Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HS/EM Generally

Okay a new group of Governors takes over by the middle of January, 26 to be precise. Post 9/11/01 many STATES decided to create another bureacratic organization when they created Homeland Security offices or some such. Always remember that in 26 states the head of EM is in fact the STATES National Guard Adjutant General, or STARC! Well time for confusion to end. Just as I have advocated that the Vice President of the US become the key crisis management official I now advocate that all STATES should standardize and make their LT. Governors a key official. Oddly in some states like the US originally, the LT. Governors don't have to be the same party as the Governor. This creates farce and mischief and problems for both COG [Continuity of Government] but even delegation and operational problems. A reform would be to have the Governor, LT. Governor, and STATE Attorney General all the same political affiliation. Why the STATES don't take more serious organizational constructs is amazing to me but perhaps the fact that they are at an almost all-time low in competence and actual capability makes one wonder why these "laboratories of democracy" will linger much longer other than as vestiges of a Constitutional construct that no one takes seriously any longer.

That stated NEMA (National Emergency Management Association) has put out a new EM/HS handbook for the new governors. Will try and make it available when I can access it. I am not a member of NEMA for various reasons and note for the record they welcome new members, as does IAEM (International Association of Emergency Managers)!

To my mind it is looking more and more likely that the new Governors will soon be screaming for direct revenue sharing as it now appears that civil servants in some states are starting to relocate just for the reason that salaries will be cut, staffing will be cut, and the prospects of actually recieving a promised pension is becoming almost non-existing. Well perhaps NEMA and IEMA could produce a guide to the officialdom of each state, with current salaries and other benefits including pensions. Then of course could rank them based on job prospects. Or even more important on capability.

By the way GAO has finally caught on to the notion that FEMA has not and will not develop and administer assessment tools on state capabilities. Thus, you could argue that relying on STATE self-assessment, meant the FEMA got what it deserved when it was blamed in part for the failings of the STATE of Louisiana in Hurricane Katrina ops.

I informally assess the entirety of the EM cadre in the US at less than 10,000 and hoping some academic studies this component of governance more closely. The members of this profession are definitely part of the "resilience" of our federal system so they should be given more dignity at least by comparison and analysis.

Eric Holderman in a recent post on Disaster Zone points out that even before the elections a majority of EM STATE Directors had less than 3 years experience. I pointed out in a comment that this was precisely why Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress created in 1950 for the federal civil defense program the requirement that either the STATE Director or Deputy Director of Civil Defense be a civil servant.

Well to the victor goes the spoils! The problem of course is that the victor in EM is often MOTHER NATURE.