Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bigger But is it Better--FEMA?

According to the BUR [Bottom up review published last July] this is FEMA's current on-board personnel strength:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
A blended workforce of 16,590 with 4,200 permanent, 3,390 temporary and 9,000
reserve employees Headquarters and Supporting Resources (1,988: 1,539 perm; 382 temp; 67 reserve)
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center (837: 669 perm; 166 temp; 2 reserve) National Emergency Training Center (NETC) training facility (243), includes:
Emergency Management Institute (EMI) (58 perm; 15 temp; 9 reserve)
National Fire Academy (NFA) (110 perm; 1 temp)
Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) training facility (50 perm) Regional offices (10) and Area Offices (3)
Region 1 (100 perm; 17 temp; 570 reserve)
Region 2 (107 perm; 10 temp; 608 reserve)
Region 3 (101 perm; 14 temp; 519 reserve)
Region 4 (156 perm; 91 temp; 1311 reserve)
Region 5 (126 perm; 17 temp; 439 reserve)
Region 6 (126 perm; 85 temp; 912 reserve)
Region 7 (97 perm; 58 temp; 446 reserve)
Region 8 (89 perm; 20 temp; 433 reserve)
Region 9 (126 perm; 22 temp; 473 reserve)
Region 10 (97 perm; 15 temp; 585 perm)
Texas Transitional Recovery Office (1 temp)
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office (1 perm; 485 temp)
Mississippi Transitional Recovery Office (276 temp)
Disaster Reservists (9,000) Disaster Support Resources
National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) (1)
Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) (10)
Federal Coordinating Officers (FCO) (1 perm; 37 temp)
National Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) (2)
Regional Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) (4)
Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Detachments (6), each comprised of:
MERS Operations Centers (MOC)A-3
Incident Response Vehicle (IRV) capability Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicle (MEOV) capability Forward Communications Vehicle (FCV) capability
Logistics Distribution Centers (8)
Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (MDRC) (60)

The information available to me is that the totals of personnel in all categories as of January 20, 2009 were under 9.000.

Assuming the BUR is correct what are the implications of this array? First FEMA is bigger than in any time in its history. Second. what training and background -education, training, On the Job experience and does this cadre have now not tomorrow?

FEMA definitely needed to expand from the under oath testimony of Harvey Johnson that the day before Katrina landfall FEMA had on board less than 1500 FTEs.

I have studied FEMA's budgets rather closely over the years. I find no evidence of funding in the budget for the numbers above so can only assume that the much is funded out of the President's Disaster Relief Fund.
Prior to FEMA's existence both OEP (WH) and then FDAA (HUD)were authorized to spend 5% of disaster outlays on administrative costs including personnel. In 1982 Chairman Boland of the House Appropriations Committee required FEMA to bring on budget a portion of its disaster personnel costs. This was a huge change as you might imagine. FEMA now had to plan ahead.

So it is interesting to speculate on what personnel costs, organizational costs are now off budget again and who has review that system and how those costs are allocated.

Perhaps at some point the DHS/OIG and/or GAO will provide information adequate to inform the Congressional Committees and interested members of the public. It should be easy to document needs post-Katrina. By the way I have never seen a formal delegation from the Secretary DHS to FEMA to the various Gulf Coast states FEMA Recovery Offices and wonder if such exists?