Thursday, September 30, 2010

Retirement Accounting

Well midnight tonight I will have completed eleven years of retirement from Uncle Sam's Executive Branch including two years, ten months, four days, and seven hours of military service. I feel very very lucky. Many civil servants die in the traces as did my father on April 26. 1967. Many die shortly after retirement.

Some may ask how I developed the idea for the blog and what I do besides restoring a house and grounds abandoned for 20 years here in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

Well the first two years retired I spent winters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in an area called the PINES where my family had rented many summers for a week or two in the 50's. Also my DAD loved the beach and ocean and we often went to Rehoboth just for a few days and even put up in a house that dormed many male lifeguards. No females at that time as guards or allowed in the house.

I loved Rehoboth then and do now. The gays and lesbians that came in to town after 1970 revived the winter and summer economy but it really is not a family resort anymore. Much better restaurants and other things however. Those two winters encompassed the 2000 Presidential election and an old friend MIKE and I watched the six weeks of decisions daily and hourly with fascination. The SCOTUS intervention to be was the last thing that should have happened but not without historical precedent in US elections. Federal standards for voters and voting machinery long overdue.

I received phone calls that first fall and summer from my friend Keith Bea a long serving staffer in the CRS {Congressional Research Service] inviting me to brief him and other CRS staff on FEMA issues. Ray Decker formerly of GAO did the same. Those briefings resulted in a number of follow up phone calls and meetings. The objective of all of this effort was just to lay out the facts and hopefully to improve CRS and GAO analysis of the then independent FEMA.

The next significant thing was a long feared diagnosis of prostate cancer in May 2001. Completing 9 years this year since that diagnosis apparently I am one of the lucky ones. I lost a number of good friends to that disease who died after retiring from FEMA, including Alan Clive and John Crawford. Both very good citizens and wonderful people.

Only gradually did I evolve an interest in the computer world and blogosphere as I am certainly anything but an early adopter.

At any rate trying to help a little at least I hope that some of the hard lessons learned during my years of federal service as a civilian and soldier will help others to understand the past and hopefully prepare better for an uncertain future.

Will be away several day meeting up with two fine men, both married, who also happen to be my sons.

Also as always love to Leighton wherever she might be.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Revision and Update of VLG 2010-4-4 which is superseded and originally published on April 4, 2010.

VLG Technical Note 2010-10-1


1) Planning Guidance for At-Risk Populations and Pandemic Influenza-June 2008 [CDC];
2) National Preparedness Guidelines (Replacing Interim Preparedness Goal -2005) -September 2007;
3) CPG-101 Producing Emergency Plans-August 2008 [FEMA];
4) Planning Guidance for Response to WMD/NUDET-January 2009 [FEMA];
5) Planning Guidance for Protection and Recovery Following Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDD) and Improvised Nuclear Devices (IND) Incidents—August 1,2008 [FEMA];
6) Rerouting 911 and E911 Services When Public Safety Answering Points are Disabled—September 2007 [FCC];
7) Annex I—HSPD-8, National Planning-December 2007 [HSC];
8) Interim Emergency Planning Guide for Special Needs POPS, version 1.0-August 15, 2008 [FEMA];
9) ESF Support Annex Guidance-January-2008 [FEMA];
10) OMB Final Bulletin On Agency Good Guidance Practices-January 2007, 72 Federal Register 3432;
11) Evacuee Support Planning Guide, July 2009-FEMA;
12) Draft Implementation Guide for the Health National Security Strategy-July 2010 [HHS];

*This list will be periodically revised and updated!

Made available at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Air Transport Security

The US airline industry was substantially deregulated in 1979 by the Carter Administration. Since then it has struggled to find an effective business model with most of the existing airlines on that date long gone. Post-9/11/01 almost $40B in direct and indirect subsidy has gone into the airline industry. It has lost an additional $55B since that date. Why does it continue to operate? At some residual level people are willing to travel relatively vast distances to visit business relations for face-to-face meetings and also friends and relatives. Is this necessary travel? Yes in the modern world but note that foreign airlines are largely prohibited from operating domestically in the US. This AM papers reporting Southwest Airlines will dominate traffic at Reagan National Airport in very near future if merger approved with another airline and 31% of traffic at that airport.

Why is this important? Airline hijacking was known well throughout the late 60's and 70's leading to the Air Marshall program. I once was offered a temporary duty assignment on return from active duty while an IRS lawyer. I declined. Yet I thought that program and the effort to protect cockpits had largely ended the domestic threat of hijacks. Was I surprised post 9/11/01 to find that the airline industry had successful opposed both programs. Well we all know the result.

