Different levels of government cannot “go it on their own” on challenges that by their nature involve multiple levels, the National Academy of Public Administration has said in summarizing several areas of focus by its standing committee on intergovernmental relations.

For example, the federal government’s role in natural disaster preparedness and recovery “is well developed, and its role in the prevention of manmade disasters, such as terrorist attacks, has been evolving rapidly. The federal role in recovery from man-made disasters, however, has been primarily situational, leaving local communities to figure out what assistance might be available or who to contact for help.”

“There is obviously a need for a more carefully defined intergovernmental structure and a system developed for the reimbursement of local governments for recovery-related expenses,” a posting on the Academy’s site says.

As another example, it said that rebuilding infrastructure “requires more than just money. It requires a collaborative intergovernmental system to reduce overlap and duplication of regulation and service delivery and to facilitate decision making.” It cited the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as an example of a successful collaboration in that area.

It also cited Medicaid, jointly financed and operated by the federal and state governments, as a program requiring high levels of coordination.