Friday, July 30, 2010

Profiles-The Independent FEMA-Acting Director Robert Morris

There was no Senate Confirmed Deputy Director of FEMA under its first Director John Macy. The position was an ES Level IV-the same as the four principal Associate Directors and held the longest by Robert Morris, Jerry Jennings, and Harvey Ryland. Michael Brown was also confirmed as the Deputy Director of FEMA, but never as the Director. A rather complex statute entitled the VACANCY ACT substantially revised in 1998 and designed to prevent the Executive Branch denying the Senate its perogatives to Advise and Consent to certain high-ranking appointees by having Acting Heads of Agencies or even subordinate positions for more than 120 days except in the first year following a Presidential election the statute's enforcement is left to GAO. Other than using RECESS APPOINTMENTS, having individuals not confirmed to a position act in that position is one way the government continues to function without breaking stride. Under the VACANCY ACT the independent FEMA, when it had a Deputy Director, that person was the designated First Principal and acted when the position of Director was vacant or when the incumbent was incapacitated. Oddly its most important impact maybe on the so-called COG program, Continuity of Government and to my knowledge I was one of the few in government that understood its possible impacts on COG. COG will be discussed later on this blog.

At any rate, Robert Morris was confirmed as Deputy Director of FEMA in the first REAGAN ADMINISTRATION, and was living evidence that Director Guiffrida did not control who the political appointees were in FEMA under a counterpart clearance rule. In other words, if the President's White House Personnel shop sent over a name that was it. Helene Van Damm later Ambassador to Switzerland was REAGAN's first personnel director and she established the rule ratified by the President that NO civil service personnel would rise to a political appointee position under REAGAN. Several senior civil servants, unaware of this bright line test, had wanted to become FEMA Director, and of course Dr. Robert Kupperman's campaign for that job has also been discussed.

So why discuss Morris at all. He was a classic liberal northeast Republican, once owner of a specialty steel company that went bankrupt, and also a one time defeated candidate for Congress. He actually came to his FEMA job from a position as head of the Minority Business Enterprise Office in the Department of Commerce. No comment on a WASP having that job in the first REAGAN ADMINISTRRATION. At any rate upon his confirmation and arrival, Director Guiffrida put out the word that no one was to include Morris in meetings or even engage in anything other than polite conversation. Since the Director and Deputy Director's offices adjoined clearly this dictum was enforceable and was enforced.
When Director Guiffrida, departed unwilling and under a cloud in the summer of 1985, Robert Morris became acting Director of FEMA and that lasted just long enough to prevent me from being the GC of FEMA, perhaps. He selected as the career Deputy GC Spence W. Perry who returned from ICAF when the GC was also fired, and Spence was confirmed as the civil service SES in the OGC the following summer. At that point in time the GC job was a career reserved position. Morris stayed as Acting Director until Julius Becton was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in the first week or so of November 1985. In interviewing for the Deputy GC job which in fact was for the GC job Morris asked me what clubs I belonged to. When I said none I knew that litmus test for being a REPUBLICAN in mufti I failed miserably. Well the bottom line is I am not a joiner. Although when Director Guiffrida announced that anyone who was a member of GREENPEACE would lose their security clearance I told the GC that I was going to join as fast as possible. Actually held a clearance for 27 of 34 years of federal service.
Robert Morris' 15 minutes of fame was not up however, because when Director Becton was asked to resign in June 1989 for crossing up with the White House Chief of Staff on Nuclear Power issues, Seabrook specifically, Morris again became the Acting Director of FEMA. Little did he know that the long gap in large scale disasters for FEMA throughout most of the eighties was about to end with the advent of Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta Earthquake. FEMA did not perform well in either of these two events but hey the organization was rusty after a long dry spell.
Then in late spring 1990,Jerry Jennings was confirmed by the Senate as Deputy Director, and MORRIS trundeld off into retirement in New Mexico. Actually, Morris was a gentleman and well meaning but unfortunately as is often the case the nicest people that are appointees are often the most incompetent. Study that issue you public administration scholars. Morris was heavily criticized at least twice for following the instructions of Senator Robert Byrd for declared disasters in W.VA and being too generous to someone from the opposite party. Well we all make our choices.

Jerry Jennings was to be Acting Director for less than 120 days. And Harvey Ryland was never Acting Director. Michael Brown service as Acting Director of FEMA I am uncertain about. All PAS [Presidentially Appointed Senate Confirmed Positions] that existed in the independent FEMA, a total of eleven (11) ended when abolished effective March 1, 2003 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002.


I am hoping that there is some theme to my FEMA history. Several friends have suggested a book but that is not in me for many reasons. I do, however, hope to leave some tracings on this blog before FEMA disappears as an entity within the Executive Branch. A growing likelihood despite the wishes of some past and present. This blog will hopefully explain why that disappearance is possible.

Long before the creation of FEMA three Executive Orders issued in the 1950-1970 time-frame were to generate problems for FEMA Directors and staff for a number of reasons. Executive Order 10450 still unamended and in existence deals with personnel security issues which have already been blogged about on this blog. It is a sign of the incompetence of the Democratic Administrations that have existed since the issuance of that order that it still exists and has not been revised. Its existence indicates that the 'Secrecy' issues identified by deceased Senator Daniel Patrick Monyihan in his book by that name still pervade the Executive Branch. And of course the issue of who gets a clearance and why is still crucial to the success or failure of many Executive Branch organizations and their contractors.

I will be blogging later about the term in office of FEMA Director James Lee Witt, but based on the TREFRY BLUE RIBBON PANEL report available from the FAS website he was able to reduce the number of cleared personnel from over 1800 to less than 1/2 that number in Clinton's first term. FEMA for many reasons, including that reduction, operated more successfully under Director Witt than ever previously. Ah but the seeds of disaster are sometimes sown in a success but more on that later.
The other two Executive Orders that influenced FEMA's fate were E.O. 10480 and E.O. 11490. The first concerned delegations of the Defense Production Act and the second the Emergency Preparedness assignments of the entirety of the Executive Branch. The length of time these two Executive Orders existed is a tribute to the foresight of their drafters. E.O. 10480 was finally repealed by E.O. 12919 issued in June 1994 and still extant. E.O. 11490 was finally repealed in November 1988. The Plan mentioned was the Presidential issued OEP Emergency Preparedness Plan of 1964. That plans evolution into the National Response Framework that currently exists has been described in part on this blog. That evolution is probably a book length story of its own, and is not further discussed here.

It suffices to state that close examination of the FEMA role as stated by implication using OEP in E.O. 10450 as compared to that specifically of FEMA in E.O. 12919, and the same level of comparison of E.O. 11490 as opposed to the FEMA described role in E.O. 12656 indicates that an independent Executive Branch agency, created by the Democrats, and tenous relationships with the White House had much less drafting clout and clout generally than did a EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE WH OEP.

FEMA in its formation, the Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 was largely defective on the FEMA portfolio that did NOT involve disaster relief and interaction with the STATE and LOCAL governments. This too will be addressed over time. But it is enough to state that merely granting clearances and access to personnel on a need-to-know basis was not adequate to develop staff with the sophistication and understanding of the modern National Security State. There were some major exceptions which I could name but will not at this point. The influence of personality and events coincided to deprive FEMA of the skilled organizational leadership necessary to compete on any basis from policy making to operations that was necessary given the fact that the agency was largely understaffed and underfunded for its variety of missions the entirety of its years as an independent Executive Branch agency-April 1979-March 2003. The stove-piping within FEMA meant that bureaucrats were free to compete in the absence of the deeply competent leadership necessary to avoid such competition. In many ways I believe leadership is about uniting to achieve organizational objectives, while disunity and competition seemed to rage through much of FEMA's history.

Whatever, the drafting losses however FEMA inflicted on itself or were inflicted upon it by other organizations, it is now approaching two decades that E.O. 12919 has been in existence. Comprehensive changes were provided the WH in 1996 that have never appeared. And now a new drafting round appears to be in progress. That order is in reality a delegation of DPA authority and no longer a much wider scope mobilization order. And over two and one-half decades has seen E.O. 12656 withstand the test of time no matter how inadequate its provisions. There apparently was some effort after 9/11/01 to redraft that order but they were abandoned for many reasons including the desire to ensure that the Carter-created FEMA wither further on the vine.

Perhaps as a parting shot will mention that even the OEP 1964 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN has despite a brief resurgence as the FRP [Federal Response Plan-1992] and the National Response Plan-also withered. The civil agencies are not prepared for their role in catastrophes as will be discussed further on this blog, but it should suffice that GAO has stated on the record that DOD preparations for WMD are inadequate and the DOJ OIG has stated on the record that DOJ has not a clue as to what to do in a WMD event.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Profiles-The Independent FEMA Directors-Wallace E. Stickney

Wallace E. Stickney was the first and only FEMA Director to have been a long service civil servant for the US government. As a Professional Engineer, the only FEMA Director with that background he had risen to a GS-14 position in the Boston Regional Office of EPA. Like many his official residence was actually New Hampshire with its lower taxes. His neighbor in New Hampshire, Governor John Sunnunu became the White House Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush. Stickney had become Secretary of Transportation in the state under Governor Sunnunu. One "accomplishment" was to authorize ABC stores to be built on New Hampshire Interstates. Much interstate traffic goes to Maine through New Hampshire with its low taxes and "Live Free or Die" motto.

George H.W. Bush was sworn in as President on January 20, 1989 having served 8 full years as Ronald Reagan's VP. Stickney did not get sworn in as FEMA Director until August 1990 and arrived to find that Jerry D.Jennings had been Acting Director since May 1990 having come from the Selective Service Administration. He also arrived to find Anthony Lopez, as Associate Director for National Preparedness, and Grant Peterson as Associate Director for the State and Local Programs Support Directorate. He also arrived to find the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station licensing hearings still underway being held in Manchester, New Hampshire. He also arrived just after Saddem Hussein had invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and it was unclear what the US response, if any would be.

