Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Intergovernmental Relations

As Hurricane Earl approaches East Coast of the US time for a repeat post from this blogger. Here goes:

Portions of this article were previously published in BEST PRACTICES In Emergency Services, Vol.6 No.8, August 2003

The Department of Homeland Security and Its Relationship to Local Government

On November 25, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296). The enactment came after a formal legislative process that ran at full speed after the President reversed course and announced on June 6, 2002 that he supported creation of the new Cabinet Department. A version of enacted bill was submitted by the Administration on June 18, 2002, and introduced on behalf of the Administration.

This time frame left little opportunity for lobbying by governmental entities, especially State and local governments. It did allow for a number of potential vendors, and interest groups to heavily and effectively lobby during this time frame. The President’s bill was drafted in intense secrecy by (1) Tom Ridge; (2) Andrew H. Card, the White House Chief of Staff; (3) Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House Counsel; (4) Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., the Director of OMB, and (5) Joshua B. Bolten, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy (now the Director of OMB succeeding Mitch Daniels). All are lawyers. None except Tom Ridge had held elected state-wide office and none have backgrounds as first responders. The President’s bill was submitted to Congress on June 18th and introduced by request in the House of Representatives on June 26th as H.R. 5005 was referred to a Select Committee chaired by Richard Armey (R-Tex.) the Majority Leader of the House. It passed the House on July 26th, and after consideration by the Senate with amendments passed the Senate on November 19th. The House then voted approval of the Senate amendments and it was enrolled and sent to the President who signed it on November 25th.

The Act’s legislative history is short. Even prior to the events of September 11th, 2001, a series of Congressionally mandated Commissions (Bremer, Deutch, Hart-Rudman, and Gilmore) had recommended organizational restructuring of the Executive Branch to more effectively and efficiently prepare for and respond to terrorism and the potential the terrorists would employ weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These reports are available from me at vlg338@yahoo.com. I have recommended indirectly to Lee Hamilton that the Hart-Rudman Commission reassemble to produce a comprehensive status report on their recommendations as we approach a full decade since they last reported. It should also be specifically noted that a bill passed the House of Representatives (H.R. 4210 in July 2000, Second Session 106th Congress) that had been orchestrated by Representative Tilly Fowler (R-Florida). The Senate did not act on that bill. The original bill as introduced is available on this blog under FEMA Historical Materials and on the FAS web sites at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/index/html

Five Under Secretary positions were created in the new statute with three of direct concern to local government. First, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate composed primarily of the former Federal Emergency Management Agency. Secondly, the largest directorate by number of employees, the Border and Transportation Security Directorate which also include the former Office of National Preparedness from FEMA (this office had been established by administrative order to implement a Presidential initiative on May 8th, 2001, and is being returned to the Preparedness Division of the EP&R Directorate on July 13th , 2003 and its staff possibly dispersed).The Office of National Preparedness had administered the EMPG grants authorized under Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707) It also included the Office of Domestic Preparedness (headed by a Presidential appointee, Susan Mencer, a former FBI agent, from the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, which had provided grants to State and local governments under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-132) and the so-called Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act (Title XIV of the 1996 DoD Authorization Act (Public Law 104-201), or under authority of various Commerce, Justice, State Appropriation Acts. Some of this money had been passed through the United States Fire Administration, part of FEMA, which was authorized in the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and authority of Presidential Directive 39. It should be noted that there is an inherent statutory conflict between the EP&R Directorates response authority for the federal establishment under Title V of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Office of Domestic Preparedness under Section 430 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It is of great interest that the responsibility for the development and implementation of the mandated National Response Plan (HSPD-5) was originally assigned to Admiral Loy (Ret.) and the Transportation Security Administration. Admiral Loy is now the Deputy Secretary for the Department. Now plan development and integration is located in a new Integration Center reporting to the Director.

A third component of the new department of interest was the Office of State and Local Government Coordination established by Section 801 of the Act. At the moment, this Office has no grant money but Secretary Ridge has testified (May 1st 2003) that all State and local grants should come through this office. As Ridge says “One-stop shopping.” Ridge notified Congress on January 21, 2004 that all state and local grants would be awarded by the Office of State and Local Coordination to be renamed the Office of State and Local Preparedness and Coordination.

It should be noted that there are in addition the three other directorates headed by Under Secretaries that are of less immediate concern to local governments and first responders. These are (1) the Under Secretary for Science and Technology; (2) the Under Secretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection; and (3) the Under Secretary for Management.

Monies for State and local government for the three years ending September 11, 2004, will have come in both annual appropriation acts and supplemental appropriation acts. Promised originally for State and local first responders shortly after September 11, 2001, was the amount of $3.5 Billion. It will only be possible to determine actually outlays after September 11, 2004, but it appears that that amount will only be reached, if at all, by including the bioterrorism preparedness monies authorized under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Public Law 107-188; June 12, 2002). Perhaps it makes common sense to include these monies even though the public health system, not traditional first responders, has been the recipient.

Secretary Tom Ridge has stated in various speeches that if the President’s FY 04 budget submission is acted on favorably by Congress a total of $8 Billion dollars will go out to state and local governments for homeland security. The enactment of tax reductions, however, will lower the caps for the appropriation committee chairs in Congress and affect the ceilings of each of the thirteen appropriation acts (one of which now will be solely for the Department of Homeland Security) for fiscal years 2005 which begins October 1st, 2004. The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, FY 2004, Public Law 108-90 became law on October 1, 2003.

Perhaps it is too soon to measure the true impact on local governments and their operations by the new department. All grant monies will continue to go first to the States, with some earmarked percentage for State purposes. The States will also continue to take indirect costs authorized by OMB Circular A-87 which may exceed 20% of total grant outlays. It is also of interest that there are restrictions on standard setting for technology in the new Department, so that voluntary consensus standard setting organizations such as NFPA and ANSI will be very important.

Despite promises, very little has been done administratively to ease the burden operationally or financially on State and local government’s preparedness and response operations. $20 billion dollars with relatively little in the way of earmarks will go out to State governments under the provisions of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, H.R. 2/P.L. 108-27 (May 28, 2003; 117Stat. 752; 17 pages). It will be interesting to see how this unexpected windfall on the fiscally burdened State governments will be distributed programmatically.

Nor has the audit of an actual large scale incident or event measured the improvement on homeland security preparedness, response and recovery since November 25th. Hurricane Isabel was only a category 2 storm so only time will tell!

The National Integration Center

PKEMA 2006 provides in part:
(a) IN GENERAL.—There is established in the Agency a
National Integration Center.
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator, through the National
Integration Center, and in consultation with other Federal
departments and agencies and the National Advisory Council,
shall ensure ongoing management and maintenance of the
National Incident Management System, the National Response
Plan, and any successor to such system or plan.
(2) SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES.—The National Integration
Center shall periodically review, and revise as appropriate,
the National Incident Management System and the National
Response Plan, including—
(A) establishing, in consultation with the Director of
the Corporation for National and Community Service, a
process to better use volunteers and donations;
(B) improving the use of Federal, State, local, and
tribal resources and ensuring the effective use of emergency
response providers at emergency scenes; and
(C) revising the Catastrophic Incident Annex, finalizing
and releasing the Catastrophic Incident Supplement
to the National Response Plan, and ensuring that both
effectively address response requirements in the event of
a catastrophic incident.
(A) NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN.—The Secretary, acting
through the Administrator, shall ensure that the National
Response Plan provides for a clear chain of command to
lead and coordinate the Federal response to any natural
disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.
(B) ADMINISTRATOR.—The chain of the command specified
in the National Response Plan shall—
(i) provide for a role for the Administrator consistent
with the role of the Administrator as the principal
emergency management advisor to the President,
the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary
under section 503(c)(4) and the responsibility of the
Administrator under the Post-Katrina Emergency
Management Reform Act of 2006, and the amendments
made by that Act, relating to natural disasters, acts
of terrorism, and other man-made disasters; and
(ii) provide for a role for the Federal Coordinating
Officer consistent with the responsibilities under section
302(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief
and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5143(b)).
Official (or the successor thereto) shall not—
(A) direct or replace the incident command structure
established at the incident; or
(B) have directive authority over the Senior Federal
Law Enforcement Official, Federal Coordinating Officer,
or other Federal and State officials."
6 USC 319.