What has happened post 9/11 is that the Airline Industry has recieved the largest security subsidy of any sector of the economy until the 2008 financial collapse of the FIRE sector (Financial, insurance, Real Estate] resulting in over $14T in front door and back door subsidy to that sector by the Treasury Department (TARP) and the FED.

Led by former Tom Daschle's wife [an aviation industry lobby ist} who was then in the SENATE the industry got through the TSA as primarily an airline industry security feature and funded fully by the federal government. This was a brilliant lobbying effort and note for the record since leaving government, Tom himself is a registered lobbyist. Hey it beats going back to S. Dakota.

My point is enhanced when I note for the record the TSA effort is largely a failed effort. Scanning machines for individuals have been installed but the first two rounds of technology were largely failed. A third round is now being installed. Also statutory mandates to screen all luggage have not been met. But why is this TSA such a problem? First in my opinion should be returned to DOT and all sectors of public transport exercised. Most airports in the US are privately owned and their security is not covered by TSA. We know that fairly heavy casualties can be inflicted in crowded airports with low technology bombs and weapons. This area is not just not treated equally but almost no review of security inside the airports themselves has been conducted by either the industry or government. Essentially it is unregulated.
So the bottom line next time you climb on a plane note you are relatively safer once in that ultimate test of your trust in technology, a long aluminum hull guided by several people. But getting there and leaving there is highly questionable security. And by the way recent reports indicate relatively no WMD terrorist attacks might in fact be the future for the bulk of attacks domestically and internationally.

FM 3-28 Civil Support Ops

A new Field Manual {August 2010]has finally appeared after several years in the revision process post Hurricane Katrina providing doctrine for civil support operations. This should be considered a seminal document for military and civil relationships. My hope is that it is studies and analyzed in detain by various interested persons involved HS/EM.

One thing I always find of interest in expressions of doctrine are the various definitions that are utilized in the document.

Set forth at one point FM 3-28 provides the following:

"Homeland security and homeland defense are complementary components of the National Security
Strategy. Homeland defense is the protection of U.S. sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and
critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the
President (Joint Publication (JP) 3-27). Missions are defined as homeland defense if the nation is under
concerted attack from a foreign enemy. Department of Defense leads homeland defense and is supported
by the other federal agencies. In turn, Department of Defense supports the Nation's homeland security
effort, which is led by the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland security is the concerted national
effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism,
major disasters, and other emergencies; and minimize the damage and recover from attacks, major
disasters, and other emergencies that occur (JP 3-28). In both homeland defense and homeland security, the
Army conducts civil support operations. The discussion in this field manual emphasizes civil support
operations in support of homeland security."

I would have argued for an all-hazards definition and more use of terminology that reflects civil planning concepts and to the extent the document does not it reflects the DOD concern to always be other than "supportive" in its civil relationships. That said hoping others will bring to the attention of this blogger analytical pieces on this document and doctrine. Note it does NOT use the normal all-hazards paradigms or even accurate reflect the military role in the National Response Framework [NRF]! But hey it does provide an effort at updating what has been documented by GAO as the failure of DOD to provide a systems approach to key civil support ops.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

Probably a good time to do a post on the Dirty Dozen of Homeland Security and EM. After all Congress departs the end of the week to go campaign except the 66 Senators not up for re-election.

The Dirty Dozen will be repeated from time to time but they rest on open source information, and my questions in some cases are based on lack of information not necessarily the existence of information!

1. FEMA has been "fixed"! Fact: FEMA now approaching for first time in its history 10,000 permanent full time employees, permanent part time employees and part time employees. This does not include consultants hired through the personnel system or by contract or contractor staff. How many of these 10,000 have been fully trained by classroom or independent study or otherwise (exercises) on the current and about to be revised NRF, NIMS, and other aspects of the National Response System mandated by PKEMA? My guessimate is less than 500!

2. The response to the BP Catastrophe was a success! FACT: IT is evident by published reports that confusion and consternation dominated the early days of the spill as so few in the civil sector of government understood the NCP at 40 CFR Part 300 and its funding mechanisms. And note still no civil actions filed by the federal government against BP!
What we do know is that the US Coast Guard was understaffed and underfunded for this response effort from the opening gun to the present. All repeat all assets for oil spills nationwide were diverted demonstrating the lack of capability for mulitiple events. And why was Carol Browner's role kept secret?