First, like all the other FEMA Directors, Stickney enjoyed the job. His first public utterance to the staff was that he would "never" call the WH Chief of Staff to bother him with a FEMA issue or request. That probably indicated the actual political sophistication of Stickney but not in a positive way. Inability to communicate with the WH had led to the downfall or ineffectiveness of FEMA leadership in the past as evident by these posts. The first and only Doctorate received by a FEMA employee, writing about FEMA issues was received from Virginia Tech by Dr. Melissa Howard, PhD in pubic administration. Her these concluded proximity to the WH was the lodestar for FEMA Directors. Professor Richard Sylves of the University of Delaware and myself wrote a published article "FEMA's Road to Homeland Security" that reached the conclusion that FEMA was much more of a Presidentially driven organization than Congressional. In fact in my 20 years with some exceptional incidents, FEMA despite reporting to 88 Committees and subcommittees did not receive much oversight and certainly much effective oversight. Even GAO and FEMA/OIG largely ignored the broader issues that might have led to a more effective and efficient FEMA. Stickney also arrived to find that the fall-out from the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Hurricane Hugo from fall 1989 were still reverberating around the Executive Branch and Congress. FEMA had been "led" during those events by Acting Director Robert Morris, who had been in charge since late June 1989 after the departure of Director Becton. Morris had also led FEMA from July 1985 to November 1989 when Julius Becton was sworn in as Director, FEMA.

In the fall months Stickney occupied his time learning the systems and processes of FEMA. By the time it appeared that the US would be entering into a military effort to dispossess Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, Stickney had been made fully aware of the rivalries and tensions within FEMA. One initiative of Director Becton followed by a series of table tops in the fall of 1990 led Director Stickney to issue his most important decision in the form of a memorandum to all employees on January 24, 1991, subject "FEMA's Emergency Response Readiness"! This memo resolved the question of what plan in FEMA was the all-hazards plan and to be followed for any incident/event requiring FEMA's consequence management. Unfortunately, the plan was issued completely only in May 1992 and in late August 1992 Hurricane Andrew made landfall. An historic hurricane by any standards, it was a clearly documented Category 5 and delivered that categories expected devastation. In fact a degree north in Florida, and a degree west in Louisiana and Miami would have been devastated and NOLA probably would not have been around for the fated encounter with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The Federal Response Plan and its history has been discussed elsewhere on this blog, but its adoption in May 1992 was a milestone. What did not happen is that its full implementation by training and development of SOP's and other systems had almost no time to occur before the arrival of Hurricane Andrew. It has now been revealed that Stickney, himself, declined to be the master of disaster in ANDREW with historic consequences for FEMA when the Secretary of Transportation was assigned the Senior Federal Official role in Florida and he of course became the Chief of Staff through the first term of the George W. Bush Administration. Card was not endeared with this assignment to him and of interest when he departed the George H.W. Bush Administration received credit as the "master of disaster" by the outgoing President.

In general the Stickney years were marked by few substantive initiatives except that the Becton effort to define FEMA's response role was continued. Unfortunately, the tension over how operational FEMA was to be was not resolved nor has it yet been. Is FEMA the safety net for other Executive Branch organizations that cannot do their assigned crisis management tasks? See my post on FEMA-To Be or Not To BE!
One final insight was his attempt to make sure that he was in fact allowed to continue as Director under President William Jefferson Clinton. That did not happen and all Republican appointees were swept out of office. But I find it interesting that he liked the job enough to try and retain it as long as he could. ruu

FEMA Docs posted on FAS website

I continue to post new entries from time to time on the FAS (Federation of American Scientists) website that can be accessed by clicking on FEMA HISTORICAL Docs at top of homepage on this blog. Some probably seem irrelevant at the moment but hopefully in good time all will understand why I needed them in a convenient location with a URL and also to assist other researchers.

Much more needs to be done but hoping to do that over next few months.

Undocumented Workers?

Okay, the Arizona partial TRO has prompted this posting. I have not read nor yet found the entire opinion of the Court. The TRO was in fact not for the entirety of the statute and crucially in my opinion upheld one key aspect of the Arizona law. This was a prohibition on communities that establish so called "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens. Some in last three decades have included El Salvadoreans who fled a civil war largely caused by US policies in Central American internal relationships. In only one instance has the US actually given federal sanctuary to the refugee population of a nation-state-CUBA.

Why is this so important?  Just after graduation from college in 1964 I had the good fortune to spend most of the summer before entering law school in Europe. Total expenditure under $800 including Icelandic Airlines ticket. That trip went from JFK to Gander, Newfoundland, to Iceland to Shannon Airport, Ireland to an airbase in Scotland to Brussels. Well a long trip on the Super Constellation with all four propellers thankfully turning. A wild trip after the attendants distribute free booze they had "captured" at Gander.

I traveled that summer with two twin brothers, one a classmate/roommate from Lehigh and his fraternal twin a graduate of STANFORD. A wealthy aunt had funded the use of a SIMCA rental and gas for the summer. I was allowed to tag along. We visited Amsterdam on part of that GRAND TOUR. Stayed in a woman's Christian temperance hotel/hostel very clean very very cheap. No booze allowed and no women allowed. During the visit to that city, I insisted that we find and visit the house where ANNE FRANK had hidden during most of WWII with her family. I had read the Diary and they had not. Not sure if the movie had yet been made but maybe. At any-rate in those days there were no lines, no shrine like worshipers, just a house.

When we went into that house and looked around and saw the false wall, I began crying, and of course was asked why by my traveling companions? Little did I know I would be visiting Dachau in the fall of 1968. Another story. At any rate the more I read the more I realize how much more the US could have done to save many Jewish refugees both before, during, and after WWII. But ANNE FRANK crystallizes the immense loss of that talented people from the face of the earth forever. Even now while there might not be collective guilt, the occurrence of the HOLOCAUST shadows US today an the UN Treaty on Genocide is a must read for all.

Okay so what does that have to do with a primarily FEMA blog? Well at the end of the Carter Presidency the Mariel Boat-lift occurred as Castro decided to let a large outflow of Cubans flee to the US. Why has never been quite determined. An interesting statistic IMO and unknown to most Americans is that well over 80% of Cubans would be considered black in the US based on custom and ethnicity with that awful test of the old south still pervasive. One drop of black blood and you announce that fact and many consider you black. Is President Obama black or white? My guess if he marries a white woman, no Presidency ever. And a truly black President not for another hundred years. Racism is open and blatant still in the US. My point about the Cubans is more simple. Of all the refugees that have fled Cuba since Castro's takeover in 1959 over 80% are white. Note also the Mariel boatlift also included over 25,000 Haitians.

After the Mariel Boatlift, another strange episode for the newly created FEMA, for once I tried to help that underfunded and understaffed and poorly resourced agency through the back door. I followed the Judiciary Committees activities rather closely as the senior litigator for FEMA for almost a decade. When those Committees came around to INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] which was part of DOJ until becoming part of DHS in 2003 I followed events closely. Having several staff friends on those committees I backdoor-ed some language making DOJ accountable for MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCIES by statute. FEMA had already and still had the ignominy of being accused of having secretly built camps for immigrants. Eventually a plan called "Distant Shore" was created and a formal mass immigration annex was written and scheduled for incorporation into the FEDERAL RESPONSE PLAN as I retired in October 1999. That never happened apparently and now most of the INS functions are part of DHS. So I understand there is a new plan and hoping all in DHS understand that a MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCY could well be around the corner. Washington now realizes it will not be Cubans once Castro has died because of many factors. Although all Cubans know life in the US would be an improvement but only if you have supportive relatives or connections. And as we tighten the border with Mexico we continue to propel forwards the likelihood of another Mexican Revolution with perhaps 20 million people migrating north for food, jobs, safety and security.

I have seen the plan name for the new MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCY PLAN but have not read it. When I stumble on it will post.

Good luck DHS if a mass migration occurs! Prompted by politics or natural hazards.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Profiles-The Independent FEMA Directors-Julius Becton

Retired 3-star Julius Becton arrived at FEMA after confirmation in early November 1985. His most recent employment had been as head of the OFDA in AID. OFDA is the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. While there he had transmitted a proposed MOU with FEMA for provision of technical assistance in foreign disasters. No response had been received. After being sworn in General Becton requested that his staff find out what had happened to the requested MOU from OFDA. It could not be found. General Becton then had OFDA transmit a new version which he then signed as the FEMA Director. This was a very useful MOU to both agencies but of course in essence both ends were signed off by General Becton. I use this example to indicate that General Becton did have some savvy about bureaucracy and of course knew that important documents, often crucial to FEMA's survival, often got lost. In fact one of the things that often characterized FEMA in my 20 years is that written direction from the WH was often ignored. Not so under General Becton. In fact however, General Becton reported to the WH through the Attorney General, Edwin Meese throughout his time as Director FEMA, an arrangement that also was in place when Louis O. Guiffrida was Director, first when Meese was Counselor to the President, and then when Meese was AG. In fact it is my understanding that Meese was the official who swore into office both of these Reagan era directors.

Becton inherited an organization that was in cultural shock from the tenure of General Guiffrida. His calm demeanor and in general willingness to listen to his senior civil servants was a welcome change from the prior Director, at least for the civil service personnel. To some extent he operated as a Flag Rank does in the military with essentially adopting a Chief Executive Officer who was both guard dog and filter for issues and policies. Nonetheless he did have a common touch. He stopped by my office once and commented on the framed ARCOM on the wall and took the time to read it. He brought over from OFDA Ms. Heidi Meyer, who became defector policy Chief of Staff although not operations Chief of Staff. Ms. Meyer was a Navy Nurse, reserve, and her husband was a political appointee in DOD, Admiral William Meyer, retired. He held the health portfolio in DOD. The Chief of Staff that served the longest under General Becton was William Tidball, who had acted as RD in several regions in his career and was a well respected SES in FEMA for his disaster operational experience. More about Bill Tidball later in this series.