Okay so the key assignment to the NIC was the ongoing managment and maintenance of the NIMS and the NRF [National Response Framework] that was the successor to the NRF. And then of course a mandate to the Secretary DHS to have an established chain of command to lead and respond to any natural disaster, act of terrorism, and other
man-made disaster. The new organization created was established and made a part of the National Preparedness Directorate [NPD-NIC]. That organization has subunits labeled as follows:
1. Incident Management System Integration;
2. Emergency Management Institute;
3. Center for Domestic Preparedness;
4. Training and Exercises Integration;
5. National Exercises Division.

Not sure which of these subunits actually has been assigned responsibility to ensure that the statutory charter of the NIC is accomplished.

I find the two statutory choices troubling in a statutory enactment that first of all creates an organizational unit that has as its mandate management and maintenance but no actual line authority so I guess that implies voluntary efforts at collaboration and cooperation with other units of FEMA and DHS and other Executive Branch entities. And then a chain of command mandated presumably to operate government wide and reflect both federalism issues and incorporation of military assistance to civil authorities when absolutely necessary. This is a sophisticated and difficult mission and I assume that it has to have been staffed with many of the best and brightest and most experienced and competent in FEMA. Why? Because if the NIMS or NRF breaks down in detail during any large-scale catastrophe clearly the mandates above will not have been accomplished. It is also clear that this units operations are not limited to Stafford Act declarations since it is not incorporated into the Stafford Act and only indicates how it should be interpreted with respect to that statutory scheme.

Always remember that federal statutes are to the extent possible to be construed and interpreted to mesh, to reinforce and support each other, and only where there are direct conflicts, would rules like "enactment later in time" have to be utilized to resolve that conflict.

Good luck to the head and staff of this unit because it looks like all the problems FEMA had over its years as an independent agency and even in DHS are the focus of this organization and its leaders and staff. It is increasingly odd how Congress and the various Administrations assume that creating an organizational fix can solve the problems of deficient authority either by delegation or statute.

So here is how I would have designed this legislation:

The National Integration Center is established in FEMA. Its staffing shall include permanent liaisons from all federal agencies involved in NIMS and the NRF. These representatives will have the primary mission of focusing on whether the management and operations of this unit implicate current programs, functions, or activities of their departments and agencies. When such implications are identified they will assist their home organizations in transmitting a formal discription of those implication to the head of the Nationa Integration Center with copies to the Secretary DHS, and the FEMA Administrator. Upon receipt of those memorandums if those implications as identified cannot be resolved in 60 days, either because they involve the necessity of statutory or policy or regulatory changes then the Head of the National Integration Center will send out a formal memorandum identifying the failure to resolve and its reasons to all Executive Branch entities. At that time the National Security Council NSS shall convene a Presidential Review Memorandum as to the how this issue should be addressed and resolved. Such memorandum will be circulated for comment to all departments and agencies in the Executive Branch in a classified or unclassified format or both if necessary. After reviewing comments the NSC shall recommend to the President in the form of a document resolution for the President's approval. Such decision shall be reflected in a Presidential decision document, in either or both a classified or unclassified version depending on a determination of the NSC.
The National Integration Center shall have assigned to it a representative from the NSC so that all policies and issues arising that may have national security or homeland security issues may be noted in advance of any NSC action.

Well there you have it. Essentially this organization has the function of the old CDRG established in FEMA under George H.W. Bush Administration and ended under Clinton with the exception it is not able to resolve and issue determinations binding on other departments and agencies as did the CDRG because its administrative authority extends beyond the limitations of the Robert T. Staffard Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This is the real need for this organization. Hope it succeeds. But as currently constituted probably will not.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Definitions-Emergency Management

In enactment of PKEMA 2006 a statutory definition of Emergency Management appears in the US Code for the first time stating as follows:
"the term ‘‘emergency management’’ means the governmental function that coordinates and integrates all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, or mitigate against threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters"!

From my webpage at www.vacationlanegrp.com as follows:

"Emergency Management is the organization of the governmental and non-governmental organizational response at the national level (federal, state, and local) to unexpected events that threaten public health and safety and property, and the civil sector preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery to and from those events."

From the document Principals of Emergency Management (2007) based on a collaborative effort led by Dr. Carol Cwiak, PhD to outline a baseline agreement document on EM, and that definition reads:

Emergency management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters."

I am sure that many more definitions exist somewhere else. Naturally I like mine the best but understand like the Kuroshawa movie "Rashomon" somewhat controlled by the eye of the observer.

It is interesting to me to note that the term "Emergency Management" goes back to the era of FDR and was used in an organizational context when an Office of Emergency Management used for an office in the Executive Offices of the White House. Perhaps of interest that when an Office of Emergency Planning created in 1961-62 in the White House (later renamed the Office of Emergency Preparedness) the term "management" was not utilized again. That stated it does seem that EM is a small professional cadre's attempt to focus on the public administration aspects of emergencies and domestic crisis management. With fewer than 10,000 academics, practioners, and retires, it is not a huge body of personnel and some fear that with the passing of the generation that concieved of, implemented and operated the Federal Emergency Management Agency it has an uncertain future. I am not such a doubter. Why?

To me, just as EMT operations and HAZMATS operations today are principle activities of the FIRE SERVICE I would argue that EM could easily have come out of the FIRE SERVICE like EMT and HAZMATS. Two things precluded this. First, although civil defense against German air attacks on England in WWI and WWII were prepared against and responded to by the FIRE SERVICE, this was not really the pattern for the US. Instead a federal agency was created, the Office of Civil Defense, which even had a first lady for an official for a period of months, this organization had the job of stimulating the STATE and local governments to prepared for any air attack. This organization did not really survive WWII however and with the passage of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950, Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress, and enactment in 1951 an independent Executive Branch organization was established the Federal Civil Defense Administration which was not under the authority of the SECDEF but totally independent. Then following Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1958 when authority was vested exclusively in the President for certain emergency authorities including civil defense.

It is clear that once the atomic bombs were dropped after development that there was little interest in the FIRE SERVICE on taking on the tasteless, oderless, unseen, unfelt hazard of radiological releases. The medical profession was however an early adopter of radiation medicine and the profession of Health Physics largely developed to study the techical issues raised by radiation impacts on the human body.

Okay so EM again began to appear as a label in the early 1970's and was extensively utilized by the NGA in its Emergency Management study (6 volumes) that lead in part to the formation of FEMA. I will leave to others to document this history more closely.

Then when in 1994 Public Law 103-337 repealed the Federal Civil Defense Act but did incorporate a small portion into the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707) it largely substituted the words "Emergency Management" wherever the term "Civil defense" occurred in that previous act. The few exceptions that persist of the term "civil defense" appear to me to be just a case of legislative oversight.

IN a way I believe that perhaps the term should more accurately be "Civil Emergency Management" to reflect the fact that the profession of EM is largely a civil activity and cases in which the active or reserve Armed Forces of the US are utilized are very rare now although not at one time. ON this blog in other posts I have discussed issues relating to employment of the National Guard under Title 32 of the US Code when operating without being called to active duty and federalized under Title 10 of the US Code clearly seem to justify despite the military organization and chain of command falling within the purview of civil government. Especially since all NGs take a State Oath of Office even though they take a federal oath also. See US v. Persico (1983?) involving deployments internationally of the NG when in training status. The dual oath requirement was examined in that case when the Governor of Minnesota sued to prevent deployment of his NG units during their two weeks of training outside of the US.

So when discussing EM will try and use the additional word "Civil" until I can figure out how to avoid confusion with the CEM usage for Comprehensive Emergency Management. Perhaps, AH EM for all-hazards EM would be a better choice than CEM.

FEMA's Creation-PKEMA 2006

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

The statutory language is instructive:

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

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

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

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

TO: DHS Employees

FROM: Michael Chertoff /s

SUBJECT: Second Stage Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Does It Mean To Be an Operational Agency? Is FEMA such an agency?

Operations that require 24 by 7 by 365 days a year are expensive, difficult, staff intensive and very necessary in many situations and events. Here are my arguments pro and con considering FEMA as an operational agency and you can choose sides or arguments or make your own arguments.

