Monday, August 30, 2010

FEMA's Creation-PKEMA 2006

Okay after a fitful start in DHS as the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, FEMA was not a statutory agency again until March 31, 2007, and then stayed a bureau in DHS. What did that newly created entity consist of in law and in fact?

The statutory language is instructive:

‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (b), there are transferred to the Agency the following:
‘‘(1) All functions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including existing responsibilities for emergency alert systems and continuity of operations and continuity of government plans and programs as constituted on June 1, 2006, including all of its personnel, assets, components, authorities, grant programs, and liabilities, and including the functions of the Under Secretary for Federal Emergency Management relating thereto.
‘‘(2) The Directorate of Preparedness, as constituted on June 1, 2006, including all of its functions, personnel, assets, components, authorities, grant programs, and liabilities, and including the functions of the Under Secretary for Preparedness relating thereto.
‘‘(b) EXCEPTIONS.—The following within the Preparedness Directorate shall not be transferred:
‘‘(1) The Office of Infrastructure Protection.
‘‘(2) The National Communications System.
‘‘(3) The National Cybersecurity Division.
‘‘(4) The Office of the Chief Medical Officer.
‘‘(5) The functions, personnel, assets, components, authorities, and liabilities of each component described under paragraphs (1) through (4)."

So what actually came into the new FEMA, well the above. But what exactly existed on June 1, 2006, that was in the Directorate of Preparedness that was in existence. And first as background some very very competent people were allowed to choose between returning to the New FEMA and staying behind in the organization now know as the National Protection and Programs Directorate, headed by an Under Secretary. Remember the remains of FEMA had been further dismembered by Secretary DHS Michael Chertoff in his so called 2SR [reorganization] announced in June 2005. That reorganization became effective in October, but the key political appointee George Foresman who headed the newly split off Preparedness Director was not confirmed untl December 2005, after Congress "sort of" signed off on the changes. A new "Federal Emergency Management" directorate also became effective after the split and that was headed by the former US Fire Administrator, Dave Paulison although he was confirmed as the Under Secretary for the new directorate in June 2006. Then of course PKEMA 2006 became law on October 4, 2006 as part of the DHS appropriations act.

So let's go back and review a moment what was put in the newly created Preparedness Directorate by the 2SR?

Here is the full text of the Chertoff all-employees announcement of 2SR going forwards:
" November 14, 2005

TO: DHS Employees

FROM: Michael Chertoff /s

SUBJECT: Second Stage Review

I announced last July a future agenda for the Department and initial recommendations and changes to be implemented as a result of our Second Stage Review (2SR). As part of 2SR, a Six-Point Agenda has been created to ensure that our policies, operations, and structures are best aligned to address potential threats. One of those six points is realigning the DHS organization to maximize mission performance.

I am pleased to report that, as a result of the DHS appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2006, we have been able to move forward with realigning the Department. Organizational changes under the Second Stage Review include establishing the following:
• Office of Policy
• Office of Intelligence and Analysis
• Office of Operations
• Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
• Preparedness Directorate

In other 2SR changes, reflected in the appropriations bill, the Federal Air Marshal Service has moved from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Transportation Security Administration, and the DHS Office of Security has moved to the Management Directorate. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are now direct reports to the Secretary.

As discussed last summer, all employees have now been assigned to one of the new organizational components. With the new leadership in place, we will continue to fine tune a few assignments in the new organizations.

The accomplishments of DHS are many, and you should be proud. Whether you work in the field, at headquarters, in the United States or overseas, each of you plays a vital role in our collective success.

Through the recent hurricane response and recovery efforts, we were reminded of the scope of our mission. Challenges remain to prevent, protect against, and respond to whatever threats are on the horizon – whether they be catastrophic hurricanes or catastrophic acts of terrorism. Together, we will meet these challenges and fulfill our mission to secure the homeland.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Department of Homeland Security and to the United States of America."

Somewhere in my files I have the original proposal for 2SR but at the moment cannot find it. What is most interesting is that temptation of Chertoff to reorganize even after the events of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated a hubris and egotism that shows his lack of being in touch with reality at that point in time. The lack of solid Congressionaly review of that 2SR did not postpone the judgement day of PKEMA 2006 although it did allow George Foresman, former head of OEM for the Commonweath of Virginia to become the political head of a directorate in DHS from his confirmation in December 2005 to his resignation on March 31, 2007. He had hoped to replace Paulison as the newly created FEMA Administrator. Paulison of course was to serve until the end of the Administration on January 20, 2009.

So what does this all mean? Well for FEMA it meant that it finally had its real name back and note that the Chertoff refers to it as the Federal Emergency Management Agency in his November memo even though that was not the correct name. But hey why nit pick? My interest is what stayed behind in the rump of the Preparedness Directorate, now known as the National Protection and Programs Directorate and listed above. Of interest is that while bodies percieved as useful or not were allowed to transfer to FEMA if they wished most of the former Preparedness Directorate stayed behind. Choosing in some cases not to repeat their misery when part of FEMA. What got transferred to FEMA was in some or many cases unfunded FTE slots that FEMA just now is filling and now has the money to do so. Well so just now today, as Labor Day 2010 approaches in FEMA getting up to its authorized strength ans whether those new recruits will perform and be led competently in any new catastrophe remains to be seen.

Of course what I find most intersting is how civil servants negotiate the rapids of a reorganization or even realignment and remember in my 20 years in FEMA from 1979-1999 there were almost a dozen labeled reorganizations and several dozen realignments. The individuals that stayed behind and did not return to FEMA probably thought they had made a good decision, but wait!

It turns out that of the four listed components that follow, not particularly has thrived under my standards! Those organizations again are as follows:

I. Office of Infrastructure Protection.
II. National Communications System.
III.The National Cybersecurity Division.
IV. Office of the Chief Medical Officer.

And of course several new components were added to the remaindermen and women by PKEMA. I would argue that the orgs above listed however have not succeeded very well in DHS during their history [note some established relatively late like the statutory Chief Medical Officer] even though some have substantial staff and traditions. The bottom line for me of course and my ultimate standard is not whether organizations are large, stable, well funded but what in fact does the value added to the totality of the effort measure! The NCS of course operates under E.O. 12472 and was in reality a creation of the Kennedy Adminstration. The evolution and technical changes in the world of communications are so great that clearly a baseline redesign of a structure largely created in the 60's is necessary. Cyber Security was a principal reason for creation of DHS, and in my mind the second ranking priority of the Department. To say that the cybersecurity effort has not thrived in DHS is to make one of the classic understatements of all time. What exactly DHS and the public gets for the 200 FTE Chief Medical Officer office is opaque and unknown to me but I guess it known to some. And the Office of Infrastructure Protection remaining independent from cyber suggests that its concerns are only physical security. Well it does do more. And hey even little FEMA has crossover missions that people seem to think relate to these operations as listed. Exactly what and how FEMA and these organizations relate probably deserves some high-level consulting firm analysis as to whether needed, effective, or efficient.
So my final final bottom line on Secretary Chertoff is that like many lawyers he might be able to manage a case, even a large case, but not a orginization as large as DHS.