I could argue that smoothing feathers ruffled by General Guiffrida was General Becton's primary job, both intra-agency and inter-agency. But that would be unfair since some very substantive activity occurred under General Becton.
First, the final drafting and issuance of Executive Order 12656 replacing E.O. 11490 from 1969 occurred. The new order was issued on November 18, 1988. Also of significance was the passage and enactment of the Robert T. Stafford Act on November 23, 1988.

Internally to FEMA however General Becton led the first and last major effort ever conducted in FEMA to determine whether FEMA was an operational agency, and if so the scope of those operations and needed systems support. This was the FEMA Capability Assessment led by Dr. John Powers, PhD and probably the outstanding staff work of my 20 years in FEMA. It revealed of course the fact that the President's Reorganization Project Team had not a clue as to the importance of resolving the FEMA role in operations, and its role as federal safety net when other Executive Branch organizations could not do their assigned jobs. Unfortunately, this issue is still unresolved in the new FEMA but at least since Hurricane Katrina their has been more and more recognition that most federal agencies lacked the interest and skills and funding for their preparedness roles that would allow competent performance in various civil crisis situations. Perhaps the exception is HHS and their efforts have been largely driven by  statutory mandates. The T&I Committee in the House of Representatives still has no clue at to the importance of resolution nor has any administration in the last two decades, although an operations focus was clear during the Clinton Administration, under Director James Lee Witt. He was the principal beneficiary of General Becton's work. The intervening Director Wallace Stickney had his good points but events were to audit his failure to address this policy and practical issue.

General Becton had the misfortune however to serve as Director during the height of the struggles over the licensing of Shoreham Nuclear Power Station and the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station. The latter ended General Becton's tenure when John Sunnunu (sic) became White House Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush and was given one position to fill and that was the FEMA Director job. The former Governor of New Hampshire and General Becton according to sworn testimony before NRC licensing boards had a number of phone calls about Seabrook. Interestingly, General Becton was never informed and did not know how anti-nuclear General Guiffrida had been. Throughout Becton's service the Armed Services Committee in the Senate still confirmed the FEMA Associate Director for National Preparedness and oddly enough that Directorate did not house the Federal Civil Defense Program which was housed in the State and Local Programs Directorate.

Another oddity of Becton's service was that his departure in June 1989 was to be followed shortly by the occurrence of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in California and Hurricane Hugo in the U.S. Virgin Islands and S. Carolina which indicated how rusty FEMA had become from lack of a major catastrophe during the Reagan years. It would have been interesting to see how FEMA operated in such events under General Becton.
Post-FEMA of course, General Becton for 18 months had the thankless task of trying to head the D.C. School system. Unfortunately, he failed to understand the depth of outright corruption in that system and his do-good efforts were not well received. Despite everything, next to James Lee Witt's long and successful tenure as FEMA Director, General Becton kept FEMA going as an organization and agency when its very survival as an Executive Branch organization was threatened by both the WH and NSC and even OMB. The issuance of the next to last NSDD [NSDD-259 (1987)]concerning Civil Defense making that program administratively all-hazard was also an achievement.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Role of the Olympics in FEMA History

Perhaps surprisingly the history of FEMA has been both before and after its incorporation into DHS severely impacted by preparations and events at various Olympic Games. I was stationed outside of Munich and watched as the Germans (Federal Republic of Germany) prepared for the summer 1972 Olympic Games including asking the American Military to be totally evacuated from Munich prior to the GAMES. This included the US surrendering a newly completed Army Field Hospital in MUNICH.

Well upon my return to the STATES I became one of millions who observed the events at the Munich Games of the summer of 1972. I was exactly 30 years old. Jim McKay's over 24 hour news coverage of the terrorist attacks resulting in the deaths of the Israeli athletes will always be etched in my mind and all who were witness to that broadcast and event. So what does this have to do with FEMA?

Well FEMA believe it or not had a role in domestic terrorism planned for it by the beginning! What you say? That can't possibly be the case. Was there some right wing conspiracy to place FEMA into law enforcement? No the culprits were the Governors, particularly California's Governor Ronald Reagan who were worried for a variety of sound reasons in my opinion that domestic terrorism needed federal assistance to allow the states to govern. The NGA (National Governors Association) conducted a lengthy study of Emergency Management in the mid-70's resulting in part in the eventual creation of FEMA. Some of the Governors had an interest in conducting/hosting Olympic Games. As a result an entire volume of the NGA study on Domestic Terrorism was devoted to domestic terrorism. As a result in both the Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and one of its implementing Executive Orders, E.O. 12148, the "consequences of terrorism" role undefined was assigned to FEMA. That was July 1979. As late as 1995 in Presidential Directive 39 under the Clinton Administration that role was again stated explicitly. So what happened in the meantime?

Well California sought and won the hosting of the Summer Games of the Olympics in 1984. General Louis O. Guiffrida, then FEMA Director had created in his major reorganization of FEMA effective fall 1981, a Civil Security Section administered by his long time friend Frank Salcedo, later the principal for EM at the Veterans Administration. Many of the personnel in that unit came from the DOJ's LEAA, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, which some believed LOG wanted to recreate in FEMA. None-the-less the unit was deployed to LA to help prepare security for the OLYMPICS.

Although denied almost to a man to the extent I have been able to research the issue, that FEMA Civil Security Team was accused by the CITY of LA of interfering with local law enforcement who then complained to the US Attorney's Office who then relayed the complaint to Main Justice. In a previous post on this blog I have discussed FEMA/DOJ relations in that time frame and I have posted documents allowing people to draw their own conclusion. Whatever the truth of the matter the LA Olympic Security set up resulted in the eventual downfall of LOG in part because of DOJ fears that led to its creation of the statutory concept of a "Law Enforcement Emergency" a term first used at Mt. St. Helens when there were more than pyroclastic flows falling out in the Pacific Northwest.

After the mid-80's FEMA was determined to keep out of law enforcement issues and even training law enforcement personnel. This no involvement, no train stance has been heavily eroded since the formation of DHS which still is line drawing its law enforcement role with DOJ. But that is a story perhaps yet to be written.

What did happen next of course is that Senator Sam Nunn began to personally involve himself in trying to understand the security arrangements for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, in which there was in fact a bombing as all know. Beginning late in 1994 he ordered his staff to begin inquiries over security management and preparedness for the Olympics. The Clinton White House even before the arrival of James Lee Witt had ordered FEMA to orchestrate domestic security arrangements for those games. This memo went directly to William Tidball, Acting Director of FEMA before the confirmation of James Lee Witt. Obviously, Bill Tidball was aware of the past disputes with DOJ and almost nothing was done to prepare for the Olympics prior to late 1994. I never knew whether James Lee Witt even knew about the assignment of FEMA to Olympic Security arrangements, and certainly not a lead role. No budget requests went forward to support that assignment, for FEMA or any other agencies. By that date all involved knew Olympic Security did not come cheap. Almost $1B was spent on the Utah Winter Games security, as an example.

Senator Nunn asked his staff to conduct informal meetings with Executive Branch personnel to be briefed on the arrangements and understand what was transpiring. FEMA sent briefers in the form of two SES persons neither of which was aware of the 1984 contretemps with DOJ. In fact neither knew of FEMA's domestic terrorism role as assigned in E.O. 12148. Remember again the the Murrah Building Oklahoma Explosion was to occur in 1995. Anyhow failing to get a straight answer from FEMA or anyone else in the Executive Branch, Senator Nunn ordered his staff to begin drafting legislation. Eventually this appeared as the Nunn-Lugar Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996, Title XIV, of the 1996 DOD authorization statute. That statute has also been discussed on this blog.

It suffices to state that the Oklahoma City Bombing did occur, FEMA funded a large part of the related law enforcement activity, basically because DOJ and the FBI had no money to fund the effort, including communications and feeding and housing paid for by FEMA, and raising the question as to how law enforcement preparedness should be funded and does the STAFFORD ACT even allow that law enforcement activity to be paid for out of the DRF (Disaster Relief Fund)?

Well in a memorandum addressed to President Clinton's terrorism lead Richard Clarke on November 21, 1996, the FEMA GC John Carey took the position that NO preparedness funding for other agencies could in fact come from the DRF or Stafford Act but then did point out that with the consent of the pertinent committees FEMA had funded its and other agencies preparedness efforts for the Olympic Games from the DRF.

That opinion failed of course to take into account any of the prior history or even previous FEMA OGC opinions that had been issued first in an attempt to divert criticism of FEMA performance in Hurricane Andrew by the George H.W. Bush Administration, essentially blaming FEMA non-performance on a legal technicality and stating on the record many times that the STAFFORD ACT required amendment to prevent future problems (which has not yet happened) and thus leaving to history and the future what FEMA/DHS will do for the next domestic Olympic games. Note however that tremendous amounts of funding were needed by the Executive Branch to support the Vancouver Winter Games, held of course in CANADA.

And did you know that the US is trying to get Olympic Games down the road?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Longevity of the Independent FEMA Directors

HEREIN ranked by longevity the Independent Executive Branch Agency known as the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY-FEMA Directors during the period that organization existed from April 1, 1979-March 1, 2003!

1. James Lee Witt;
2. Louis O. Guiffrida;
3. Julius Becton;
4. Wallace Stickney;
5. Joseph Allbaugh.

Note that Michael Brown served as the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response in the newly created DHS(administratively named FEMA after August 2003)from March 1, 2003 until September 12, 2005. Had that organization been named by statute FEMA he would have been number 4 on the above list by longevity.