3. The various components of DHS share an understanding of their roles and are able to collaborate and cooperate with other components to allow them to achieve their mission and goals! It is only the components largely ignored by seniro managment and appointees that have to some degree achieved their mission and goals. It would be interesting to see how DHS employees rank the DHS components for effectiveness and efficience as those employees understand the other components roles.

4. The Secretary DHS has her own independent statutory authority to act in a crisis and can operate as an all-hazards leader! FACT: The DHS Secretary still relies largely on delegated Presidential authority, which she is about to lose over the next 6 months for her most important authority. Prediction: DHS will be largely written out of many current Executive Orders and Presidential Directives. The flowdown authority to FEMA in particular will be adversely impacted.

5. The White House is well organized to deal with crisis management! FACT: There is no WH crisis management system both domestic and with respect to the military. Just read Bob Woodward's latest. Jim Jones is so passive a National Security Advisor that the whole of the National Security and Homeland Security community is adrift hoping no large-scale events occur and trying to prevent same. This included John Brennan who cannot figure out the non-INTEL civil sectorof the federal government.

6. The WH and the Congressional DEMS worked well together on both HS/EM and issues of federalism. FACT: This is a clearly documented failure just by reviewed statutory enactments and proposed legislation in the 111th Congress.

7.The WH understand Constitutional and practical civil/military relationships and they are working smoothy. Fact: The budget reveals that many if not all civil miltary programs, functions, and activities are in tatters.

8. The Vice President has fulfilled the role comptemplated for him by the President in various matters impacting military/civil, foreign affairs and HS/EM. FACT: He is an outsider and not listened too whatever the merits of his arguments. NOR is he respected by the members of the SENATE likely to be in the 112th Congress.

9. The WH and Executive Branch components understand what the President and WH staff want to have happen to the Bush policies in place when they arrived and those policies are in place. FACT: Most of the civil/military and HS/EM policies are in place just as they were under President George W. Bush.

10. DHS is a learning organization! FACT: DHS repeats over and over the same mistakes including contracting with non-performing entities. Small business is largely excluded from DHS/EMA contracts and typically contracts are awarded principally to those contractors audited by the corrupt DCCA [Defense Contract Audit Agency].

11. DHS grants are awarded competitively and are highly leveraged by STATE and LOCAL governments and other recipients. FACT: Most of the Federally Funded Research entity grants have produced NO usuable product. Most state and local grants have been rendered ineffective by legal and illegal rakeoffs by STATE or LOCAL government desperate to make up for other revenue shortfalls.

12. Only the most qualified and highly competent appointees are able to gain positions in DHS. FACT: Some are but an honest appraisal of those incumbering appointed positions are largely there because they needed the job. Second opinions and options are not usually welcome by DHS Senior managment.

WEll YOU READERS ARE FREE TO AGREE OR REJECT and hope it stimulates you to figure out how to fix these fictions so they don't destroy future DHS activities.

Homeland Security

This blog is largely about history and the changing fortunes of FEMA, DHS, and the US generally in the context of the second decade of the 21st Century. I recently posted my outline of the future on another blog that I frequently post comments on the posts that appear on that blog. Sic Semper Tyrannis. That Latin phrase also appears on the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia and translated means "Thus always to Tyrants" with Liberty standing above the deceased tyrant. The comment came in the context of Israel/Palestinia issues and policy.

This post is dedicated today to the proposition that now after almost 2/3rds of a decade in existence the existence of DHS and FEMA will not be the crucial frontier for Homeland Security and perhaps not EM either. It is likely in my opinion that the DHS Homeland Security effort will diminish and FEMA will diminish also both following actual incidents or events that might otherwise seem within the portfolios of this department and it bureau known as FEMA. Time will tell.

But the point of this post will focus on the energy, efforts, budgets and staffing of other federal departments and agencies.

First, HHS and CDC and other components. It is likely that efforts will be towards the prevention and response to biological warfare and terrorism over the next decade.The British are well ahead of the US on this front but HHS/CDC are doing their utmost to take and keep and hold leadership over this front even from DOD. After all HHS is health and human services, and if the health component of disasters were to be emphasized one might foresee FEMA and even EPA as part of HHS as opposed to DHS. My guess is that health and technology, two areas in which FEMA is weakest may well dictate FEMA's future. Strangely this battle and line drawing was previously a FEMA focus under Director Julius Becton whose principal aid and Chief of Staff Heidi Meyer was interested in FEMA taking the lead on emergency medical issues. Assisted by a highly competent although with huge ego [probably deserved Leo Bosner--longtime union head later in FEMA] Ms. Meyer and Leo took on HHS over emergency medical services. Rumor was that Ms. Meyer's husband then a retired Admiral heading health issues in DOD wanted to be the Secretary HHS. He did not make it. Well the point of the spear was the NDMS (national disaster medical system) and its control. Later issues involving the Metropolitan Medical Response Teams and the National Stockpile control [there is also a National Defense Stockpile but this stockpile included medical supplies and vaccines] that bounced back and forth between FEMA, DHS, and HHS. HHS utimately winning on all fronts. This also was a reflection of relatively power of the concerned Congressional Committees. Anyhow look for a bright future for HHS/CDC in Homeland Security. FEMA and DHS don't get the fact that an ultimate stovepipe is being built by HHS and CDC and perhaps the forthcoming revisions to various Executive Orders and Presidential Directives will reveal this.

