Failing to secure ourselves: governing failure within emergency exercises

2015-03-06T12:08:35Z (GMT) by Chris R. Zebrowski
This paper is essentially about how, with resilience, failure is turned into a condition for knowledge production. On the one hand (as with Critical Infrastructure Protection) it is the accident that reveals the form of (critical infrastructure) systems whose exact architecture no one knows (or cares to know) until, in the wake of a failure, we are compelled to fix it. On the other hand, failure becomes a ‘learning opportunity’ which rather than revealing the precariousness of a system, becomes an important factor in building and maintaining resilience. For this reason we explore Preparedness Exercises as a technique of governance used to both simulate and generate failures in order to gain feedback on plans, train emergency responders and build UK resilience. Failure is integrated into emergency governance. The final section of this paper reflects on the implications of this for critical resilience scholarship. How do we, with respect to our ‘critiques’, not become implicated in the production of resilience when failure becomes an integral part of governmental design processes?