The exact dates of service were published in a post on April 14, 2010 on this blog.
Please see earlier post with exact dates of service.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Profiles-The Independent FEMA Directors- Louis O. Guiffrida

Louis O. Guiffrida, a person with the rank of Brigadier General in the California Self-defense force authorized under Title 32 of the USC and different than the National Guard at the time of his nomination was the head of the California Specialized Training Institute, which still exists. General Guiffrida, as he liked to be called, was a brave man. As a young man he had fought and survived the Pacific War almost during it entirety as a Marine. Post-VJ Day at some point he left the Marines and enlisted in the US Army where he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Military Police Arm of the Army. My understanding is that he was stationed in Korea during the Korean war and in fact post FEMA ran the Officers Club in Seoul, S. Korea. His wife was at one time employed by the CIA. Quite an intellectual man despite what some assumed he was deeply interested in terrorism and was a college graduate. He gained the nomination for FEMA Director because he was personal friends with Edwin Meese, first a prosecutor in Alameda County, CA and then Attorney General under Governor Reagan in that state.

Perhaps strangely, there was a rival for the FEMA Director position. Dr. Robert Kupperman, now deceased, who had been an intern and employee of the WH OFFICE OF EMERGENCY PLANNING and then renamed the OFFICE OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS. Dr. Kupperman's political Rabbi so to speak was Drew Lewis who became Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan. Basically, Kupperman had led the Carter to Reagan transition team for FEMA and I had a several hour personal interview with him. His transition book apparently never opened by Edwin Meese or perhaps even General Guiffrida recommended that FEMA be downsized and returned to the WH. Dr. Kupperman was also considered an expert on domestic terrorism and periodically assisted Senator Patrick Leahy in holding hearings on that subject over the next decade and a half. They were friends.

I am focusing in this post on the General not on the many interesting subordinates in brought with him from California. He was readily confirmed by the SENATE and in fact wielded power in FEMA long before his confirmation. His friend Edwin Meese was Counselor to the President and then Attorney General of the United States.

Because of perceived needs to elevate FEMA as a policy making organization, and player in both federal law enforcement and national security, Guiffrida was not lacking in ambition for the agency to become a player in those arenas. That did not happen but not for want of trying.
Guiffrida was assisted by MOTHER NATURE and no land-falling hurricanes in the US occurred during the first three years of the REAGAN Administration. This had only happened once before in the early part of the Century according to NOAA records.

These posts are in part to focus on accomplishments not defeats for the various directors. In the case of Guiffrida his first success was in coordination of the EMPB [Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board] that operated pursuant to Presidential memorandum, and resulted in NSDD-47 as well as a plan as to how to mobilize the US for a variety of incidents events including conventional war. That ultimate goal was never accomplished. And NSDD-188 terminated in part FEMA's role in National Security policy making. Both NSDD's are now unclassified and available on the FAS website. NSDD-47 was the first truly all-hazard document signed off by any US President and for that achievement alone Guiffrida deserves commendation.

An oddity about Guiffrida that probably would have kept him from nomination and confirmation was that he was opposed to nuclear power and feared its dangers. The California Specialized Training Institute was located in San Luis Obispo, CA and had been created in part to teach local and state law enforcement personnel how to deal with riots and civil disorders, which had occurred under Governor Reagan, the worst being those anti-war riots at San Francisco State University. When nuclear power off-site safety issues grew to be huge in FEMA after Carter assigned it the role in off-site safety plan and exercise review, Guiffrida actually conveyed an anti-nuclear power bias throughout the highest levels of the agency. Later after his departure this almost ended FEMA's existence and resulted in the termination of one FEMA Director Julius Becton. Another story for another time.

Guiffrida also tried his best to implement the Carter policy of CRISIS RELOCATION in the civil defense program. The fact that it did not succeed is not because Guiffrida put his best efforts into making it work. It collapsed largely over the failure to control the political fallout from so-called hosting areas for relocatees.

Another major Guiffrida effort was the placement and implementation of the National Emergency Training Center in Emmittsburg, MD hosting both the National Fire Academy and the Emergency Management Institute at the former St. Joseph's College for Women campus which was purchased by FEMA and it was prohibited from locating at the campus of the former Marjorie Webster College in the District of Columbia. He was also able to encourage ground breaking programs in developing curricula in several universities of which there are now over 200 involved in that effort. His efforts to create a western training center in Carson City Nevada failed to be accomplished but again not because he did not try his best to get that center and bring it to fruition.

But perhaps the most outstanding accomplishment of Guiffrida was to consolidate the headquarters operations at 500 C St.,S.W. This allowed the HQ staff to meet each other on a regular basis and was located in an ideal position for dealing with Congress and other departments and agencies.

The vast expansion of the COG and COOP activity by FEMA also was in part to act on Carter era Presidential Directives. But this effort also was largely successive but very expensive. Guiffrida understood and pushed the notion that the President as Chief Executive also needed to be able to conduct that activity under all scenarios and that it was a distinctly different role than Commander-in-Chief. That latter role throughout the Cold War was consumed with nuclear strategy and survivability of the National Command System.

Strangely perhaps because of his service to a Governor, Guiffrida had a better grasp of the system of federalism in the US and civil military relationships than almost any Director of FEMA.

Guiffrida finally was asked to resign for a number of misdeeds known collectively as Ethics issues but the key one was his testimony before the Science Committee in the House of Representatives Chaired by Albert Gore who referred him for a charge of perjury to the Department of Justice. Guiffrida was never charged by DOJ and never prosecuted. Probably in summary except for his activities leading to his departure, Guiffrida ended up focusing FEMA on its domestic missions of disaste relief just because after his time as Director no FEMA Director tried to resurrect FEMA's interest in National Security Policy or domestic law enforcement. This probably was a good thing in the long run but also created problems for later Directors. Thus, perhaps by accident Guiffrida left a very different FEMA than the one he tried to build.

Profiles-The Independent FEMA Directors- John Macy

As readers of this blog should know FEMA was a creation of the Presidency of James Earl Carter. Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 was approved by Carter and transmitted to the Congress on May 20, 1978. Not disapproved it became effective on April 1, 1979 by virtue of issuance of E.O. 12127 (an implementation date created by an OMB staffer James Jordan who thought the use of April 1st was a great joke on FEMA and Carter). The complete implementation of FEMA came with the issuance of E.O. 12148 on July 15th, 1979. During the first months of FEMA's existence the Senate Confirmed PAS U.S. Fire Administrator, ES LEVEL V, was the acting Director while the search for a permanent director went on.

Attention focused finally on George W. Elsey, President of the American Red Cross. Elsey had been President of ARC for over 20 years at that point. He declined the appointment on the basis that he would have to surrender his many corporate board memberships, a lucrative aspect to his Presidency of ARC. He did suggest an unemployed friend who badly needed a job. That friend was John Macy. Elsey and Macy went back as friends a long long time all the way to FDR's administration when as young interns they were mentored by Clark Clifford and maintained among other chores the WAR MAP ROOM for FDR. Both men had one thing in common, uncommonly handsome men.

Macy had been a young graduate of Wesleyan College in Connecticut before he joined the new deal largely through family connections, as was typical of most new dealers except the Communists. At any rate Macy rose eventually through the ranks to be Chairman of the US Civil Service Commission, an organization that lasted until broken into three pieces by another Carter Reorganization. When NIXON came to office Macy was fired as Chairman of the Commission. Because his career was largely as civil servant or appointee, Macy who was not a wealthy man, asked NIXON if he could stay on long enough to qualify for a federal retirement package. NIXON okayed that on the condition that Macy would help Halderman and Erlicman undermine the civil service system to place Republicans in civil service jobs. This Macy did and then about the time NIXON left office he retired. He then invested his federal pension benefits in a consulting firm in which he held a partnership interest. In 1979 that firm was heavily involved in consulting for the Government of Iran--the Shah--and it was to experience a huge loss when the Shah was overthrown. Macy had been the lead in designing a civil service system for the Shah.

At any rate, unemployed and having lost his pension and other monies to the Shah's overthrow, Macy was in DC and very eligible for appointment. In the meantime the search team for a FEMA Director had been through over a dozen candidates including Elsey. Macy was nominated and confirmed in late August of 1979. He was to serve until his departure on January 20, 1981, with the advent of the Reagan Administration. He was retained by outsiders to argue that the federal civil service retirement system was too generous and should be restructured. He had not either redeposited his money to qualify nor served long enough so he was embittered over the lack of a federal pension. Subpoenaed in a case involving five Carter FEMA regional directors who sued to keep their jobs, arguing that they were not really political appointees, he had a heart attack during the deposition and was revived by two FEMA employees performing CPR. He lived about 18 months and then died from a second heart attack.

So what of Macy's tenure as Director FEMA? Well one eight ball he was put behind was to inherit all the PAS appointees from the predecessor agencies with the except of DCPA, the Defense Civil Preparedness Agencies. This was not helpful to Macy since each had their own constituency but given that the perception was Carter might not be re-elected, which of course he was not-although he came much closer to beating Reagan than many remember--it probably was the best FEMA could expect. Macy was to be confronted by the Mariel Boatlift and Mt. St. Helens, but the biggest struggle was over the core-melt accident (unknown at the time) of Three Mile Island and the transfer of offsite saftey responsibilty to FEMA at the very end of the Carter Administration. This was done by press release in part which indicates the competence of that administration.

Macy given his knowledge of civil services rules designed a new position description for generalist EMERGENCY MANGEMENT employees. Not having a technical background himself, and in fact having a healthy disrespect for lawyers in the civil service, Macy disliked intensely those with advanced degrees in science and engineering. FEMA inherited over 300 people with advanced degrees when it was formed. When I retired in October 1999 it had under 50. Macy believed everyone could do everything and the civil service 301 series was his blueprint for the EM series.

My belief is Macy was not a well man when he became Director and FEMA did not help Macy's health. That said he looked good, was enough of a leader to have a following from those he retained from the FEMA's Reorganization Project Team, and at least allowed FEMA to become strong enough that it survived its next chapter under the Ronald Reagan Administration. His Executive Secretary Helen Hill a very competent person acted as his guard dog and almost no one ever got to see Macy or get studies or paper work to him except through her. She also departed on January 20, 1981. Both John Macy and Helen Hill's offices had absolutely no documents in them when the new FEMA leadership team (acting) of Bud Gallegher and Don Young and Jim Delaney arrived.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Federal Response to Catastrophic Events

On December 13, 1985, then US Attorney General Edwin Meese, II, wrote to James C. Miller, III, Director OMB concerning FEMA's role in federal response. At the bottom of the second paragraph of that correspondence appears the following sentence:
"Accordingly, FEMA should be authorized to perform those special Emergency Preparedness and recovery functions not assigned to other Federal agencies and to support the 'several' agencies' implementation of policies established through existing Executive Branch decision-making mechanisms."
The full text of the letter is available on this web blog under FEMA historical materials at top of the home page.
What exactly does this language mean and what was its effect?
As far as the AG was concerned it further explains the position of DOJ on FEMA and law enforcement tasking and roles.

