Friday, April 11, 2008

A New Direction for FEMA?

Not sure what to think about this:

Federal emergency management grants will require state and local agencies to spend more money on planning, and less on acquiring resources and attending exercises, said FEMA's preparedness coordinator for the Pacific Northwest.

The agency believes states and localities have reached a point of exercise overload, according to Patrick Massey, division director and federal preparedness coordinator for FEMA's Region 10, which covers Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Therefore, more emphasis will be placed on emergency response planning and citizen preparation when FEMA dishes out funds.
Depending on what they mean by "planning," this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If it means, for instance, working closely with the private sector, then I think it's good (because there's not enough of that). But if it means developing planning documents for a comprehensive set of potential disaster scenarios, then I'm not so excited.

One thing: Don't give up on exercises. They're part of the planning process.

But the following seems frankly bizarre:
Massey also warned against focusing homeland security efforts only on external threats. Pointing to the fall of the Roman Empire, he said societies ignore internal risks at their own peril. Indeed, the message that homeland security encompasses internal threats too -- such as the national debt, the trade deficit, unfunded pensions and global warming -- was a popular one at the conference.
These are certainly significant issues for the nation, but this sounds like mission creep to me. Are we suggesting that DHS should be involved in heading off, say, another Great Depression? How in the world would that work?

Or how would DHS or FEMA get involved in global warming in a substantive way that the Department of Energy or the EPA wouldn't be?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Region 10 Directors comments are absolutely laughable!

FEMA, since taking over the National Preparedness Directorate that it fought so hard for since it's inception as the Office of Domestic Preparedness under the DOJ and later, DHS, has once again proven to be inept, incapable and wholly incompetent.

Funding for many key programs, which was allocated when the Federal budget was finally passed earlier this year, continues to languish as the bureaucrats in the contract office move at glacial speed to complete their appointed duties.

Several of these awarded but as of yet unfunded programs have been described at various times by members of the Adminstration, Congress and FEMA's vaunted Diretor and Deputy Director's as "vital", "critical" and "the cornerstone of our nation's preparedness".

There is absolutely no need for concern over wether or not FEMA will expand it's mission - as was demonstrated during Hurricane Katrina, and is still evident today, the Agency is incapable of effectively performing it's current mission, let alone being prepared to take on an expanded role.