“FEMA will not save you,” said Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
While simmering beneath the surface since the inception of DHS, this debate over FEMA’s location bubbled over recently when raised publicly by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The congressional tug-of-war that continues over jurisdiction paralyzes DHS with organizational uncertainty. Until the agency settles and becomes familiar with an established organizational chart, it will not effectively and efficiently serve the American people.
Today, the White House announced that Craig Fugate, the State of Florida’s Emergency Management Director, has been selected by President Obama to lead the nation’s lead agency for emergency management, FEMA. All of the individuals who were being considered would do a great job as FEMA Administrator, but the President has made his pick and it’s a good one.
FEMA can only be moved out by legislative fiat and it is unlikely that any bill would clear all the hurdles to get to the president’s desk as a stand alone measure. That means it would have to go in omnibus legislation. Leadership likely won’t do that without a go ahead from 1600 Pennsylvania.
Today’s New York Times features a letter to editor from the US Senate’s Homeland Security Dynamic Duo, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I/D-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) responding to the New York Times November 24th editorial calling for the removal of FEMA from DHS. As the Chair and Ranking Member of the US Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs the two have formed one of the most productive and cooperative relationships in Congress.
There is an outstanding column by Jonathan Walters of Governing.com discussing the state of FEMA and its performance during two recent major disasters. His commentary focuses on why there has not been a lot of mention of late about the Agency and its responses to these incidents and the important role that state and local governments play in working with FEMA.
Every organization, regardless of whether it’s in the public or private sector, has its forward-leaning parts. In those parts of the organization, they often operate with three key factors in their operational culture – they foster an open dialogue with multiple parties; they willingly engage the public; and have operational transparency. But then there are […]
A significant reorganization like the one proposed by Elaine Kamarck at Harvard would effectively set back FEMA two to four years in terms of defining lanes of responsibility and building the relationships that make an organization work. It is an rearrangement that might look good on the white board of a classroom or a Power Point slide, but it is a rearrangement the nation can’t afford.