In fact however this language still identifies a continuing problem within the Executive Branch and the assignment of response authority. Here a brief background is essential. In the mid-1950's President Eisenhower commissioned a study conducted by McKinsey and Company that is still one of the seminal reports on Emergency Preparedness [EP] in US history. That report concluded that each President must have the authority to design his EP systems in the way he/she wants. Thus, the McKinsey report concluded that all emergency management authority should be vested directly in the President of the US and he/she could then delegate according to the specific wishes of that President. The result was Reorganization Plan No.1 of 1958, effective July 1, 1958. Eisenhower's Message to Congress on April 24, 1958 transmitting the Reorganization Plan will be made available in the future on this blog. It is instructive even today. That reorganization in my opinion no longer is of legal effect by operation of law. Some may disagree with that conclusion but until the Office of Legal Counsel of DOJ definitely rules it still is occasionally cited as operative.

Since the Eisenhower Presidential Administration Congress typically has continued to honor the McKinsey Study conclusions quite often, but not always. Sometime by intention and sometime almost by accident EP authority has been vested in lower ranking officials of the Executive Branch although usually members of the Cabinet or heads of independent agencies. An example is Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-707 as amended by Public Law 103-337.

Back to FEMA and the language in the MEESE correspondence. It is one of the purposes of this web blog to explain both current arrangements for EP, or lack thereof, and how we got there historical. Thus, key Executive Branch organizations will be separately examined. For a quick and dirty look at how EP assignments might be made it is instructive to look at E.O. 12656, issued on November 18, 1988, and amended several times. Its language creates and makes assignments for something called "National Security Emergencies" a term that appears nowhere in the US Code.

More to follow!

Topics For EM/HS Research

I attended the FEMA HIGHER ED conference in early June! The 13th and hopefully not the last since it principal advocate and steward Dr. Wayne Blanchard, PhD-History is now on long term sick leave and may retire this fall. I attended the conference with the intention of identification of both broad scope and also narrow technical issues that needed research by the Academic Community or even possible the nation's think tanks. Hoping that some smarter, faster, stronger and certainly younger will take on these topics. Also many are necessarily studied in a multidisciplinary manner and have elements of both policy and issue analysis within them.

So for better or worse--here is the list!

  1. I already have identified civil military relations in domestic civil crisis management and response. There are many sub-issues worthy of analysis as for example the staffing of the National Security Council often with military leadership and up to 2/3rds of its staffing serving officers.
  2. How does the WH do its crisis management in both domestic and foreign affairs. It seems to me that much is ad hoc and whether that is good or bad is unexamined.
  3. How do the principles and operations of the federal system assist or obstruct crisis management in the United States.
  4. How prepared really is DOD and the Armed Forces for a WMD event? Can it even assist the civil sector in any meaningful way?
  5. Why have so many studies been conducted of the National Guard and its various roles yet almost none of the US Coast Guard and the USACOE? Should they not be studied to reflect their actual roles and involvement in governance and civil government activities?
  6. The Public Health system is rapidly becoming a stove-piped system separate and apart from HS/EM! Is this a good or bad thing to be happening?
  7. What are the current civil response plans to various incidents/events and how do they relate? It is obvious that the effort to combine them has failed.
  8. Why is the FIRE SERVICE so isolated and remote from the policy debates on civil government crisis management and response in both Washington and the STATES?
  9. What is the actual condition and training and competence of the FIRE SERVICE to deal with an WMD incident/event?
  10. If DHS was granted regulatory authority and standard setting authority to ensure that basic standards of technical skills were met in the responder community what should the priority be?
  11. What exactly is the DHS/FEMA role in Warning, Alerting, Notification and how does that triad operate in a WEB 2.0 environment?
  12. Who at the federal, state, and local levels is expert in how to issue a PAR (Protective Action Recommendation) or a PAD (Protective Action Decision) to the General Public?
  13. How does each academic discipline conduct research on HS and EM and should this be stimulated both by the NAS and NRC by larger and more consistent grants?
  14. Is basic preparedness funding adequate? For governmental entities, for NGO's, for private sector profit making organizations? Who is really considering basic issues like long term grid failures and consequences? Both the generation side of the coin and the transmission side of the coin.
  15. With fewer than 10,000 practitioners and academicians working and studying EM is that an adequate basis for a country as large as the US or does this need improved financing and support in the US? This also raises the issue of the comparative analysis of how other countries do EM?
  16. Should DHS be as heavily politicized as it is with over 800 politically vetted positions most of whom have no background for their current jobs?
  17. The non-traditional National Security departments and agencies should be reviewed on an individual basis for their contributions to resilience of the nation and response. The highest priority should go to EPA, HHS, and DOE!
  18. How are academic materials for both EM and HS developed and distributed?
  19. What has really happened to the priorities of DHS since it was established, including cyber security and domestic intel, and WMD prevention and response?
  20. Is DHS a learning organization?
  21. Is the role of FEMA in DHS adequate for expectations about its performance in an unplanned large scale event?
Well eventually I plan to post over 100 topics but this is my starting list! Have fun and look forwards to seeing the research products and articles and books.

Oh and by the way this is all needed right NOW!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mililtary Civil Relationships

I am hoping that textual materials on military civil relationships during domestic crisis management situations could be developed and published preferably in book format. Authors or contributors are needed. I am unable to accomplish this myself but would be glad to open my files to anyone who desires information and background documentation on these critical relationships in our democracy (Republic)!

A quick and dirty starting point for anyone doing this would be a mirror image of the packages for both instructors and students teaching or taking the FORSCOM (or perhaps NORTHCOM now) Civil Relations Officer Course. These personnel become the key liaison between each miltary base commander and his local Mayors and Chief Executive Officers. Just a suggestion.

BP catastrophe

This is a very very short post!

What is known about large escapes of METHANE gas from underground and underwater seeps and in particular the well-head area of the BP Catastrophe?

I believe this story is unfolding, but as always could be wrong!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disaster Warnings

There are huge technical differences between the terms "Warning" and "Alerting" and "notification" and "mobilization"! Largely based on the seminal research of Dr. Dennis Mileti, PhD in Sociology and largely paid for by the Department of Defense and the Nuclear Power Industry, this somewhat dated research is still relevant until superseded by more current research will will have to encompass WEB 2.0 and the new social media. After 9/11/2001 however based on assessments of need a PUBLIC Private Partnership was funded by the US government to develop a national warning strategy. That strategy is posted on the baseline document section of this blog. It should be required reading for all in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. There is also an implementing Executive Order!

Executive Order 13407 of June 26, 2006, Public Alert and Warning System; published at 71 Fed. Reg. pp 36975-6, on Wednesday, June 28, 2006.

The Executive Order delegates all of its authority directly to the Secretary DHS and this blogger is not sure how it has been redelegated within DHS. Section 5 of the order is quite interesting. It reads:
Se.5. Amendment, Revocation, and Transition.
(a)Section 3(b)(4) of Executive Order 12472 of April 3, 1984, as amended, is further amended by striking "Emergency Broadcast System" and inserting in lieu thereof "Emergency Alert System".
(b) Not later than 120 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterrorism {Fran Townsend at time],shall issue guidance under section 2(c) of this order that shall address the subject matter of the presidential memorandum of September 15, 1995, for the Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Presidential Communications with the General Public During Periods of National Emergency, and upon issuance of such guidance such memorandum is revoked.
(c) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure an orderly and effective transition, without loss of capability, from alert and warning systems available as of the date of this order to the public alert and warning system for which this order provides."
In the meantime a quick survey of DHS/FEMA obligations on warning is useful. A mandate that used to be to FEMA alone is now unclear do to lack of delegations being published by the Secretary DHS. So here goes:



[It should be noted that the Stafford Act, Public Law 100-707, amended in part, superseded in part and supplemented in part the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288); all of the above codified at 42 USC Sections 5121 and following]

(42 U.S.C. §5132)
(a) The President shall insure that all appropriate Federal agencies are prepared to issue warnings of disasters to State and local officials.

(b) The President shall direct appropriate Federal agencies to provide technical assistance to State and local governments to insure that timely and effective disaster warning is provided.

(c) The President is authorized to utilize or to make available to Federal, State, and local agencies the facilities of the civil defense communications system established and maintained pursuant to §611(d) of the Act [42 U.S.C. §5196(d)], or any other Federal communication system for the purpose of providing warning to governmental authorities and the civilian population in areas endangered by disasters.

(d) The President is authorized to enter into agreements with the officers or agents of any private or commercial communications systems who volunteer the use of their systems on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis for the purpose of providing warning to governmental authorities and the civilian population endangered by disasters.
(42 U.S.C. §5170a)
§402. In any major disaster, the President may --- . . . . . .
(3) provide technical and advisory assistance to affected State and local government for - 
(B) issuance of warnings of risks of hazards; . . .

42 U.S.C. §5170b)

§403 (a) In General. Federal agencies may on the direction of the President, provide assistance to meeting immediate threats to life and property resulting from a major disaster, as follows:
(3) Work and Services to Save Lives and Protect property. Performing on public or private lands or waters any work or services essential to saving lives and protecting and preserving property or public health and safety, including ---
(F) warning of further risks and hazards;

(G) dissemination of public information and assistance regarding health and safety measures;

(H) provision of technical advice to State and local governments on disaster management and control; and

(I) reduction of immediate threats to life, property, and public health and safety.
(42 U.S.C. §5185)
§418. The President is authorized during, or in anticipation of, an emergency or major disaster to establish temporary communications systems and to make such communications available to State and local government officials and other persons as he deems appropriate.