Second, is DOD the huge gorilla in the room and one in which its policy changes impact homeland security greatly and of course starves the civil agencies. Under the paradigm of Homeland Defense DOD has yet to sort out its various components roles, including the NG [National Guard] and NORTHCOM and other units like DTRA. Well there is no chance this will happen under GATES who probably is now going to depart after the election. I personally hoping SAM NUNN is the next SECDEF but may not happen. Another favorite candidate of mine would be retired General Zinni.
Okay the battle within DOD is going to be marked by the policies and staffing and budgeting impacting the NG. Several recent studies have documented directly that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have damaged the NG domestic role and that DOD still does not have its act straight on WMD. Note how this overlaps with item one and the HHS/CDC role. I expect one "reform" is that VA could easily become a dual hatted Emergency Medical Response and Recovery lead for both HHS and DOD. The VA participation in NDMS was originally designed to find 100,000 hospital beds for war casualties but is much beyond that now. And VA is a vigorous participant in that system led by the able retired General Shinsheki. Another potential leader for DOD. Also the whole cyber security effort in the Executive Branch continues to be a sought after goal for DOD. Another fun battle to watch as the civil agencies in general and DHS in particular struggle against DOD supremacy.

Finally, the Treasury Department. Terrorism lives on secretive money flows and financing. Still getting enormous somes from some nation state actors--Like Saudi Arbrian princes-- the money flows are crucial to successful terrorist activity. Treasury's efforts at "following the money" are underfunded and understaffed but I at least give them a B- based on their efforts since 9/11. This is and should be a high priority effort and note that DHS was alert to its significance and made a major effort to get the lead from Treasury, arguing for the role of the Secret Service to be expanded. This effor was defeated in detail by the Treasury Department which at the bottom is more expert on money issues than DHS. Just like FEMA was often defeated by more expert agencies and departments, that is now occurring with DHS. Its stock of 1000 politically vetted positions is largely lacking in raw brain power and expertise but is great at covering its sins through public relations.

Well I will be returning to the topic of these bureacratic battles from time to time. Looks like a weak adminstration just does not care if the infighting continues to detract from the effort. Many efforts to study policies and issues, like cyber security, announced with much fanfare by the Adminstration have now failed to have followup (examples being WMD issues and cyber security issues). Note that a number of these missions and goals comptemplated a highly competent DHS which now can be labeled dysfunctional under the current Secretary. Not that she had a high standard to meet.

Hey no more lawyers to head DHS please.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Hidden Washington

Well as the 11th Congress winds up its time and becomes a footnote to US history some amazing things are happening. First, a clear one-year extension with no changes of anykind of the NFIP appears likely to be signed into law shortly. I predicted this last spring and now the 112th will be charged with making sense out of the NFIP since it appears no one competent to do so in the Administration. Just a reminder! My two basic reforms were relatively simple ones. First, the NFIP should never pay for any hazards not disclosed on its maps. If this had been in place as the rule the flood wall failures during Hurricane Katrina in NOLA would not have created a large amount of the debt incurred by the NFIP that now appears to be driving eventual reform. Second that certain coverages be eliminated such as that for installed and uninstalled carpet which has amounted to up to 20% of payouts in some events and been conducive to fraud.

Okay the NFIP aside. No major modification of almost any FEMA programs, functions, or activities by the 111th Congress. Why? Because FEMA programs, functions, and activities far down on the administration list of priorities in its first two years. If you exclude the STAFFORD ACT and its problems, specifically its failure to be all-hazards and to NOT be a crisis management umbrella statute, perhaps this is of little significance in the long run.