First, note for the record that Director Louis O. Guiffrida in his major reorganization of FEMA effective September 1981 created an OPERATIONS Directorate. Headed by Acting Associate Directors for most of its time in existence until abolished in 1986 with the majority of the Career SES leading the charge to abolish that Directorate and its name it was never a comprehensive entity with authority over all operational aspects of FEMA programs, functions, and activities. IT did however have standby operations authority for certain classified operations and other activites. Headed by John LeBarre, a Princeton educated PhD for most of its life, and then William Williams, and briefly by Bruce Campbell all of which were career SESs and the order of their acting in the Associate Directorship may be wrong. No person was ever confirmed as a PAS head of the Emergency Operations Directorate but it contained some very senior FEMA career SES personnel including HOMER HERVEY another OEP survivor who had become part of GSA and then the Federal Preparedness Agency in GSA after the implementation of Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1973 which ended the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) as an office within the Executive Offices of the White House. It is interesting to note that no single document or study of the President's Reorganization Project Team exists to my knowledge that addressed the issue or policies necessary to make FEMA an operational agency. Director Guiffrida came to FEMA expecting to look out and see FEMA staff probably in uniforms sandbagging levees along with STATE and LOCAL workers. He was soon made to realize that 80% of FEMA staff and funding was located in the DC area and that was not likely to be changed. The EMPB [Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board] that operated for several years and in conjunction with the issuance of NSDD-47 entitled "Mobilization Preparedness" certainly comtemplated some mobilization operations in creating its implementation plan but this plan never was to become an architecture that guided any portion of FEMA. That result is explained in part by FEMA's disasterous efforts to become a National Security policy formulation organization which also failed.
The question then of FEMA's operational ambitions, authorities, and their implementation needs to be documented. Their is no operational authority for crisis management operations or even response or recovery outside of the Robert T. Stafford Act and even that statute fails to answer the question of FEMA's operational role even in support of the STATE and LOCAL governments. What has happened historically is that the STATES and LOCALS have deftly ignored disaster operational capability with a small number of exceptions. The leading examples of course are concerns like disaster temporary housing, debris removal and mass care and sheltering. Almost by default these programs have been left to FEMA to contract out or mission assign to other federal entities. Such contracting and mission assignment to me is often done with the urgency of operational needs but certainly cannot be categorized as operations in the sense of FEMA actually conducting the preponderance of the programs, functions or activities. Yet in some circumstances, FEMA has been charged with delegations that could make it operational, including the leading example of E.O. 12657 where FEMA is the operations entity should State and local plans for response to an offsite nuclear power plant fail for any reason, including STATE and LOCAL inability to participate. Is FEMA prepared to do this operation role? Not really! It does not have the staff or funding or whatever to conduct this mission. And it possible is an unlawful delegation given principles of federalism. Has the public been told this? Never specifically so there you have it with 20% of the nation's energy coming from these plants. Nor does FEMA have technical response capability event including Emergency Public Information as opposed to PUBLIC AFFAIRS. Surely some in FEMA have some training on issuance of recommendations of PAR's [Protective Action Recommendations] and PAD's [Protective Action Decisions] as is required under NRC case law but probably in no where near the numbers of personnel necessary. And notice even the Coast Guard in the BP catsatrophe was delinquent in issuance of EMERGENCY PUBLIC INFORMATION guidance to the general public or even STATE and LOCAL governments.

The recent issuance of a exercise policy guidance document by the Secretary DHS on August 17, 2010 failed to make clear whether actual operational tests would be conducted outside of the communications arena. Some may disagree with that conclusion but it is now clear to me that no one in the key appointee positions in DHS now or in the past is really trained as an operations leader with the exception of the Coast Guard, and certain individuals like FEMA's Administrator Craig Fugate. But the latter just does not have the operational horses to conduct operations should other federal entities or the STATE and LOCAL governments be required to conduct those operations and fail.

So here is the fix! Propose an Operations Directorate for FEMA and gain Congressional approval of that function from the Administration and Congress and make it part of the Stafford Act or other law. What does this actually entail? It entails confirming the legality of the postion expressed in E.O. 12657 that FEMA can operate when other entities fail and is given the staffing and fundings and authority to do so. This might in fact mean that on technical Emergency Public Information matters FEMA would be prima inter partes (first among equals) and be charges with saving lives through such operations or ensuring that other entities could do it without fail. Another example would be monitoring for contamination, conducting egress and access, operations, and formulating guidance to protect responders including FEMA personnel. Note that FEMA has never trained its personnel to operate in a Hazardous Environment and to deploy in such an environment without adequate protective gear and training could be considered a felony violation under OSHA.
At any rate hoping this post will cause some interest, including discussion of What should FEMA become in the future? My conclusion is that as current structured, designed and authorized it is very lacking as an operational safety net or for conduction around the clock operations. Please argue the case so I can learn?

What is a Catastrophe?

Section 602 of PKEMA 2006 defines the following in subsection (4):

"(4) the term ‘‘catastrophic incident’’ means any natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster that results in extraordinary levels of casualties or damage or disruption severely affecting the population (including mass evacuations), infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, or government functions in an area;"

Well attempts to deal with catastrophic situations and scenarios is one area in which I complement the Bush Administration. FEMA was statutorily prohibited from "catstrophic" or "worst case" planning to some degree by the President's Reorganization Plan No. 3. of 1978. That this conflicted with FEMA's delegated statutory authority just reflects again on the poor legal efforts mounted during the run-up to implementation of that plan. Note I was part of that but only in the sense that the words of the plan itself were never shown to all the members of the legal team until the very very last moment before its release to Congress. PKEMA 2006 also outlines a National Preparedness System so perhaps that and the HOMELAND SECURITY ACT of 2002 can safely be assumed to void that plan in its entirety including the planning restriction.

Since as readers of this blog know, there is no domestic civil crisis management system or chain of command, and the Stafford Act does not create such a system or chain of command, nor is a comprehensive all-hazards statute, the efforts of the Bush Administration to deal with 15 catastrophic scenarios later consolidated into eight at least attempted to draw attention to what situations/incidents/events were so beyond the normal domestic response sysem capability that they required new paradigms to deal with them.

My own definition of "catastrophic Event" is slightly different than the above. MINE WOULD READ: Wherever governmental operations are disrupted or the incident/event precludes those operations, and/or the event involves multiple geographically dispersed areas beyond the boundries or one state, and/or federal, state, and local existing EM capability is exceeded then the event can be assumed to be catastrophic in its consequences and should be considered as such for all response mechanisms and responders involved!

Thus capabilities must be closely analyzed in advance to determine rapidly whether my definition is triggered. The failure to document closely the actual existing response capability of federal departments and agencies, state and local capability and private capabilities including NGO's means that my definition cannot in fact operate. It is only determined as a condition subsequent to the determination of capability. Thus, efforts to mandate or review plans under documents like CPG-101 as a largely paper audit are worthless. Instead like the military, these capabilities must be continuously update, and verified and reported 24/7 and 365 days a year. FEMA has no capability now to determine such capabilties even though they are mandated by statute to do so. This is the key deficiency in the way FEMA is organized and operated today and has been since its creation and beginning of operations on April 1, 1979.

So I series of posts will follow analyzing federal, state, and local actual capability but first their will be discussion of newly created offices and organizations in FEMA since PKEMA 2006 and DHS generally. Perhaps the NATIONAL RESPONSE COORDINATION CENTER in FEMA and the NATIONAL OPERATIONS CENTER in DHS would be a good starting point. Both of these organizations were created or mandated under various statutes. More to follow! And as always just want noted that NO regulated industry is involved in the original 15 catastrophic scenarios, which perhaps indicated a pernicious absence of willingness to deal with the problems created by regulate technology, such as off-shore drilling. As I have asked before what if the BP Catastrophe had been triggered by terrorist attack? Such an attack did occur in Kuwait prior to Desert Storm precipitated by a nation-state, IRAQ under Saddam Hussein.

A FEMA Leaning Forwards?

Please note that PKEMA 2006 is now extracted from Public Law 109295 and available under legislation on the home page of the blog.
Extract from that extract follows:

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator shall establish a prepositioned equipment program to preposition standardized emergency equipment in at least 11 locations to sustain and replenish critical assets used by State, local, and tribal governments in response to (or rendered inoperable by the effects of) natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
(b) NOTICE.—The Administrator shall notify State, local, and tribal officials in an area in which a location for the prepositioned equipment program will be closed not later than 60 days before the date of such closure."