§611(d) Communications and Warnings.
The Director may make appropriate provision for necessary emergency preparedness communications and for dissemination of warnings to the civilian population of a hazard.
§611(g) Public Dissemination of Emergency Preparedness Information.
The Director may publicly disseminate appropriate emergency preparedness information by all appropriate means.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DOD Directives with Civil Preparedness Implications

The list set forth below badly needs update but due to frequent requests for the information currently in my possession I have decided to post on the blog so that a baseline for DOD directives can be established. The NCS (National Communications System) which was a dual-hatted DOD agency was transferred to DHS by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and now is housed in the National Programs and Protection Directorate of DHS. DOD regulations published in the Code of Federal Regulations continue to be largely out of date to the extant they impact civil agency relationships. Perhaps this is telling in itself since activation of JAG reservists could easily accomplish at least the deletion of obsolete material. Of course the civilian control of the Armed Forces remains largely smoke and mirrors in many ways and apparently both the civilian leadership and military leadership like it that way. Dangerously sloppy to me, however. So here is my rather out of date listing:

Department of Defense Directives Relating to Homeland Security

Department of Defense Directives (DoDDs) for homeland security, including domestic preparedness defense (combating terrorism and WMD), continuity of operations, OG, and border and coastal defense.

Domestic Preparedness
1. DoD Directive 3025.1, "Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA), " January 15, 1993
2. DoD Directive 3025.12, "Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS), " February 4, 1994
3. DoD Directive 3025.15, "Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA), " February 18, 1997
4. DoD Directive 1330.5, “American National Red Cross”, August 16, 1969
5. DoD Directive2000.15, “Support to Special Events”, November 21, 1994
6. DoD Directive 2060.2, “Department of Defense Counterproliferation Implementation,” July 9, 1996
7. DoD Directive 3020.36, "Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) Responsibilities to Department of Defense Components," November 2, 1988
8. DoD Directive 3005.7, “Emergency Requirements, Allocations, Priorities, and Permits for DoD Use of Domestic Civil Transportation,” May 5, 1985
9. DoD Directive 3150.5, “DoD Response to Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) Incidents,” March 24, 1987
10. DoD Directive 3150.8, “DoD Response to Radiological Accidents,” June13. 1996
11. DoD Directive 4270.36, “DoD Emergency, Contingency, and Other Unprogrammed Construction Projects, June 17, 1997
12. DoD Directive 4715.1, “Environmental Security,” February 24, 1996
13. DoD Directive5030.14, “Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Prevention and Contingency Program,” June 1, 1977
14. DoD Directive 5230.16, “Nuclear Accident and Incident Public Affairs (PA) Guidance, December 20, 1994
15. DoD 5505.9, “Interception of Wire, Electronic, and Oral Communications for Law Enforcement,” April 20, 1995
16. DoD Directive 5525.5, "DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials” January 15, 1986
17. DoD Directive 5525.7, “Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense Relating to the Investigation and Prosecution of Certain Crimes,” January 22, 1985
Continuity of Operations
Force Protection
18. DoD Directive 2000.12, “DoD AntiTerrorism/Force Protection Program (AT/FP),” April 13, 1999
19. DoD Handbook 0-2000.12H, Protection of DoD Personnel and Activities Against Acts of Terrorism and Political Turbulence, Feb19, 1993
20. DoD Directive 5160.5, “Responsibilities for Research, Development, and Acquisition of Chemical Weapons and Chemical and Biological Defense, May 1, 1985
21. DoD Directive 6205.3, “DoD Immunization Program for Biological Warfare Defense, “ November 26, 1993
22. DoD Directive 6490.2, “Joint Medical Surveillance,” August 30, 1997
Continuity of Headquarters Operations
23. DoD Directive 3020.26, “Continuity of Operations (COOP) Policy and Planning, May 26, 1995
24. DoD Directive 1400.31, “DoD Civilian Work Force Contingency and Emergency Planning and Execution
25. DoD Directive 1404.1, Emergency-Essential (E-E) DoD U.S. Citizen Civilian Employees,” May 10, 1992
26. Critical Asset Assurance/ Critical Infrastructure Protection
27. DoD Directive 5160.54, “Critical Asset Assurance Program(CAAP),” January 20, 1998 (withdrawn).
28. DoD Directive S-5210.36, "Provision of DoD Sensitive Support to DoD components and Other Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government," June 10, 1986
29. DoD Directive 2000.12, "DoD Combating Terrorism Program," September 15, 1996
30. DoD Instruction 2000.16, “DoD Antiterrorism Standards,” June 14, 2001
31. DoD Directive 5200.2,”DoD Personnel Security Program,” April 9, 1999
32. DoD Directive 5200.26, “Defense Investigative Program,” June 12, 1979
33. DoD Directive 5205.2, “DoD Operations Security Program,” July 7, 1983
34. DoD Directive 5100.76. “Physical Security Review Board” February 10, 1981
35. DoD Directive 5100.78. “United States Port Security Program,” August 25, 1981
36. DoD Directive 5126.46, “Defense Energy Information System (DEIS),” December 2, 1987
37. DoD Directive 5200.8, “Security of DoD Installations and Resources,” April 25, 1991
38. DoD Directive 5210.46, “DoD Building Security for the National Capital Region, January 28, 1982
39. DoD Directive 5210.63, “Security of Nuclear Reactors and Special nuclear Materials,” April 6, 1990
40. DoD Directive 5210.64, Alternate Joint Communications Center Protection Program,” November 6, 1978
41. DoD Directive 5210.65, “Chemical Agent Security Program,” December 8, 1980
42. DoD Directive 5100.41, “Executive Agent Responsibilities for the National Communications System (NCS),” May 1, 1991
Corrections and comments are welcome at

Taming Terror: A Brief Survey of Psychology’s Contributions to the Field of Emergency Management

Blogger Note: We are in the process of verifying the author of this article. We believe Kathryn M. Franklin, Ph.D.

More than two years after the catastrophic events of September 11th, the United States remains woefully ill-prepared to face another terrorist attack. From detection to communication, to organization and restoration, advancement in applying lessons learned has been slow. Despite a current annual homeland security budget of $41 billion, financial aid is failing to effectively reach first responders, and information sharing between federal, state, and local stakeholders is limited. Public awareness and planning amongst citizens also remains low; only approximately one-fifth of Americans recognize the Department of Homeland Security’s public preparedness campaign or have indicated that their household has either an emergency supply kit or a family communications plan (Hsu, 2004).

How can we encourage greater advancement in emergency management at an individual-, organizational-, or political-level in order to minimize the impact of an actual or anticipated future event? Leveraging a long tradition of analyzing human dynamics, the field of psychology has developed significant insights into the areas of prevention, preparation, recovery, and response that will aid in the formulation of not only attitudes and behaviors in regards to terrorism, but policies.


Perhaps the most powerful tool in emergency management is prevention. Although the elimination of all crises is idealistic, through careful forethought, improving the relations with foreign cultures, increasing the effectiveness of negotiations, enhancing knowledge management, and optimizing the identification of potential terrorists, the frequency of occurrences can be reduced.

With terrorism, the primary preventative effort is decreasing the motivation of others to respond violently against the United States. In their extensive studies of human aggression, Pyszcynski et al. (2003) postulated that one’s cultural worldview reduces the anxiety produced by the realization of one’s own mortality and that hostility, therefore, is rooted in the threat that other worldviews poses to this underlying psychological security. According to their Terror Management Theory, conditions that undermine self-esteem and faith in one’s cultural worldview, such as when one’s own culture is incapable of supporting basic psychological and physical needs, produce greater prejudice and inter-group hostility by thrusting the resulting fear and anger onto a more powerful culture that represents an opposing position. By encouraging a more tolerant and respectful society, the tendency to respond negatively to others who are different can be reduced. Intimates and members of the same culture are also highly influential in the formulation of individual attitudes and behaviors.

Hostilities can also be decreased by improving the effectiveness of the ability to negotiate with other cultures. The “Dynamic Constructivist Model” accounts for input from both the individuals involved in the negotiation and the specific negotiation situation, focusing on key variables such as cultural values and setting including appropriate negotiating techniques (Morris & Fu, 2001), characteristics of the negotiator or perceiver as magnified by the willingness to tolerate ambiguity in situations, and the social context of the negotiation such as roles and accountability (Schimel, Simon, Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Waxmonsky, & Arndt, 1999). With this information, one could analyze the particular circumstances in order to produce a more effective negotiator. Through the “Cultural Lens Model”, a negotiator or perceiver could better view the world from another’s perspective. Utilizing research from anthropology and organizational, developmental, and cognitive psychology, this model captures cultural differences in such variables as reasoning, judgment, and authority structure and can improve an “outsider’s” ability to anticipate actions, make accurate assessments, and intervene effectively (Klein, Pongonis, & Klein, 2000).

By anticipating a breakdown in negotiations as well as more accurately estimating the probability of an attack, violence also may be averted. Communication is composed of both explicit content, which is easily manipulated, and structural characteristics, which are not. Previous historical research on the “integrative/cognitive (IC)” or implicit thoughts of “official government statements” revealed that prior to war, the IC of high-level officials dropped significantly for both parties while previous to a surprise attack, there was a decrease in the IC of the aggressor only (Baker-Brown, Ballard, Bluck, de Vries, Suedfeld, & Tetlock, 1992). In addition, several tools have been developed to improve the effectiveness of judgments culled from multiple sources. An “optimization algorithm” exists that generates an objective accuracy greater than the accuracy of the individual probability estimates from diverse judges (Batsell, Brenner, Osherson, Vardi, & Tsavachidis, 2002) while biominimetric information management systems use neural networks and other soft-computing techniques to recognize the relevance of documents based on meaning by emulating “the way biological brains work” rather than relying solely on terms or categories that are not constant across person or time (Roitblat & Henning, 1992).