Okay! DHS generally. The Fusion Centers authorized by statute in 2007 loom larger and larger as a potential unaimed missile at American privacy and civil liberties. The 112th will likely have this placed on their agenda, although not willingly since Congress has almost no interest in privacy and civil liberties issues and policies. There clearly are exceptional members that do have an interest but none since Senator Patrick Monyihan have had much power or influence. Clearly the TEA PARTY does not have the depth of subltly to understand these issues and now the only question is their impact in the elections, mainly on the Republicans but also the DEMS.

What is fascinating, assuming that a length CR [Continuing Resolution] for annual appropriations gets through this week there is no real need for a lame duck session. The Obama Administration is ambivalent and the main concern is whether one or both houses change leadership to the Republicans in the election. They (the administration) has shown little capacity for dealing with Congress, maybe any organization led by a strong female, and I would argue did little to help or guide the DEMS in the 111th. This means no real interest in any lame duck session unless an issue that may impact the 2012 elections. Further economic stimulus, or other some such issue.

But what is fascinating is that Pelosi in the HOUSE not so much Reid in the Senate now has her heart set on a lame duck session no matter what the Senate or the Administration think. She is becoming a force of nature not just a political force. Hey perhaps with the security of growing up as the child of one of Baltimore's best mayors, and marrying wealth, and being elected speaker is it possible Pelosi is the future drive sprocket of the DEMS. Hey when even someone as skilled politically as Steny Hoyer misjudged her this is becoming rapidly the most interesting dynamic in Washington.

Well my bet is on Pelosi and a lame duck session regardless of what anyone else is thinking or wanting. This could be real fun since Pelosi does have the ear of lobbyist who recognize that if the DEMS hold the house, Pelosi will be the key player for the runup to the 2012 elections. Hey there are reasons, DAVID and RHAME are going back to the "saftey" of Chicago. Apparently the one person with no lack of the appropriate endocrines in DC is female. WOW! This is the biggest story around and if the DEMS hold the house PELOSI will become a really significant part of history. Who would have guessed?

Friday, September 24, 2010

NRC [National Research Council] ON RISK ANALYSIS IN DHS

The refernced report below also posted as a baseline document is one of the most significant reports that has been issued giving a comprehensive analysis of the risk analysis process and problems in DHS. Unfortunately it concludes at one point on page 4 of the Summary Section the following:

          Natural Hazards Risk Analyses

"There is a solid foundation of data, models, and scholarship to underpin DHS’s risk analyses for natural hazards such as flooding. Although models are constantly being developed and improved, risk analysis associated with natural hazards is a mature activity—compared to risk analysis related to terrorism—in which analytical techniques are subject to adequate quality assurance and quality control, and verification and validation procedures are commonly used.

Conclusion: DHS’s risk analysis models for natural hazards are near the state of the art. These models—which are applied mostly to earthquake, flood, and hurricane hazards—are based on extensive data, have been validated empirically, and appear well suited to near-term decision

Recommendation: DHS’s current natural hazard risk analysis models, while adequate for near-term decisions, should evolve to support longer-term risk management and policy decisions. Improvements should be made to take into account the consequences of social disruption caused by natural hazards; address long-term systemic uncertainties, such as those arising from effects of climate change; incorporate diverse perceptions of risk impacts; support decision making at local and regional levels; and address the effects of cascading impacts across infrastructure sectors."

The overall conclusion of the report is that natural hazards risk analysis is ahead of terrorism risk analysis but that both could be improved. It is my belief that any close reading of the above discussion on natural hazards risk analysis shows the report to be internally in contradiction. I do know that few openly peer review natural hazards models have been adopted by DHS/FEMA and in many cases entire disciplines such as climatology, meteorology, seismology and other critical disciplines have been largely or complete ignored with DHS/FEMA. Then the recommendation to develop risk analysis of social disruption has to be the most ground breaking recommendation of the entirety of the report. Dr. Denis Milieti, PhD in his formulation of the so-called post disaster "Therapeutic Community" has spent a lifetime arguing successfully against such social disruption.  Well it will be of great interest to see how that recommendation or any of the others is received in DHS and FEMA. Good luck.
The report is linked also below.

Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Approach to RISK ANALYSIS
160 pages
Publication Year: 2010


Hey I have many interests but thought that a brief disclaimer might be appropriate for information posted on this blog. First, it is not legal advice. I am not liscensed to practice law in any jurisdiction. Second, while I have broad interests and this blog reflects it my knowledge base is largely one gathered through the passage of time, not formal education, training, or inherent business. I was a bureacrat for over 30 years.

That stated certain important subjects and relationships I continue to study and try and understand but really are often out of my depth on these areas of concern. So I will list a few now and probably add to over time. I will also give a brief statement as to why I am limited in my knowledge base or abilities.