In my time in FEMA, 1979-1999, when visiting regions I found many with sort of amatuerish stockpiles in the Regional Offices. I am assuming that by the time the language above was enacted these stockpiles were somewhat more orderly and well managed but maybe not. The only stockpiled items I knew of were for temporary housing in the form of new or refurbishedd mobile homes, manufactured homes, RVs or whatever. We do know that almost 20,000 of the RV type temporary housing stockpile at one time represented those with identified formaldehyde problems but designed for short term use only and decaying in ARKANSA. Not sure what exactly has happened on this issue. There were also after Hurricane Hugo stockpiles of 10 mil tarping to cover storm damaged roofs. AT one time after the 2004 Hurricanes (4 hit Florida) there were over 50,000 blue roofed Florida houses several years afterwards, and maybe still?

It does seem that Congress gets the fact that FEMA had an ineffective logistics and supply network prior to Hurricane Katrina and it would be interesting to know what beyond generators and tarps and MREs are now stockpiled in these eleven centers assuming they exist. Looking at the FEMA org charts, HQs and Regions it is difficult to be enlightened who has responsibility for these centers and of course the availability of any "operations research" to use that obsolete terminology would be of interest to determine how to develop, implement, and operate these mandated stockpiles.

FEMA by the way in its inception in 1979 had policy level input to the National Defense Stockpile but lost it within months of FEMA's creation due largely to the lack of interest and organization in FEMA to the nuances of this assignment. Congress actually repealed the FEMA authority and mandated a new assignment of the authority in the Executive Branch. In E.O. 12626 it went to DOD with GSA having some role as well as DLA. Then of course FEMA in its assignment to DHS had the National Stockpile authority for medically related items but that has long since been returned to HHS from DHS. So the history of stockpiling and FEMA is not a particulary pretty one and indicates the more technical the subject, FEMA's largely disrespectful attitude to those with technical knowledge has undermined its status within the Executive Branch. This has led, somewhat accurately, to FEMA being labeled the STATE and LOCAL ATM, giving out money and unfortunately not even fulflling its role of giving out accurate information to those impacted by incidents and events. It would be of interest to know exactly how FEMA relates to the National Operations Center in DHS also established by PKEMA 2006.

That stated I have had some personal involvement in the leaning forwards history of FEMA while independent and even today.
First, as background the incident/event involving the core-melt of one of the reactors at Three-Mile Island Nuclear Power Station [TMI] in Harrisburg, PA occurred in the first spring that FEMA was created. Governor Thornberg (sic) later AG of the US did not want a disaster declared and was a very pronuclear fellow. Witness his backing of E.O. 12657 which still exists and assigns FEMA as the safety net for any STATE and LOCAL planning or operational deficinincies in responding to nuclear power station emergencys impacting off-site. So no declaration but expensive setting up costs and other related expenses. There was a shadow evacuation or spontaneous evacuation but no generalized evacuation order given at TMI!
Perhaps not strangely but awkwardly I ran the FIA and Disaster GC ops during the period April 1, 1979, when FEMA opened its doors under E.O. 12127 until September 10, 1979 when officially hired by FEMA. We were housed in HUD OGC and I was later to learn after physical consolidation in the so-called Premier Bldg. [it wasn't] on I street in NW near the White House that most of the FEMA mail, FIA mail, and FDAA mail was discarded by the HUD mail operation that first year. Well hey what can you expect? At anyrate recieved a phone call from FEMA's real GC, George Jett and he said with several hours notice that I was to meet with GAO on an important subject, but when asked what that subject was George said he was not sure. So outnumber 6 to 1 I met with GAO.
The question was a relatively simple one: Could the costs of the predeployment be paid out of the President's Disaster Relief Fund [DRF]? Since the costs were already incurred naturally I took the position that they could be paid out of the DRF. GAO took the opposite position. So these meetings and there were several involved analysis of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288) as the controlling statute. Well to some degree it ended in a Mexican standoff. GAO found that no difficiency had occurred but strongly suggested statutory clarification. I remember executing a memorandum to the file on those meetings but in transferring to the Premier Bldg lost in translation I guess.

Surprisingly I was again tossed into the fray in early fall 1992 when Patricia Gormley came into my office and said to me I want you to meet with me and GAO. When I asked the subject I was again told, I am not sure. Well one can always ask? Even if not always answered. At anyrate GAO again outnumbered FEMA OGC but at least the GC was present. The subject: Could FEMA fund in advance of a declaration the expenses of leaning forwards and predeploy? This was not really done in Hurricane Andrew but later by Hurricane INIKI it was FEMA policy established by Grant Peterson. Stangely, the FEMA leadership, except for Grant Peterson [the Associate Director for State and Local Programs and Support in the first Bush Administration] took the position that authority was not just absent but barred forwards leaning or deployment and that any delays or misteps in response to Andrew [Does this sound like Katrina?] were because the statute [by then the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-707)absolutely barred such forwards leaning and deployment. Of course IMO this was not and never was the case. But some language supportive of forwards deployment and leaning oddly had been eliminated from the DRA of 1974 in the enactment of the Stafford Act. Many in FEMA got major awards for their part in seeing through passage of the STAFFORD ACT but rarely do agencies willing agree to compromise their own discretion and legal authority which apparently was done. During this period I was largely absent from HQ's FEMA tilting at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station windmill on Long Island, NY. Even so I argued again to GAO citing their review of the issue at TMI that legal authority existed to forwards lean almost forever. Oddly supportive of this position I know of several cases where disaster outlays occurred with NO declaration including one mandated by Congress in Kansas when Bob Dole was Majority Leader in the US Senate.

This post was prompted in part by phone conversations with George W. Watson, Acting GC of FEMA from spring 1988 to 1991 and with the agency even longer. George told me that the same issue had arisen in Hurricane Hugo which heavily impacted the US Virgin Islands in 1989 and later impacted the Carolina's including one of my favorite cities, Charleston, S.C.

Well the bottom line is that two continuing themes are revealed by this history. Garbeled though it may be. The Stafford Act was never really amended to clarify the issue but FEMA definitely forward leans now and no one challenges that utilization of its discretion or authority.

And if you notice by reading closely, the language quoted earlier in this post is NOT an amendment of the STAFFORD ACT and is defective from that standpoint. It calls for establishment of the stockpiles but not their utiliztion in any declared or undeclared disaster or emergency. Hey perhaps no one still at home when it comes to statutory construction and review of legislative language in FEMA. I will of course as always copy DHS/OIG and GAO on this post which they can read if they like and really really well past the time when this might be a question. And of course one of the reasons this does NOT amend the Stafford Act is because PKEMA 2006 largely came from the Homeland Security Committee in the House not the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of that chamber. Hey POGO it is not US that is the enemy perhaps but maybe the Congress and its organization that creates these stovepipes. Oh, is it Hurricane Danielle that is pearing round the corner right now?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Axemakers Gift?

I have decided to make my weekend posts more philosophical and weekday posts more technical. So this may help some to skip over what they don't want to review.

I do note on the page counter installed earlier this month that over 2000 have viewed the blog and hoping they found some things of interest.

Grabbing the name of the book published several years ago by writer James Burke and adding the question mark might seem a long ways from EM/HS! That book discussed the two-edged sword of technology and seems well accepted that the hand axe was the first real human achievement after the mastery of fire. Or should I say ability to start a fire. And always enjoyed the movie "Quest For Fire" which revealed the travails of neolithic peoples to catch a spark but also revealed fictionally the missonary position first use ever on the character played by the beautiful actress Rae Dong Chong, daughter of Tommy Chong.

Okay enough. Even Jared Diamond follows on with his interesting question "What was the person cutting down the last tree on EASTER ISLAND thinking"? Probably just wanted to cook the night's food or stay warm. Unfortunately it does seem that technology is always looked on as beneficial and not much in the way of thought given to its detrimental fallout.

In various lectures at ICAF [Industrial College of the Armed Forces] and at NETC [National Emergency Training Center] is used to blackboard graph the upwards sloping curve of probability versus consequences in a sort of primitive risk analysis paradigm. Typically as the probability increased the consequences increased. But of course it is the low probability event with high consequences that worries most thinking EM/HS types. The bombing of the WTC in 1993 and 2001 probabilistically was low but it was played in several major exercises that I was aware of including planes flying into the towers. Condi Rice's testimony under oath that no one had thought of planes being used as attack vehicles demonstrates to me her lack of background to be NSC advisor since a Tom Clancy bestseller had just such a scenario. JAL hitting the Capitol. I am glad it was airplanes and not a NUDET. Well anyhow. Trivia aside, and of course learning trivia the real reason I stayed at FEMA all those many years so I could be entertaining at cocktail parties by demonstrating my knowledge of which Hurricanes, or Earthquakes hit the US in what year.