High scores on the “Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA)” and Social Dominance Orientation Scale” aid in identifying typical leaders and followers in a terrorist group. Followers submit to established/proper authorities and attack due to the fear that an increasingly disintegrating, immoral world threatens their way of life. Their powerful self-righteousness, dogmatic and steadfast personality, and markedly inconsistent and compartmentalized thinking are consistent with high RWA scores (Altemeyer, 1996). Leaders, while also high RWAs, also score highly in social dominance (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 2001) creating high prejudice with a strong drive to dominate and little moral restraint. Terrorist leaders gravitate toward gullible groups and portray whatever image will bring power without truly believing what they espouse (Altemeyer, 1998). Profiling must be used cautiously, however. Standard profiling attempts to uncover the perpetrator’s motivation in terms of typology; terrorists, unlike most violent criminals, do not suffer from psychological disorders (Silke, 1998) and studies measuring the effectiveness of current profiling techniques indicate that it produces successful results in only less than 10% of the cases (Hazelwoord, Ressler, Depue, & Douglas, 1995.) and potentially can misdirect the investigation (e.g., the Washington, DC-area snipers).

Once identified, the ability to ascertain the veracity of intelligence information supplied by “persons of interest” either voluntarily or through confessions is vital to an effective preventative strategy. As traditional detection methods rely on biophysical responses that can be manipulated, shifting the focus to subconscious cues would produce more effective results. Through priming, semantic meaning is activated by the rapid and spontaneous presentation of a word that unbeknownst to the individual triggers associated concepts in the mind (Posner & Snyder, 1975). By employing this method, researchers have assessed intergroup stereotypes and prejudices that individuals typically might be reluctant to reveal (Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes, 1986). Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. determined through meta-analysis that “increased vocal pitch, brief responses to difficult questions and less-compelling stories came to light more often during motivated lies. Deceptive stories also tend to be suspiciously perfect, without unusual details.” Further exploration with local law enforcement, the CIA, and the Department of Homeland Security of how these and other research findings can be applied to defense strategies is currently underway (Dingfelder, 2004).

Studies have also determined that the belief that one’s identity is unknown increases the likelihood of behaving aggressively (Rehm, Steinleitner, & Lilli, 1987), therefore efforts to reveal a terrorist’s identity beforehand or to shame him or her after the fact, taking into account cultural norms, might prove an effective deterrent to future attacks.


Barring the ability to forestall a potential terrorist attack, insights into personnel selection, planning, and communication can help to bolster the nation’s defenses. Psychologists have significantly contributed to the assessment of appropriately qualified security and public safety positions for the federal government since the advent of World War II (Maranto & Ernesto, 2002). With refinement, the existing methodology of job evaluation – analysis, screening, selection criteria, training, evaluation, and validation – can be tailored to meet the current requirements. Actual job performance can also be improved. “Threat Image Protection (TIP)” computer software has been installed in some airports to measure the individual accuracy and establish certification procedures for luggage screeners (Deployment and Use of Security Technology, 2001) based on the theory that to optimize observancy, one must occasionally find the items one is seeking (Schroeder & Holland, 1968). By applying the existing broad range of computer-based immersive virtual technology (IVET) used in both practical and therapeutic situations (Loomis, Blascovich, & Beall, 1999; Axelsson, Abelin, Heldal, Schroeder, & Widestroem; 2001) to defense training, high-risk scenarios can be realistically simulated without endangering the participants.

Organizations can also more effectively prepare for an attack. Detailed plans involving employees that focus on stated roles, continual communication, rehearsal, and review with mechanisms for reporting information must be created. Written plans have proven successful in the past, limited employer liability after the fact, and increased a sense of personal control for employees which has the added benefit of improving productivity, an appealing business goal (“Responses to Workplace Violence Post 9/11”). Existing evacuation plans also need to be closely scrutinized as behavior under emergency conditions differs from non-emergency (Sime, 1993) and previous studies of evacuation routes and building design have uncovered unforeseen obstacles. In the 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers, the descent of evacuees with walking difficulties was actually slowed due to instructions to remain on the side of the stairs that lacked full-length handrails in order to facilitate the entrance of emergency responders (Juillet, 1993).

To properly warn and rally people of in the event of a potential attack, messages from leadership must stimulate motivation while squelching fear. Governmental threat warnings ought to include reliable evidence presented by trusted officials with the danger clearly specified and recommended actions detailed. If the threat persists, a post-alarm debrief is needed to “correct misinformation, modify faulty recommendations, reinforce citizens for heeding the message and reassure of collaborative efforts.” In the result of no threat, a reputable authority must explain the outcome and then remove or lower the threat level (Zimbardo, 2003).


Immediately following a terrorist attack, the top priorities of emergency management are to restore critical operations, promote national security, and mend public welfare. Maintaining communication amongst first responders and between officials and citizens is critical. Psychologists under sponsorship by SPAWAR Systems Center have developed a “set of interoperable communications technologies”, the “Domestic Emergency Response Information System (DERIS)” that are “designed to support emergency responses among multiple organizations under crisis conditions.” The effectiveness of this system is being tested through “relevant, realistic, and appropriate” scenarios with input from each participating agency and related stakeholders (Domestic Emergency Response Information System, SPAWAR Systems Center). In addition, SPAWAR Systems Center is also sponsoring the development of, the “Enhanced Consequence Management Planning and Support System (ENCOMPASS), a set of software tools that integrates information from various sources during a crisis. ENCOMPASS supports “multiple distributed first responder agencies” through two subsystems, one that supports the functions of incident commanders at all levels, and another that sustains medical personnel by analyzing patents for possible biochemical contamination or other epidemic disease. (ENCOMPASS, SPAWAR Systems Center). Initial testing in 2001 demonstrated several factors imperative to the system’s successful performance: 1) thorough training of the user prior to operation; 2) specific system functions tailored to particular agencies; and 3) implementation that reflects agency idiosyncrasies in operational concepts and approaches.

An effective and reliable communications channel with which to disseminate vital information to the community must also be established. As demonstrated on 9/11, the internet proved to be a popular avenue for citizens seeking and sharing advice. Based on conclusions from previous human/machine interactions studies, including major contributions to military and civilian aviation, future emergency communication campaigns that utilize screen instructions displaying prominent, easy-to-read instructions would appear both more informative and assuring (Montania & Resnick, 2002).

After handling the immediate logistical challenges of a terrorist attack, attention must be paid to alleviating the mental health consequences. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, “Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity”, post 9-11 levels of stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) substantially increased for both adults and children across the country, not only at the target sites. Ethnic and racial groups were more susceptible to these effects due to social inequality, and higher rates of PTSD were found in these vulnerable populations as well as in veterans and those more severely exposed to the attacks (Psychological Impact on Terrorism, 2003). Walker & Chestnut (2003) concluded that ethnic background, gender, and age influenced reactions to terrorism with ethnicity and gender determining the causal explanation of the attack on 9/11, gender impacting the effects of the attack, with a strong similarity across the demographics in describing the first response of shock and disbelief. Johll & Brant concurred that women experienced more stress, but contrastingly found that they also used more coping mechanisms, and had better psychological outcomes than men who expressed a greater need for vengeance, excluding those in New York City where the general sentiment appeared to be we “wouldn’t wish what happened to us on anyone” (Clay, Daw, & Dittman, 2002). Although PTSD is difficult to detect in children, those exposed to a lot of television coverage were more likely to report symptoms common to the disorder (Smith, 2002). Even those who lived far from the incident were quite distressed. In Arizona, college students and staff who felt similar to the victims and reported feeling empathy for the survivors, were more likely to suffer from grief and anxiety about the future while those who were initially more insecure were more likely to suffer depression (Clay, 2002). Ten percent of the 50 American expatriates surveyed in Brussels demonstrated signs of acute stress disorder immediately following the event (Speckhard, 2003).

Surprisingly, senior citizens and therapy patients proved more resilient than initially suspected. Seniors were less likely to experience PTSD or other disorders. They were, however, vulnerable to depression or confusion if they previously suffered from cognitive disorders and their routine was disrupted (Smith, 2002). Therapy patients not directly impacted by the events reported no increase in their stress levels but rather an additional layer to the chronic stress they already experienced (New APA Survey, 2003) while the “most disturbed” clients often allegedly failed to acknowledge the event at all (Daw, 2001).

Those occupations supporting the nation were particularly challenged by the dual demands of personal and professional stress. Therapists reported feeling the cumulative negative effects of their client’s discussion of the terrorist attack and related events requiring them to define new boundaries with existing clients and to extend their services to new clients all while they processed their own grief (Survey Helps Portray the Impact, 2002). Many may have had to expand their skill set to include tools for dealing with anxiety given the overwhelming incidence (Daw, 2001). In a non-random sample of psychologists surveyed on the PracticeNet website, 39% of the therapists responding reported using relaxation techniques and supportive interventions with their clients. Although Eidelson, D’Alesso, & Eidelson (2003), reported that a sample of psychologists felt more positively than negatively towards their work post-9/11, it is critical that caregivers recognize the potential strain of these demands and to extensively practice self-care throughout this period by maintaining good physical health, leveraging the support of personal relationships, not overextending professionally or sharing obligations with other therapists, maintaining a long-term perspective and possibly, personal therapy. Previous disaster research suggests that lacking similar or extensive trauma experience may render new disaster workers vulnerable to increased distress and seasoned workers to continued stress (Dougall, Herberman, Delahanty, Inslicht, & Baum, 2000). Overseas military personnel must now shoulder the conflicting responsibilities of peacekeepers and enforcers. Successfully executing “Military Operations of Other Than War (MOTTW)” requires not only technical proficiency but also the recognition of the relevant human factors in a given situation that continually changes demands and operating conditions (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1995). Having previously tested the physical and psychological impact of these principles on a soldier’s competency through scenarios and case studies, these findings can now be used to modify future training (GAO, 1996). Individual efforts have even been made to attempt to “inoculate” against some of the mental health ramifications of such a circumstance. The behavioral sciences flight commander at the Charleston Air Force Base teaches critical incident stress management and supplies a booklet on trauma to those deployed while also familiarizing those remaining on base with mental health concepts and available resources (Clay, 2001).

