What Is Silver Jackets?
Silver Jackets teams are interagency teams that facilitate collaborative solutions to state flood risk priorities. The state-led teams bring together multiple state, federal, and sometimes tribal and local agencies to learn from one another and work together to reduce risk from floods and sometimes other natural disasters. By applying their shared knowledge, the teams enhance preparedness, mitigation, and response and recovery efforts. The state or territory sets the priorities, with each agency member supporting the team using its own programs and resources within the constraints of available budgets and agency authorities.
The first pilot Silver Jackets teams were formed in Ohio in 2005 and Indiana in 2006. Since then, 54 Silver Jackets teams have formed in all 50 states, four territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands), and the District of Columbia. The intent is not to duplicate existing teams but to supplement and strengthen current efforts and establish collaborative relationships where they do not yet exist.
No single agency has the complete solution, but each has something to contribute. The state Silver Jackets teams are the forums where all relevant agencies come together with the state to collaboratively plan and implement interagency solutions. Through partnerships, teams optimize the multi-agency utilization of federal resources by leveraging state/local/tribal resources, including information, talent, and funding, while preventing duplication of effort. Leveraging the expertise, programs and perspectives of multiple agencies can result in more comprehensive and cohesive solutions.
Team focal areas vary as state priorities vary. Activities range throughout the flood risk management lifecycle and promote shared responsibility. Team activities have included state hazard mitigation plan updates, inundation mapping, tabletop exercises, development of emergency action plans, risk communication workshops, and coordination of perishable data collection, and many others.
Although each state Silver Jackets team is unique, common agency participants include state agencies with mission areas of hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain management, or natural resources conservation. Federal participation typically includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, as well as the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, among others. Some teams include membership from Tribes and academic institutions, regional and local government, and non-governmental organizations.