First!  Risk Assessment and Analysis. I view this as largely a quantitative area and am not a quant.

Second: Economics. Same reason as number 1 above.

Third: Public Health and Medical disciplines.

Fourth: Engineering and Science. I am neither.

Fifth: Many other disciplines that add to the totality of what I view as HS/EM. My background is law and the Executive Branch of the federal government.

Sixth:  Law Enforcement. I have no background in law enforcement or criminal justice.

Seventh: Military policy, conduct or issues. I was drafted and eventually commissioned in the Field Artillery and served a total of two years, ten months, four days, and eleven hours but who was counting. It gave me some context but that was over 40 years ago.

All these areas are very important and I constantly worry as how their critical policies and information gets integrated with decision makers without any background. Just trying to stay updated on key reports and policy changes is very difficult. That is why teams of various disciplines are so very very important. I just hope this blog helps a little for the eventual formulation of good policy and law.

In the meantime back to work.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


William Jenkins of GAO gave updated testimony to Congress on September 22, 2010 on federal response planning efforts. The testimony purports to use the analytical framework set forth below to produce that point in time analysis. It follows:

1. Acceptability. A plan is acceptable if it can meet the requirements of anticipated scenarios, can be implemented within the costs and time frames that senior officials and the public can support, and is consistent with applicable laws.

2. Adequacy. A plan is adequate if it complies with applicable planning guidance, planning assumptions are valid and relevant, and the concept of operations identifies and addresses critical tasks specific to the plan’s objectives.

3. Completeness. A plan is complete if it incorporates major actions, objectives, and tasks to be accomplished. The complete plan addresses the personnel and resources required and sound concepts for how those will be deployed, employed, sustained, and demobilized. It also addresses timelines and criteria for measuring success in achieving objectives and the desired end state. Including all those who could be affected in the planning process can help ensure that a plan is complete.

4. Consistency and standardization of products. Standardized planning processes and products foster consistency, interoperability, and collaboration, therefore, emergency operations plans for disaster response should be consistent with all other related planning documents.

5. Feasibility. A plan is considered feasible if the critical tasks can be accomplished with the resources available internally or through mutual aid, immediate need for additional resources from other sources (in the case of a local plan, from state or federal partners) are identified in detail and coordinated in advance, and procedures are in place to integrate and employ resources effectively from all potential providers.

6. Flexibility. Flexibility and adaptability are promoted by decentralized decisionmaking and by accommodating all hazards ranging from smaller-scale incidents to wider national contingencies.

7. Interoperability and collaboration. A plan is interoperable and collaborative if it identifies other stakeholders in the planning process with similar and complementary plans and objectives, and supports regular collaboration focused on integrating with those stakeholders’ plans to optimize achievement of individual and collective goals and objectives in an incident.

I am not sure if this is the first time for GAO to use this evaluation architecture but believe it is far too subjective to properly analyze what now are 72 separate plans that are in various states of completion, implementation, and understanding.  Will think over this next several days but probably will be addressing this architecture if that is how GAO intends to review the 72 identified plans, identified in the sense that is the number GAO counts as currently mandated.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Public Health Preparedness

One of the major efforts post 9/11/01  has been the efforts of CDC/HHS and others to deal with public health emergencies. The Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (May 2002) has been discussed on this blog previously and more to follow.

However just posted under baseline documents on the homepage is a recently issued CDC report on Public Health preparedness in the US. It also contains a state by state assessment. It is a flawed document for a number of reasons but does contain useful information. Whether its conclusions are correct only time will tell.

Here is the report title:

Public Health Preparedness: Strengthening the Nation’s Emergency Response State by State

A Report on CDC-funded Preparedness and Response Activities in 50 States, 4 Cities, and 8 U.S. Insular Areas

September 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Concept of Homeland Security

With the 9th Anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001, many blogs and articles have tried to define the term "Homeland Security"! Personally I believe the term "Homeland" is the wrong paradigm and in fact "civil security" should be the paradigm. What has happened is that civil institutions bearing the brunt of the focus of Homeland Security, specifically the Public Safety arena with its first responders, and EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT theorists have tried to make the Homeland Security discipline an "all-hazards" discipline. That effort has not really led to all-hazard preparedness, resilience, prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery but instead compartmented programs, functions and activities that are premised on command and control relationships rather than cooperation and collaboration. Trying to visualize this spectrum I designed and offered one possible set of relationships that a number of academics have used in their course work. Thus, the concept of Homeland Security which is set forth below:
A Concept of Homeland Security Functions

How to Reform the "New FEMA"!

