Enhancing regional preparedness is a national priority, especially in light of lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Planning for and preparing to respond and recover from natural and human-caused incidents requires that areas overcome inter-jurisdictional challenges and leverage opportunities to do more with less. The application of professionally recognized standards and the development of a robust exercise program are two evaluation methods that, if implemented together, would assist regions in identifying inter-jurisdictional issues and assessing preparedness. The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) recently conducted a pilot assessment of the National Capital Region. As a result of project evaluations, EMAP has developed a five-step assessment methodology to help multi-jurisdictional areas, urban and rural, identify emergency management capability shortfalls and opportunities, benchmark progress and identify strategic priorities.