Still back to focus! The Russians (yes the Russians)threw the switch on the start of Iran's first nuclear reactor on August 21, 2010. The atomic age actually started long before the bombs of the summer of 1945 exploded domestically and over Japan (both were airbursts)! Madame Marie Curie, the only woman to win a NOBEL PRIZE in Chemistry died of her search for knowledge of radioactivity. She was not to be the last, although still the only female NOBEL chemistry prize winner!

I have spent considerable amount of time on nuclear issues including service as a NAICO [Nuclear Accident Incident Control Officer) while on active duty in Europe. I once almost went to work for the old Atomic Energy Commission. A highschool friend's dad was first GC of the AEC and then a Commissioner.

When the bombs burst there were mixed emotions expressed by the Scientists and Engineers who had developed those explosive devices. Dr. Robert Oppenhemier's comment from the HINDU Baggavista [sic] "I have seen DEATH" still haunts humanity. Still the hope was for power cheaper than water and thus a new ability of mankind to control technology for peaceful purposes. Perhaps in some ways this post is a memorial to my friend Walmer "Jerry" Strope who died a short while ago at age 92 and was actively involved in radiological defense issues from the end of WWII to the day of his death. His obit is available from me. He was the leading civil defense technical researcher for almost 4 decades and worthy of mention on this blog.

What the proponents of nuclear power did not realize and still don't publically express is that each nuclear power plan can lead to weapons production and knowledge helpful to that development. Who has been the world's biggest proliferator if that is accurate, of course the US! Now over 55 countries have some form of research and power reactors. And certainly nuclear medicine and its oncologists have saved many lives since the early use of xrays for diagnosis and treatment. My own grandfather was first kept alive and then killed by such treatment. I also am a decade long survivor of nuclear medicine. So again the Axemakers Gift.

I am 68 and lived in a simpler world most of my life based on the relatively few nuclear weapons capable and delivery capable nation-states. Non-state actors possession or control of nuclear devices is still an unknown but clearly the WMD efforts of the federal government are entirely inadquate and that has repeatedly been documented. Well in 2015 the atomic age will be 70 years old with still no adequate controls on proliferation in sight. Which President should be blamed for the lack of proliferation controls on nuclear weapons? All must share the blame. And of course as always hoping for a better world.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where is Congress?

Many events occurring while the Congress is recessed until Monday the 13th of September. Since Congress working sessions and floor action are largely confined to three days a week, effectively the 14th is when action in the 111th Congress will continue. An OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT is highly likely and for the first time ever since DHS created probably DHS will be rolled into it. This could be a disaster since cutting the budget in an arbitrary manner seems foreordained for the Fiscal Year [FY] beginning October 1st. Such an enormous bill will, however, feed the many lobbyists that thrive on extended late night sessions and Congressional disarray and probably many many earmarks also. So like the Oklahoma Land Rush the starting gun will go off on the 14th. Very few actual "legislative days" left before the Congress adjourns, not recesses, for the election. Discussion of a "lame duck" session already underway where the PRESIDENT would recall Congress for that session.

So here goes my laundry list for the remainder of the 111th and the Special Session and the new Congress.

First the rest of the regular session of the 111th Congress and remember as always this blog focuses on Emergency Management and HOMELAND Security.
These are my priorities:
1. No earmarks for DHS and FEMA.
2. Mandate mitigation outlays as a percentage of disaster outlays. No discretion.
3. Mandate that programs, functions, and activities in FEMA DHS without authorization be specifically listed in a report to be listed before the election. Thus, all programs, functions and activities with appropriations but without authorization would be made publically available for the first time.
4. Add 10% each year to the Coast Guard's funding and staffing for the next five years.
5. Mandate that the National Flood Insurance Program cannot provide any coverage for events which are not disclosed on its maps, including levee and dam failures.
6. Mandate NO Flood Insurance availablility where USACOE projects have been constructed. An either/or choice for each STATE and Community.
7. Mandate that NO community without Zoning or building code authority over its flood plains as designated by teh NFIP shall be provided flood insurance.
8. Mandate that any structure found post-flood to violate STATE or LOCAL building codes or violate zoning laws related to flooding which has coverage, will have that coverage VOIDED AB INITIO.
9. Mandate that the Robert T. Stafford Act be studied for enactment into positive law and reorganized to provide the following: A technical assistance title, a financial assistance title, a listing of all large-scale catastrophic events for which no disaster or emergency declaration may be provided because another statutory scheme for reimbursement of the public and STATE and LOCAL governments provides such reimbursement. And consolidation of all waste, fraud, and abuse provisions into a single title including the adoption of a provision similar to that of 18 USC Section 1001 for all DHS and FEMA programs, functions and activities.
10. That all programs, functions, and activities in DHS and FEMA be analyzed in a report to be submitted to the 112th Congress discussing how those programs, functions, activities contribute to all-hazards preparedness, prevention, protection, response, recovery and mitigation or discuss why they do not contribute and should be assigned elsewhere in the Executive Branch.

Second: The Lame Duck session. There will be one and will explain later.
1. Elimination of the so-called Emergency Program of the NFIP by repeal of 42 USC Section 4106.
2. Mandate no flood insurance except in designated V zones, AH zones, and A zones on NFIP maps.
3. Mandate no insurance in any community that only has USGS 50' conture interval maps.
4. Mandate no NFIP coverage of installed or uninstalled carpet.
5. Mandate that the definitions in Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Act be utilized throughout that statute and where there are conflicts other definitions will be repealed.
6. A study be provided on whether the NFIP should be confined to coastal counties as designated by the CZMA [Coastal Zone Management Act] only and should if the answer is yes should the mapping and scientific aspects of the NFIP be transferred to NOAA and the insurance functions to the Department of the Treasury. This study to be completed to be submitted with the submission of the FY 2012 budget and State of the Union address next year.
7. Whereever the word "mitigation" appears in the US code the word "resilience" should be substituted but defined so as to also include as part of any definition the term "mitigation".
8. A Congressional finding should be added to the NFIP that its goals and purposes include promoting "resiliency, limit to the extent possible functionally dependent uses in the nation's floodplains, and in general should promote protection of the environment, including the recognition of the statutory purposes supoprting the NFIP listed at 44 CFR Sections Part 59 and following including the addition of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
9. The Robert T. Stafford Act be amended to mandate that only non-profit corporations and entities that are federally tax exempt are eligible for public assistance in addition to other existing statutory requirements.
10. That a study be conducted of the systems and processes both FEMA and DHS use or will utilize for crisis management when there is or is not a Stafford Act declaration. This study to be submitted with the FY 2012 budget to Congress and with the State of the Union address.

Third: For the 112th Congress!

I. Establish several new joint committees including one for CRISIS MANAGMENT, HOMELAND SECURITY and EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS and MANAGEMENT;
II. All statutes authorizing programs, functions and activities in DHS shall be authorized only with the consent of the joint committee established above, or absent that establishment the HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE in the HOUSE and the HOMELAND SECURITY and Governmental Committee in the Senate.
III. The authorizing committee for the Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974,as amended shall be either the JOINT Committee named above or in absence of its establishment the respective HOMELAND SECURITY Committees of the House and Senate.
IV. A report shall be prepared for the 112th Congress to be submitted no later than the second session of that Congress examining how exactly the DHS and FEMA collaborate and cooperate with the WHITE HOUSE, foreign countries, other Executive Branch components, including negative reports if necessary, and foreign countries and allies.
V. A report on how the divisions of authority between the STATE department and DHS on immigration and visas is operating, including progress and problems. And the same for the ajudication system for immigration appeals in DOJ and DHS.
VI. A report on the implications for federalism and homeland security and emergency preparedness and management of the curtailment and fiscal problems of STATE and LOCAL government over the next decade. This report to be submitted by the second session of the 112th Congress.
VII. A coherent explanation of the history and current treatment of all-hazards emergency management and homeland security and its implications for technical response activities including WMD programs, funtions, and activities. To be submitted to the 112th Congress at the beginning of its second session.
VIII. A coherent history of cyber security efforts in the DHS since its inception and progress since DHS inception to be submitted to the second session of the 112th Congress.
IX. A finding to be added to the Robert T. Stafford Act to indicate that it is NOT an all-hazards statute nor an architecture for crisis management in the Executive Branch.
X. A study of the implementation of EO 12656 and implications of its repeal or replacement before it is in fact repealed or superseded shall be furnished to Congress and the appropriate committees.

