Wednesday, October 5, 2011


PKEMRA 2006 effective fully on March 31, 2007 is not a statutory charter for FEMA. It helped stabilize the toying with that DHS component to some degree. But it also in reality granted little new authority to do anything to FEMA and largely imposed more administrative requirements.

Some of its definitions are quite interesting. One follows:
"the term ‘‘surge capacity’’ means the ability to rapidly and substantially increase the provision of search and rescue capabilities, food, water, medicine, shelter and housing, medical care, evacuation capacity, staffing (including disaster assistance employees), and other resources necessary to save lives and protect property during a catastrophic incident; . . ."!

This concept and definition appear nowhere in previous FEMA delegations or chartering statutes. But it is of great interest! Why?

Typically for each Governor any routine or catastrophic disaster is a "Come as you are Party"! This is the case no matter right or wrong. The theory of course [of the Governors] is that you can get away with this operational concept because the federal government will supplement your efforts with whatever you need. The federal government may or may not do this depending on whether a federal disaster or emergency is declared. Efforts to improve mutual aid and even interstate aid through EMAC and other concepts have been deterred because of uncertain funding. It would be helpful if the federal government presumed that all the governors were competent [they clearly are not] and would automatically trigger STAFFORD ACT financial assistance whenever EMAC is triggered. You might say well then the Governors are being given a blank check. In fact however they are not because it is the supplying states governor that has to agree to deployment of his/her state assets and only after the requesting governor agrees to reimbursement of the supplying state. So if the feds automatically reimburse the supplying state perhaps that state will have an incentive to deploy state assets to his/her neighboring states. In fact that is ridiculous. States are too jealous of their resources and uncertain as to what may occur while their states resources are deployed out of state to view federal reimbursement as an incentive to deploy unnecessarily.

When EMAC was signed into law and even before I argued in OGC FEMA for an automatic triggering of federal financial assistance but was of course again a loser in that advocacy. I still believe it was the correct position and believe Congress should trust the governors deploying their critical state assets out of state to make the critical call backed by federal assistance.

By the way EMAC started as a National Guard policy intending to facilitate interstate humanitarian deployment [not law enforcement] of NG asset!