Okay a strong component of self-promotion in this posting. Why? Well although had to be satisfied in winning sometimes less than 10% of my initiatives while in FEMA from 1979-1999 and probably that is on the high side I did feel I accomplished certain things during that period. First, I helped keep FEMA independent.

Second, I at least helped preserve the option of keeping FEMA a learning organization and somewhat creative bureacratically.

Third, I helped upgrade the general competence of the Office of the General Counsel of FEMA, although my proposal to only hire former JAG officers and lawyers with technical understanding and expertise was largely ignored.

Fourth, to the extent that FEMA was ever proactive with Congress helped accomplish that effort. Fifth, helped quell the anti-FEMA attitudes at DOJ and DOJ and NRC and DOE and EPA and HHS. All to be explained later and in some length.
But that is background. Now FEMA must take certain steps to avoid further drift into irrelevance both within DHS and within the Executive Branch generally, and to avoid helping to destroy STATE and LOCAL capability in EM generally, and in particular Mitigation.

What must be done, now?

First, FEMA is ineffectively organized and ofter components often operate at cross purposes. Under PKEMA 2006 it can have four Deputy Administrators in addition to an Administrator, all at the PAS level and in addition has a PAS US Fire Adminstrator. My count may be off but looks like five or 6 PAS positions in FEMA. A substantial number for an organization that even counting all FTE, permanent part-times, and temporary employees under various schemes has less than 10,000 employees of various kinds. These need to be arranged to place emphasis on the FIRE SERVICE, then a leader for preparedness, prevention, protection, mitigation, and resilience. This leader would be one of two that have technical knowledge to bring to bear from many disciplines on FEMA's programs, functions, and activities. Then a leader for the Science and Engineering and technical aspects of EM. This job will be primarily helping to conduct research and helping integrate that research into FEMA programs, functions, and activities. Third, a financial assistance directorate that will also include grants, contracting, and procurement and other ways to furnish goods, services, and funding to all of FEMA's clients and grantees. Fourth, a FEDERAL PROGRAMS interface leader that will have a staff devoted to making sure that other departments and agencies understand how FEMA programs, functions, and activities operate and are implemented and making sure that no duplication or overlap exists with other federal programs,functions, and activities. All other components of the existing FEMA can report through one of these leaders.

Second! The Office of the Chief Counsel must undergo some expansion but more important it cannot continue to undermine FEMA programs, functions, and activities by constantly reviewing FEMA authority to determine not what discretion has been granted, but where that discretion is not specifically guided by a statutory mandate. Basically the lawyers are killing the new FEMA.

Third, the legislative review function of FEMA needs substantial upgrade. This is where FEMA comments on other federal legislation or actions that require statutory change and FEMA history is one of being oppositional to change rather than encouraging and promoting change.

Fourth, FEMA needs to more closely analyze the capabiity of STATE and LOCAL governments, if necessary tiering the state and locals based on capabilities and threats or hazards so that limited FEMA funding can help 2nd and 3rd tier state and local governments to become 1st tier in resilience and capability.

Fifth, the policy formulation, implementation, and operations in FEMA need substantial upgrade. This could be done by first examining how FEMA collects its various statistical theory and then hiring policy statiticians to determine what is not being collected of importance and why and what should be collected and why and this technical capability should be focused in the policy shops at FEMA. The statistical value of collection, analysis, and dessimination is almost totally without value to FEMA management.

Sixth, the Regional Offices need a substantial upgrade and this included adequate delegations. Such a delegation package was furnished by me to all key elements of FEMA in the 1997-98 time frame including the current DHS OIG Rick Skinner, whose delegations from the Secretary DHS are deficient, and also to all FEMA components and leadership. These need to be resurrected. James Lee Witt did not want detailed delegations because he feared that would yield power to those delegated. Even though it was explained that delegations did NOT preclude his exercisisng authority he continued to believe that written delegated authority would undermine his leadership.

Seventh, more technical and scientific talent needs to be brought into FEMA. When I arrived in 1979 there were almost 300 PhDs and when I left in 1999 less than 50. Why? FEMA needs many specialists including anthropologists, seismologists, meterologists, vulcanologists, coastal experts, including soils experts and many many others.