Well there you have it and let's come back in February 2012 and see what happened.

What Is The Fire Service?

Oddly as a child I was not fascinated by the roaring and clanging of fire trucks and other vehicles. Probably an early sign of some abnormality in a young male. Yet it is important that I really only started to focus on the Fire Service when I joined FEMA on September 10, 1979, almost 32 years ago. The Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 had been largely created and sponsored by Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington state. "Maggie" as he was known to all was one of the longest serving Senators ever. Led first by Howard Tipton, the United States Fire Administration was first housed in the Department of Commerce before being wrapped into the new formed FEMA under Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978. That incorporation was to result in an unhappy immediate future for the USFA and its leadership. First, the campus it hoped to obtain in downtown N.W. Washington D.C. the campus of the former women's college Marjory Webster was determined to be off limits for a federal campus like training activity. When that was rejected and that facility transferred through legislative slight of hand to Galludet University--the so-called federal university for the deaf-- in Washington, D.C. a matching appropriation majically showed up allowing the purchase of the former St. Joseph's College For Women in Emmittsburg, MD. That choice was fortuitus and has proved to be the Jewel in the Crown for FEMA although sometimes that facility was outside of FEMA as during the period in which Michael Chertoff's 2SR operated, essentially from October 2005-March 2007. It should also be pointed out that I count at least seven (7) major training campus like operations in DHS including the largest, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Facility in Glyncoe, GA, transferred from the US Treasury. Always remember of course that the first head of TSA before DHS existed, and now one of the largest components of DHS, was in reality fired for trying to turn TSA into a major law enforcement agency. The fact that it is one of the largest federal law enforcement entities of course was not ignored by DOJ and its continued attempts to stamp out rivals anywhere including the underfunded, understaffed FEMA throughout it days of independence before there was a DHS. The fundamental insecurity of DOJ has caused many problems worthy of detailed study and analysis but not on this blog.

It turned out that one of FEMA's first major tests was the explosion and eruption and pyroclastic flows of Mt.St. Helens and it all happened in "Maggie's" state. Spring 1980. Firefighting was a heavy component of the response but note that the Fire Service generally is divided into three parts, just like Gaul. First the typical metropolitian department. Second the wildland/urban interface experts. And then third the modern remainder in their own culture and expertise the EMT and HAZMATS and Terrorism response types all under the umbrella of the Fire Service.

Disclosure, post-retirement I once bought a table for a two year period at the Congressional Fire Caucus Dinner. These tables cost me $1000 each. It proved a good investment because of the insights gained. Essentially I saw on both occasions promises made to the FIRE SERVICE that were breached almost immediately, and in one case, promises to the Fire Service in a dinner speech by the first DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, breached by him in Congressional testimony the next morning.

Despite the fact that a democratic controlled Congress created the Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974, since amended several times, the Republicans when in the White House have not favored the USFA or the Fire Service generally. I have posted on this subject before. Perhaps they caught OMB's budget distaste for the FIRE SERVICE as a largely STATE and LOCAL issue. As I have stated before regardless of this prejudice the largest force of trained or semi-trained professional and volunteer first responders in the USA is the Fire Service. This force must be protected and leveraged by the federal government to provide both EM and HS capability.

Also of note is that the FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT of 1974, as amended is under the authorization authority of the respective SCIENCE committees in the Congress. I would recommend that the next Congress create a JOINT COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC SAFETY with jurisdiction over this statute. Certainly it would be opposed, more heavily by the Judiciary Committees but they have more than enough to do with dealing with issues related to WMD law enforcement, cyber security and domestic INTEL which have been largely ignored by other Committees. Of course I have also recommended that much of the existing DOJ be transferred to DHS with DOJ retaining the litigation function primarily and certain other programs, functions, and activities. The drug war certainly should be in DHS and oddly the FIRE SERVICE is not a full member in that WAR ON DRUGS as rural meth labs and other HAZMAT sites are often attacked by a joint force of police and fire. They are very dangerous sites by the way and interesting I personally don't know if USFA or the Fire Academy provide specific training in knocking over a illegal drug lab. HAZMATS training is provided by several elements in DHS, including the NOBLE Center at former Ft. McClennan in Alabama, and at the National Fire Academy.

Gordon Vickery, a Senate confirmed Fire Administrator actually ran FEMA for almost 6 months as its door opened. Guess where he had been Fire Chief? Yup! Seattle. One of the things I liked is that he mandated CPR certification for all FEMA employees. A great policy choice despite the mutterings of FEMA employees. It later saved many including former Director John Macy when post-FEMA he had a heart attack during a deposition on the issue of whether FEMA Regional Directors should be career or political.

Note that at one time and I believe again now FEMA has a Fire slot in each region. This should be expanded upon. After all note that former Battlion and City Fire Chiefs have led FEMA long after the departure of Gordon Vickery.

Well this post has gotten rather long, but more will follow as I try and suggest ways the FIRE SERVICE can be better leveraged for conducting their actual role in EM/HS and public saftey. The largest body of responders.

And USFA and the Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 are currently authorized through FY 2012.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All-Hazards Preparedness

Apparently the all-hazard's debate that helped destroy FEMA when incorporated into DHS has ended and now FEMA is restored to official bureau status in DHS with only limited tampering allowed organizationally by the Secretary DHS. N.B. She [Secretary DHS] has formally asked Congress to release her from restrictions on reorganization in DHS. Always more fun to reorganize than actually accomplish something. Now not just the restored FEMA but DHS is doctrinally in favor of all-hazards analysis. Some elements of course have not kept up since presumably all-hazards would encompass WMD prevention, protection, detection, response and recovery. The so-called RADEF program abolished by Director James Lee Witt in the mid-90's over the objections of the National Security Council has yet to be restored anywhere in FEMA or even DHS. A story in itself. The Fire Service of course is officially not an all-hazards culture but it is in fact all-hazards except for hazards that cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or felt which is why it totally rejected the notion of becoming involved in the federal civil defense effort from 1950-1994 when strategic nuclear attack was largely the focus of that program.

Of course, one year prior to its repeal by Public Law 103-337 the CDA of 1950 (Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress) was amended to make it officially all-hazards by Public Law 103-160. Still the Fire Service never saw radiological preparedness and response as part of its portfolio. So we can safely say now in the summer of 2010 that Fire Service training although nominally including terrorism rarely has involved the majority of its personnel in training on various kinds of lethal agents. Some training to be sure. And we also know that few departments have SCBA [Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus] adequate to protect against WMD or CBRNE environments. Still they receive a lot of federal bucks and I believe this capability should be a federal concern and priority even for funding. After all IMO WMD issues are the big one for DHS generally and if there ever is a NUDET and our form of government survives it is certain that the "which" hunt will involve DHS officals and their programs, functions and activities and what was NOT accomplished before the event.
That stated what is the fastest way the OBAMA Administration could in fact make sure that the entirety of the federal Executive Branch was given an all-hazards preparedness focus? Here is my suggestion!

First Executive Order 12656 is under open review throughout the Executive Branch for revision or revocation! That is a fact and not certain what DHS will recommend but looks increasingly likely that FEMA will recommend through DHS or to OMB directly that repeal is in order without further study. There are several complex reasons for this but if you regard the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act,Public Law 100-707, as the FEMA charter this recommendation would make sense. Of course all should know that FEMA is not in fact chartered by the Stafford Act and that statute largely vests authority in the President who can delegate wherever and to whomever he wishes. The references to the Federal Civil Defense Act and the Defense Production Act and the Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1958 in the Exective Order 12656 should be replaced as obsolete and erroneous and instead the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended, and 3 US Code Section 301 cited as the new authority.

How should the text of E.O. 12656 be modified. First by incorporation of most of the text of NSDD-47 (1982) the first truly all-hazards Presidential document ever issued. Second, by incorporation of the NSEC [National System for Emergency Coordination] issued January 1988 by the Reagan Administration. And the language of all-hazards should be used to assing specific lead and support roles to each of the various federal executive branch agency's that are necessary in forging a comprehensive federal response. By the way an index to subject matter in E.O. 12656 preparedn under contract by FEMA in mid-90's has been posted on the FAS website for FEMA materials and provides a clue as to what impact outright repeal might have on agency and department accountability for all-hazards preparedness.

