Friday, April 16, 2010

Michael Brown's Pyrrhic Victory

The Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, eliminated the organizational name FEMA and all PAS positions in FEMA as constituted one day before its effective date of March 1, 2003. The statute was enacted on November 25, 2002.
The organization known previously as FEMA became the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate headed by Michael Brown as the Under Secretary. He was never confirmed in this position because of a saving provision in the Homeland Security Act that allowed prior PAS (Presidentially appointed Senate confirmed) appointees to hold positions in the newly created DHS. Michael Brown had been confirmed by the US Senate as the Deputy Director of FEMA and thus became the Acting Director when Joseph Allbaugh resigned just before the startup of DHS. We (the interested public) still do not know exactly what occurred in the bureacratic infighting over the former FEMA. We do know the newly created EP&R Directorate created huge confusion over the ending of the FEMA brand. To some degree this ended unofficially with the issuance of an important memo by Michael Brown on August 3. 2003 allowing the use of the FEMA name for the EP&R Directorate. There is however no indication that Secretary Thomas Ridge formally concurred in this memorandum and it had no legal force and effect. Thus, perhaps all actions of the so-called FEMA before FEMA was subdivided into two directorates by the 2SR reorg adopted by Secretary Chertoff require legal ratificiation. The 2SR reorg was approved in the annual DHS appropriations law but it was substantially reversed by PKEMA of 2006, effective March 31, 2007.

Copies of the FEMA name memo are available from this blogger.
And of course we now know the FEMA name survived bureacratically even though Michael Brown did not.