The National Preparedness Goal is "a secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk."

The National Preparedness Goal describes five mission areas — prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery — and 32 activities, called core capabilities, that address the greatest risks to the nation.

Prevention - Prevention includes those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism. Unlike other mission areas, which are all-hazards by design, Prevention core capabilities are focused specifically on imminent terrorist threats, including on-going attacks or stopping imminent follow-on attacks.

Protection - Protection includes the capabilities to safeguard the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters. It focuses on actions to protect our people, our vital interests, and our
way of life.

Mitigation - Mitigation includes those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. It is focused on the premise that individuals, the private and nonprofit sectors, communities, critical infrastructure, and the Nation as a whole are made more resilient when the consequences and impacts, the duration, and the financial and human costs to respond to and recover from adverse incidents are all reduced.

Response - Response includes those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred. It is focused on ensuring that the Nation is able to effectively respond to any threat or hazard, including those with cascading effects. Response emphasizes saving and sustaining lives, stabilizing the incident, rapidly meeting basic human needs, restoring basic services and technologies, restoring community functionality, providing universal accessibility, establishing a safe and secure environment, and supporting the transition to recovery. 

Recovery - Recovery includes those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively. Support for recovery ensures a continuum of care for individuals to maintain and restore health, safety, independence and livelihoods, especially those who experience financial, emotional, and physical hardships. Successful recovery ensures that we emerge from any threat or hazard stronger and positioned to meet the needs of the future. Recovery capabilities support well-coordinated, transparent, and timely restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of infrastructure and housing; an economic base; health and social systems; and a revitalized cultural, historic, and environmental fabric.