Crisis strategy: Gov. O’Malley on taking charge

Martin O’Malley “The day after the attacks on 9/11, we didn’t know when the second shoe was going to drop.” With the three terrorist attacks on three sides of his city, former Baltimore Mayor — and, later, Maryland Governor — Martin O’Malley needed to take action to protect his city.

“I vowed that we were going to make our city a leader in homeland security,” O’Malley said. Finding no guidance from the federal government, he contacted his former mentor, Colorado Senator Gary Hart. Following Hart’s advice, O’Malley assembled his own Baltimore security cabinet. He brought together experts from key entities in Maryland, who helped identify the greatest risks and actions to take to mitigate those risks.

O’Malley explained to Robert Shea, Grant Thornton Strategy principal, the concept of the principles developed by the cabinet: “We crafted 12 core capacities that we sought to build up every day, in every way — from interoperable communications to a biosurveillance system to hospital surge capacity, which has become very much the talk of this pandemic.

“They were there to help us every day to improve the health, well-being and security of our citizens.”

Watch “Firsthand lessons learned in a crisis” for more on taking charge in times of crisis.

For more on leadership before and during a crisis, see Crisis leadership: Gov. O’Malley’s 4 questions, Crisis management: Lessons from Gov. O’Malley and Crisis inspires innovation, per Gov. O’Malley. See “Is the CARES Act enough?” for highlights of the federal response to COVID-19.


Robert SheaRobert Shea
Principal, Strategy
T +1 703 637 2780