These overall elevated stress levels posed a threat not only to personal welfare but also to the collective welfare of certain ethnic groups. As previously mentioned, Terror Management Theory (Pyszcynski, 2003) indicates that the fear of mortality produces hostile attitudes towards groups who hold an opposing worldview. Acts of terrorism increase the salience of mortality and as the researchers demonstrate in their 150 experiments across nine countries, this enhanced sense of vulnerability generates a more negative response to those more critical of one’s country, a greater distancing of oneself from these groups, and the amplification of a desire for justice and punishment. As a result, the Intergroup Clearinghouse reports 1,700 acts of discrimination post-9/11 while Human Rights Watch cataloged over 2,000 hate crimes against Arab and Muslim groups and the FBI stated an increase of anti-Islamic crimes from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001 (Psychological Impact of Terrorism, 2003).

Correspondingly, as hostility towards “outsiders” increases, the heightened sense of mortality also raises the desire to help, particularly those in one’s own culture. As a mass casualty event can quickly overwhelm first responder and healthcare resources, exploiting this natural impulse could draw additional support from the general populace. Classic bystander research also has determined that assistance increases if the bystander is female, is either alone or with one or two others, would experience a sense of shame or guilt if he/she did not act, or somehow identifies or has a personal relationship with the individual in trouble (Levine, 1999). “Apathy” is more likely to occur if in big cities due to the “diffusion of responsibility” or the belief that someone else will handle the problem (Latane & Darley, 1970), although New York City on 9/11 defied this expectation, a perceived low competency or belief that one is unable to truly be of assistance (Cramer, McMaster, Bartell, & Diagna, 1988), or if the bystander is a highly masculine male (Tice, 1985).


Recovery from a terrorist attack is measured not in days or months but years. The extent of the impact of such an event and the rate at which one heals varies. Recent analyses suggest that a full sense of psychological security within the United States has yet to be restored.

In the first few months following 9-11, those viewed to be most vulnerable to the mental health consequences of terrorism, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, low-income, and individuals without high school diplomas, were more likely to report psychological and emotional stress symptoms, and to having a harder time recovering. Women, racial/ethnic groups, and individuals with prior physical or mental health problems, had an increased risk of depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Women, young adults, and African-Americans were more likely to feel less optimistic about the future and to attest that 9/11 changed their life (Psychological Impact of Terror, 2003). Roxanne Cohen Silver, Ph.D. found that nationwide the degree of exposure to the event (degree of proximity, direct presence, and watching it live on television) rather than the degree of loss experienced significantly predicted the extent to which a person was distressed. Using religion to cope predicted experiencing higher levels of positive affect over time whereas denial or “giving up” predicted continued distress (Dittman, 2002). In New York City, the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana significantly increased while the demand for substance abuse treatment increased in nearly half the states in the country with the greatest demand on the east coast. Cigarette/marijuana use related to PTSD while the use of alcohol related to depression only (Psychological Impact of Terror, 2003). It was also estimated that approximately 17% of Americans living outside of New York City were experiencing post-traumatic stress (People Who ‘Gave Up’, 2002). At the University of Arkansas, the students who coped most successfully after three months were those who did not let terrorism impact their worldview whereas those for whom the attacks did affect their beliefs had lower closure rates (Clay et al., 2002). Of the expatriates in Brussels, two continued to exhibit persistent signs of distress (Speckhard, 2003). Promisingly, there was also a significant increase during this time period in the self-reporting of the virtues of love, gratitude, hope, kindness, spirituality and teamwork from the responders to an online questionnaire (Chamberlin, 2002). Increased attention was paid to heroes and more reverence applied to cultural icons, such as flags, consistent with Terror Management Theory (Pyszczynski, 2003).

At approximately six months, Michael Traugott, Ph.D. reported that of the 613 Americans he surveyed, 11% reported being “more shaken” than they were the previous fall while 37% stated that they were “still shaken”. Women continued to indicate feeling more uneasiness than men, at almost twice the rate. Slightly more than two-thirds of the sample expressed concern for their safety when flying on an airplane, one-third reported feeling more concerned when attending a sporting event, and one-fifth when going to a shopping mall. Six percent of the U.S. population living outside of NYC continued to exhibit post-traumatic stress and those with pre-existing mental or physical health problems as well as those with “greater exposure” to the event were more likely to have significant problems over time (People Who ‘Gave Up’, 2002). A self-reported study of mostly minority NYC workers found that direct exposure to the attacks, worries about future attacks, and reduced confidence in self predicted PTSD even when controlling for depression and anxiety (Piotrkowski & Brannen, 2002). A joint survey commissioned by Infinite Mind public radio series and the American Psychological Association (APA) discovered that sixteen percent of Americans attributed their current depressed or anxious mood to the events of September 11th. Nearly one-half (40%) said that they were seriously affected on a personal level, even if they did not live in the areas directly attacked. Nearly all (81%) indicated that they were trying to move beyond the setbacks in their lives, while more than three-quarters (77%) stated that they were attempting to simplify their lives and focus on what really matters. People who had experienced a past trauma were significantly more likely to describe symptoms commonly associated with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. New Yorkers also continued to report stress-related symptoms, at a rate of almost twice that of others elsewhere. On the contrary, the respondents in the Washington, DC area were far less likely to report feeling depressed or anxious than either the residents of New York City or throughout the nation (Many Americans Still Feeling Effects, 2002)

Two years later, in a nationally represented and census-balanced telephone poll of 750 Americans eighteen years or older, researchers determined that most of the respondents believe that the United States will experience another terrorist attack in the near future and that “the intentional nature of terrorism and the “fear of the unknown’” are the main reasons that they are concerned about the threat of terrorism and may account for the reported strengthening of religious faith (Public Perspectives on Mental Health).

Although each individual processes grief in his or her own way and time, research suggests several coping strategies that may facilitate healing. To restore a sense of security in the home and community, Terror Management Theory proposes increasing the value of one’s own culture and self-esteem through developing and maintaining personal relationships with intimates and those who share similar beliefs and values (Pyszczynski et al., 2003). APA’s “Road to Resilience” campaign ( also recommends getting involved in the community and helping others while Wayment’s research further discovered that those with the strongest survivor reaction were more likely to respond by valuing family and friends more, getting involved in the community, and expressing a positive form of patriotism (Clay, 2002). It is hypothesized that senior citizens prove to be more resilient than most due to a good support network of friends and family as well as a generally positive outlook and a sense of personal mastery derived from life experience (Kersting, 2004). Florian, Mikulincer, & Hirschberger, (2002) confirmed the anxiety-buffering function of romantic relationships to thoughts of death while Frederickson et. al (2003) found that positive emotions such as gratitude, interest, and love help to buffer resilient people against depression and to fuel thriving.

In addition, the APA advises adults “to take a step back to problem solve before addressing problems” and “to seek help from others”. Knowing where to go for help and counseling is a major factor in helping Americans become more resilient (Public Perspectives on Mental Health) although those suffering from serious mental illness may already struggle with high levels of trauma and unstable support systems (Kersting, 2004). Most therapists emphasize a return to a routine rather than normalcy. “Normal” is a relative term and as long as the chosen actions are not debilitating, individuals should pursue the activities with which they are most comfortable. Establishing routines are particularly beneficial for reassuring children as well as providing age-appropriate information while also assuring them they are safe, monitoring one’s own reactions and theirs, communicating positive values, and not over-worrying (DeAngelis, 2002). Despite previous studies indicating that many children suffered from moderate to severe post-stress symptoms several months after catastrophes like Hurricane Andrew, due to the concerted efforts of their families and communities to reassure them after the attacks, children ages 6-11 reported that everyday fears such as television violence and bullies were of greater concern than terrorism (Smith, 2003).

To restore a sense of safety in the workplace, immediately after the attack effective leaders need to be visible, convey a sense of realistic hope and optimism, be calm and calming, and communicate both what is known and unknown. They must continue to create contingencies for future major events by again involving employees in developing disaster and recovery plans, ensuring that organizational supports are in place and making themselves accessible, as well as offering training/development to leaders at all levels to utilize the best resources. Although Ryan et al. (2003) in a study of a multinational corporation found only negligible differences in job satisfaction, supervisor evaluation, and stress amongst its U.S. and worldwide employees post-9/11, uncertainty is linked to poor employee and organizational performance, therefore leaders are pressed to convey timely and useful information to all employees, including the unknown, in order to reduce ambiguity and avoid panic. Good communication and good work support reduces work stress (Responses to Workplace Violence). After 9-11 in situations where employees were displaced, emotional support from loved ones and practical support, such as housing, from the employer mitigated the lost sense of security (Smith, 2002).

Terrorist attacks also increase the need for information and understanding with a shifting of the desire for security over freedom (Pyszczynski, 2003). To restore a sense of national security, the government must respond to the nationwide demand for informational programs. Strong sentiment exists that public officials could do a better job of communicating with the public about the threat of terrorism, and that the nation’s public health, medical, and emergency response systems are not meeting the mental health demands that result from the threat of terrorism. Americans want access to programs that will help them cope with fear and distress and believe that the federal government should take responsibility for the establishment of such programs with the mental health professionals delivering of the curriculum at a community level (Public Perspectives on Mental Health).

It is evident that the field of psychology has much to contribute to the theory and practice of emergency management. In order to best serve the nation’s need for prevention, preparation, response, and recovery, the government should not only welcome but seek out the behavioral science perspective for creating homeland security policies, particularly mental health first aid training for both the public and first responders.

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(1) A number of the studies cited in this paper were drawn from an excellent review on the American Psychological Association’s “Combating Terrorism” website. The original references are included to encourage further exploration of these topics.