Well admittedly this would take substantial work and coordination but then with the huge NSS operation now running national security and homeland security despite several large departments already overfunded and overstaffed, specifically DOD and DHS, this should NOT be impossible.

Hey time for the Administration to step up to the plate since some predict that activity on the San Andreas fault for the "big one" has been underestimated by up to two-thirds of the actual probablity in next 75 years. That assessment indicates a big one every 88 years on average over geologic time. So time to get going!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why is the White House Staff So Young (and so inexperienced)?

I have just finished reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Times" published in 1994 and largely focused on personal relationships of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. The modern Presidency essentially started with FDR so it always will be of interest and not the least because of his 4-time election to the Presidency. Even though Ms. Goodwin does a great job she pulls her punches on several issues. But the book gives insight into the complicated personalities of both FDR and Eleanor.

Over a life time of observing Washington and its operations, and note I used to go to Congress to listen to debates from time to time from 8th grade on, I still am puzzled about some things that happen in Washington. For example it was only near the end of my civil service career that I found out that not just Ambassadorships were often bought by political contributions but even career SES jobs after the creation of that rank by President James Earl Carter in Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 or was it No. 2 of 1978. You might remember that Reorganization Plan No. 3. of 1978 created FEMA. Still although Carter effectively ended the civil service for those above GS-15 (and maybe below because in many departments and agencies GS-15 and below positions are signed off by the agency or department head)largely because of the threat of geographic reassignment, that result probably was not foreseen. Even after 20 months in officer the vast majority of SES personnel nominally career in the US government are in fact those who obtained their positions during a Republican Adminstration. It alwasy interests me how little studied the Career SES ranks are by the Public Administration types who continue to argue that there is in fact a civil service. I argue against that conclusion but as always willing to hear the arguments. And note yes some bitter grapes because I was never an SES career or non-career.

Okay with that preface, see the label and question for today's post! It has always fascinated me that so many in the White House have so little broad guage experience. What interests me about both FDR and Truman is the broadguage people they hired or used or whatever. Some of these like Louis Howe, Harry Hopkins, and Henry Stimson and George Marshall were clearly broad guaged people with particular expertise that FDR recognized.

Ms. Goodwin also recognizes and discusses the amazing impact Eleanor had on FDR and the NEW DEAL even though clearly lost many times. Her energy and activities helped a physically crippled President have eyes and ears that otherwise might have caused him to be even more "cocooned" than many in that office.

That stated the primary reason so many "Youngins" are White House staffers is their loyalty to the President and their energy. These are clearly necessary and in particular for any kind of modern Presidency which is always activist in creating or destroying federal programs, functions, or activities, and interfacing with Congress and the public. The fact that President's largely rely on pre-Presidency friendships and relationships is largely a factor of trust and lack of time to form really new friends or relationships once in the Presidency. Not to say some don't try. But this also explains the intense frenzy of people to align with a Presidential candidate who might have the chance of winning the office. Clearly a White House position can be a step up the ladder for many and result in a huge increase in employability whether one succeeds or not in his/her White House job. It is of some interest that a number of key players, including FDR himself, had no post-employment issues because they died while in service to FDR or shortly after leaving FDR's White House often with physical, psychological, medical ailments that were the cause of their death.

That stated what I find of real interest although it might appear non-substantive at first is SEX, or the frisson of sex, that seems to permeate the White House. It clearly did involve FDR, who although crippled the entirety of his White House years, was completely energized by the youth beauty and energy of several members of the opposite sex including Eleanor although they apparently ended intimate relations after the birth of their sixth child, the discovery of FDR's affair with Lucy Mercy (later married a Rutherford), and his paralysis from polion. None the less I would argue that they (FDR and Eleanor) did love each other but neither were faithful to some extent.

FDR's relationships with Princess Martha of Norway, Missy LeHand, Lucy Mercy and others clearly indicate that he was energized by female intellect, beauty and energy and this continued throughout his life. I can understand this because even I have often been awestruck when faced with real intelligence, beauty and energy in the opposite sex throughout my life. Perhaps I can blame it on being delivered by the most famous obstetrician in the history of Minneapolis, MN, Dr. Nora Winthrop, M.D. who delivered me on August 4, 1942. Hey so the first person I ever saw was a very comptent female doc while all the males had been drafted and gone away.

While FDR focused his interests on and in the opposite sex, clearly Eleanor had a wide variety of relationships with both men and women. Her relatiohships with NY State Trooper Miller and Joe Lash were just two of many. Her little cottage built by FDR for her at Hyde Park was exclusively a women's enclave.

What we will never know is whether any of these multiplicity of relationships of FDR and Eleanor were fully consummated but what is clear is that the frisson of sex permeated the relationships of both FDR and Eleanor. He was physically handicapped although apparently not impotent after POLIO. She was emotionally handicapped and thus needed variety to fulfill her emotional needs. Physical needs may in fact have been more limited in needing satisfaction. Some wit once said that male and female relationships underpin most of the strivings of humans, whether realized sexually or sublimated in some way. But that fact leads to today's post.

Who is eligible mate in the White House is often of interest to the MSM? And who is involved with who is often the subject of some restraint but certainly not weddings or engagements of WH staff. The interest in Peter Orzag recently departed head of OMB is a good example. The activities of adult children of any President is always treated with great interest and constant invasions of privacy by the MSM.

So I conclude that while FDR and Eleanor brought us the modern Presidency, and while other President's clearly had sexual interests, FDR and Eleanor used and were sustained by sex or its frisson in their manipulation and use of their political power but as always with two highly focused people largely to attain political ends. FDR just to keep functioning in the face of enormus burdens and Eleanor to help achieve accomplishment of her political objectives. In other words both used sex to their own ends. Perhaps it is always such but Ms. Goodwin's book clearly should have discussed how the power welded by FDR and Eleanor was used by them in designing their social and political arrangements.

And also of course, both FDR and Eleanor set an example not of sexual predation but of the fact that the stimulus of sex and its frisson was in at least one WH used to accomplish political goals. As Henry Kissinger is reputed to have stated: "Power is the Ultimate Aprhodisiac".

Personnally I do think many of the world's most beautiful, energetic and intelligent women dominate Washington's Culture and foreign powers beware if they ever capture the Presidency. These would be formidable allies or opponents as their rise in Congress and the Executive Branch can many times attest. If you are a heterosexual male and cannot find a "soulmate" in Washington then perhaps you really don't want an equal or a partner, so go back to the hinterlands.

Back to more substance or at least a different kind of substance in the next postings.

Monday, August 23, 2010

NLE Part 3

I have long been a defender of various kinds of exercises included rigorous ones when on active duty including those by the former DASA (Defense Atomic Support Agency) and other military commands, and the AEC. Ironic that I was both lawyer and fact witness for two largest administrative law proceedings in US history, the Shoreham and Seabrook Nuclear Power Stations. Another story another time.

I think it is important in review the recent DHS Secretary memo on exercises to look at the statutory mandates of PKEMA 2006 on exercises. They follow:

