US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security

The Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience

The Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) first national resilience award for superior leadership and innovation by a non-governmental individual or organization who exemplifies the qualities and achievements of Rick Rescorla, emphasizing leadership in effective preparation, response, and recovery in the face of disasters.

Rescorla served as Vice President of Security for Morgan Stanley at their Headquarters in the World Trade Center. Following the 1993 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Rescorla regularly drilled his Morgan Stanley employees in disaster preparedness and response, especially evacuation.  On 9/11, Rescorla led a massive evacuation of Morgan Stanley's 2,700-person workforce located in the South Tower, saving the lives of all but six. His commitment to preparedness ensured that the 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees who worked in the South Tower knew how to evacuate and where to go on 9/11.

Eligibility and Criteria

To be eligible for the 2014 award, the nominee must be:

  • An individual, residing legally in the United States or its territories, who is not an employee of a governmental entity – including federal, state, local, tribal or territorial governments.  Volunteer first responders are eligible.  This includes firefighters, emergency medical providers, and law enforcement personnel who serve on a volunteer basis. 
  • An organization, other than a governmental entity, based in the United States or its territories.  In 2014, there will be two separate award categories for organizations, one for “for-profit organizations” and one for “not-for-profit organizations.”

The criteria for the Rescorla Award emphasize leadership and achievement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Outstanding performance during 2013 in withstanding, adapting to, and rapidly recovering from natural or human caused incidents that impact lives or property, including:
    • Demonstrable success in saving lives, protecting property and the environment, or meeting basic human needs because of outstanding prior preparation and/or extraordinary efforts during or after incidents. 
    • Outstanding leadership in assisting individuals, families, organizations and/or communities in response or recovery from natural or human-caused incidents. 
  • Outstanding performance during 2013 in developing resilience in anticipation of future incidents threatening life or property, including:
    • Motivating and assisting individuals (including those with special needs), families, organizations, and/or communities to take steps that effectively achieve resilience, for example, developing personal and community preparedness plans and organizing communities so as to promote the rapid recovery of essential services.
    • Implementing regular training and exercises that test the resilience of individuals, families, organizations and/or communities.
    • Implementing private sector preparedness, for example, developing plans for business continuity and the adoption of cyber security consensus standards and industry best practices to the fullest extent possible.
    • Exceeding existing building and other codes in the design and construction of infrastructure, including homes, office buildings, and highway bridges and tunnels.

How to Nominate for the Award

Eligible candidates may be nominated for the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience during the nomination period that begins on April 17, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. and closes on July 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m (EDT). All nominations must be submitted by email to the following DHS email address: rescorlaaward@hq.dhs.gov.

The nomination form can be found here.

Last Published Date: July 9, 2014
Back to Top