and serves as the advisor for the ISDS master’s degree program. Tung Cu, a doctoral student in the Department of ISDS, also assisted in completion of the project and the final report, which was published Aug. 15.

The Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business combines teaching and research to create a rich learning experience for its students. Relationships with industry and state agencies enable the department to assist organizations with issues related to innovation and technological change, as well as offer enhanced career opportunities for its graduates. Collaborative research efforts of its diverse faculty have resulted in major grants from the National Science Foundation and the state Louisiana. For more information, visit, call 225-578-2126, or e-mail

The Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, an integral part of LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, was established to help save the lives of people and animals by continuously improving disaster response management through research and education. Vision and a generous donation by LSU alumni Emmet and Toni Stephenson were responsible for the creation of the institute in 2007. For more information, visit or call 225-578-0238.


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