(1) IN GENERAL.—Beginning not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in coordination with the heads of appropriate Federal agencies,
the National Council on Disability, and the National Advisory Council, shall carry out a national exercise program to test and evaluate the national preparedness goal, National Incident Management System, National Response Plan, and other related plans and strategies.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.—The national exercise program—
(A) shall be—
(i) as realistic as practicable, based on current risk assessments, including credible threats,
vulnerabilities, and consequences, and designed to stress the national preparedness system;
(ii) designed, as practicable, to simulate the partial or complete incapacitation of a State, local, or tribal government;
(iii) carried out, as appropriate, with a minimum degree of notice to involved parties regarding the timing and details of such exercises, consistent with safety considerations;
(iv) designed to provide for systematic evaluation of readiness; and
(v) designed to address the unique requirements of populations with special needs; and
(B) shall provide assistance to State, local, and tribal governments with the design, implementation, and evaluation of exercises that—
(i) conform to the requirements under subparagraph (A);
(ii) are consistent with any applicable State, local, or tribal strategy or plan; and
(iii) provide for systematic evaluation of readiness.
(3) NATIONAL LEVEL EXERCISES.—The Administrator shall periodically, but not less than biennially, perform national exercises for the following purposes:
(A) To test and evaluate the capability of Federal, State, local, and tribal governments to detect, disrupt, and prevent threatened or actual catastrophic acts of terrorism, especially those involving weapons of mass destruction.
(B) To test and evaluate the readiness of Federal, State, local, and tribal governments to respond and recover in a coordinated and unified manner to catastrophic incidents.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.—The Administrator, in coordination with the National Council on Disability and the National Advisory Council, shall establish a comprehensive system to assess, on an ongoing basis, the Nation’s prevention capabilities and overall preparedness, including operational readiness.
(b) PERFORMANCE METRICS AND MEASURES.—The Administrator shall ensure that each component of the national preparedness system, National Incident Management System, National Response
Plan, and other related plans and strategies, and the reports required under section 652 is developed, revised, and updated with clear and quantifiable performance metrics, measures, and outcomes.
(c) CONTENTS.—The assessment system established under subsection (a) shall assess—
(1) compliance with the national preparedness system, National Incident Management System, National Response Plan, and other related plans and strategies;
(2) capability levels at the time of assessment against target capability levels defined pursuant to the guidelines established under section 646(a);
(3) resource needs to meet the desired target capability levels defined pursuant to the guidelines established under section 646(a); and
(4) performance of training, exercises, and operations.

The Administrator, in coordination with the National Council on Disability and the National Advisory Council, shall establish a remedial action management program to—
(1) analyze training, exercises, and real-world events to identify and disseminate lessons learned and best practices;
(2) generate and disseminate, as appropriate, after action reports to participants in exercises and real-world events; and
(3) conduct remedial action tracking and long-term trend

More on exercises to follow!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

NLE Part 2

Buried in Public Law 109-295, the DHS appropriation act for 2007, signed on October 4, 2006, was TITLE VI-National Emergency Preparedness, the statutory basis of the "new" FEMA and effective March 31, 2007. Under that title referred to as PKEMA 2006 by this blogger, Subtitle C--Comprehensive Preparedness System, in its Chapter 1--National Preparedness System were three sections with mandates on exercises. These included Section 648-TRAINING AND EXERCISES paragraph (b) National Exercise Program; Section 649-COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM; AND Section 650--Remedial Action Program.

My assumption is that the author or authors of the Secretary DHS memo to Administrator Fugate on August 17, 2010 was or were familiar with the statutory mandates. After all the legal presumption has always been that we are all presumed to know the law, whether or not we have received actual notice of its adoption. The Federal Register is one way the feds give legal notice.

My point is a simple on-does the memo encompass the statutory mandates? My conclusion is NO and see part 3 of the NLE posts. Steven Aftergood of the FAS has also posted the exercise memo on the FAS web site on the FEMA page.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Executive Order Impacting Federalism

This coming Monday [August 23, 2010] in the Federal Register at 75 Fed. Reg. 51609 a six page Executive Order signed by President Obama appears. Entitled "Classified National Secuirty Information Program for State, Local, Tribal and Private Sector Entities"! This is a very very significant Executive Order. Full text available from this blogger or at:

Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS Defense and National Security: Classified National Security Information; Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entites (EO 13549) , 51609–51614 [2010–21016] [TEXT] [PDF

Perhaps the key point despite what some may think it announces for the first time that Governors may receive classified "National Security Information" without a background investigation. Of course still on a non-statutory need to know basis. Who determines the need-to-know, not discussed in the order, is of extreme importance since there is strong evidence of manipulation of access by federal employees to discriminate against some who definitely need-to-know. Yet the long standing practice of granting Governors access to needed classified information is finally codified. This access too has also been politicized in the past with Governors of states with governors of parties not that of the White House were prevented from learning facts allowing them to protect the public. All seem to say this ended with 9/11/01 but I have know way to verify that claim. I did discuss it in my presentation to the 9/11 Commission Staff in my 5 hour briefing of that staff. I understand up to 25% of the notes of the staff are now available from NARA but not sure when notes on my presentation will appear.

That stated, the Executive Order is a definite step forwards. And by the way perhaps noted in this blog for the first time anywhere, there is NO SUCH THING AS CLASSIFIED HOMELAND SECURITY INFORMATION it is either classifed "national security information" nothing. Each federal entity that deals with classified materials or grants security clearances--see E.O. 10450--will have to incorporate this Executive Order into their required published regulations on both classifed information and granting of personnel security clearances--usually the later is a cross-reference to Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For an example of how personnel security clearances can be abused at the federal level see the seminal Blue Ribbon Panel Report of 1992 involving FEMA available from this blogger or on the FAS Secrecy Archive Web Site.

What appears to be both patent and latent deficiencies in the Executive Order need to be identified but I identify tow already. It does not make absolutely who adjudicates the personell security clearances after collection of any degrogatroy information or absence thereof for these STATE, Locals, Indian Tribes, or other private entitiesl and how exactly is Need-to-know determined and by whom. By the way the non-delegation proscription to the Governors given access is badly worded. I think I know what it means but will others use it to label information "eyes-only" for the Governors.
My off the cuff guess is that in major departments with national security assignments or even preparedness assignments a minimum staff of 10 will be needed to administer this order. The issues it raises are extremely complex.

Secretary DHS memo on Exercises to Adminstrator FEMA

NOTE TO READERS: I may have been in error on some of this post but also meant to emphasize that return to biennial format for NLE was significant and probably a welcome change.
So don't bet your last dollar on this post until I have corrected a few things and finished the series. Thanks for your patience.
Because of its importance this will be a three part post with the first post being reference to the memorandum of Secretary DHS to Administrator FEMA concerning NLE exercises and exercises generally dated August 17, 2010. See Extract from page 3 of the memo below:

"4) As the cornerstone of an effective preparedness system, an exercise program provides the evaluation of the validity and efficacy of doctrine, planning, training, as well as capability. The National Exercise Program should include a comprehensive system of performance assessment and tracking of the implementation of issues identified for remediation.
5) I also direct FEMA to begin working immediately with the National Security Staff to examine and revise where necessary the interagency governance system for the National Exercise Program including partnership and cooperation with state local and tribal governments and interagency planning bodies. This structure should be designed and established to support the National Exercise Program and facilitate the interagency and intergovernmental roles in developing exercises rooted in the requirements of senior levels of the various agencies and governments. The interagency governance structure should be organized in such a way to expedite the review and publication of after-action reports and track the implementation of corrective actions."

As far as I am concerned this statement of exercise philosphy and the goals of exercises is terrific and should be memorized by all.

What many do not know is that a major effort to deconstruct the NLE [National Level Exercise] program has occured since the inception of the Obama Adminstration including cancellation of NLE 10. Arizona as a state of course was extremely well funded for doing almost nothing even if that exercise had been held. Again an example of how the STATES have fed off of FEMA programs, functions, and activities as they visit their respect fiscal downturns [with some exceptions of course] that is leading to overall increases in diminishment of preparedness in the United States. My guess is that a 10-20% reduction in overall capability has occurred since January 20, 2009! Perhaps no ones direct fault but the consequences could be horrendous. Just check on Pakistan and Haiti.

The NLE is a statutory mandate from PKEMA 2006 and replaced the TOPOFF series of exercises which started with TOPOFF 2000 at the end of the Clinton Administration. Unfortunately, AARs [After Action Reports] are apparently not available even for the TOPOFF series for which I credit Congressman Christopher Schays (R. Conn.) no longer in Congress who was appalled to find out that so few senior appointees in the Clinton Adminstration had even the vaguest understanding of their roles in crisis management and catastrophic response. If you want a quick and dirty description of those roles go to the EP [Emergency Preparedness] assignments to each department and agency in E.O. 12656 now under active review by this Administration. If you would like a subject matter index to that Executive Order please contact this blogger off line at vlg338@yahoo.com. Also will provide full text of the memo underlying this post.
My bottom line[hate the term but don't have an alternative] is that the War on Exercises waged by the Obama Administration since its taking office is now officially over. But again maybe just my basic optimism that allows me to reach that conclusion and its premature. More on exercises over next several days on this blog.
And by the way the last full scale nuclear power plant exercise was Zion Nuclear Power Station outside of Chicago and none has been held since then. Once scheduled for 1993 was cancelled by James Lee Witt who really hated large scale exercises of any kind. To be discussed later on this blog.