Please remember that my view of FEMA differed from many others. I largely saw FEMA as a technical and scientific agency and using its funds to prevent and protect to the extent possible STATE and LOCAL and NGO decision making that increased the liklihood of disasters payouts. Thus, FEMA was to reduce disaster outlays by its programs, functions, and activities not by its actions increase outlays. It has really largely become an ATM for the STATE and LOCAL governments who are continually allowed to manipulate FEMA programs, functions, and activities to undermine their basic purposes. As a starter you could look at the requirements in the NFIP and Stafford Act for STATE and LOCAL governments to buy insurance to reduce federal disaster outlays. And of course duplication of benefits and enforcement of the STATE cost sharing provisions has been largely ignored and such efforts understaffed and underfunded.

And in a later post will explain why the Science Committees of the HOUSE and SENATE should have a much greater oversight role over FEMA programs, functions, and activities.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

End of FY 2010

Sometimes I intend to cover the basics of government as it currently operates. This probably will reveal many of my bias' as to getting the public the most for its investment of tax dollars.

What is the importance of a given FY [Fiscal Year] ending? Specifically grants and contracts must be obligated during a single year designated unless they are authorized to be obligated on a muliple year basis. The DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] is one example of funding that typically but not always is not restricted to any specific fiscal year. I have long advocated a two year budget for the federal government with the defense budget including DOE and VA and certain other programs, functions and activities being in one portion and the rest of the federal budget in another. This would allow better overall planning and administration but not lilely to happen anytime soon. The FY end on October 1st of each year was designed to deal with the inability of Congress to enact a budget by the July 1st date that ruled at one point. Again of course this year most of the federal government will be under a CR [Continuing Resolution} in a mere 13 days including today Saturday the 18th of September. Some might be surprised to learn that of those 13 days Congress will probably only be in legislative session for 6 or 7 days. Then off to campaign to elect the entirety of the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES and 37 new Senators or incumbents for the 112th Congress. Thus the prospects are for a CR that may last until Easter.
All grants and contracts not obligated this FY with FY2010 money are essentially lapsed monies so that a frenzy of activity will be taking place over the next 12 days by departments and agencies trying to minimize the lapse in budget execution authority and obligation authority. OMB of course is in the drivers seat anytime the departments and agencies are under a CR because they can force by failure to issue allocations the use of the lower of the SENATE or HOUSE Appropriations ceilings or last years appropriations ceilings as enacted into law.

At any rate don't ask why the lights are burning late this next two weeks because the procurement offices and grant awards offices are trying their very best to reduce amounts of any funds lapsing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Energy Sector and CIP

I have long posted blogs and comments on the fact that the world of CIP [Critical Infrastructure Protection] was split into two parts in 1997 when the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection issued its seminal report and findings in fall 1997 and dividing CIP into physical security and cyber security. Wow! 13 years since that report and still the stuggle for change continues. I have long advocated that almost 2/3rds of all spending on physical securit should be reoriented into computer and cyber security especially vulnerabities of computer assisted control systems. This is especially true of the energy sector. And by the way OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. With over 90% of oil and gas reserves in the hands of the NOC's [national oil companies] a history of non-OPEC countries and businesses cooperation with OPEC is long overdue. Model of course is Daniel Yergin's 1994 wonder "The Prize" which documented pretty well the fact that oil and gas lay at the heart of allied victory in WWII. The first at least partially mechanized war. By the end of this century whether there is PEAK OIL or not it does look like geo-political issues will be largely over energy and water. The two basics (far more interrelated than most know) that dominate economic life and survival in the modern world.

As readers of this blog know I rank cyber security/computer security as the second most important priority for DHS after WMD related issues and policies, prevention, protection and response and recovery. Congress is again tampering without much expertise in criticizing the sections of DHS dealing with WMD.

If you accept that nuclear power reactors are inherently a proliferation tool and step on the way to nuclear weapons capability, which many expert and not don't always do, then you understand that the US is the world's formost weapons proliferator. Perhaps this started with the fact that Israel could not have built nuclear capability without open support of the US and is another Nixon legacy, along with devaluation of the dollar, that still will be problematic for the rest of this century. The real question is whether nuclear weapons or materials will be used as WMD or as negotiation ploys for the rest of this century? My answer is yes since the obvious fact exists that no nuclear capable state has yet attacked another one.

Where does this impact HS/EM and why blog about it? Because the rising tensions over power and water systems is now becoming the basic control mechanism over resilience in the US. Proof? Will ask how many of the US water systems are not foreign owned! The Germans have been buying up small US community water systems for almost three decades. The federal water policy establishment has never recoverd from its decimation from Reagan Administration policies. And of course energy policy in the US never responded to Carter's call for "war" and still is largely Reagan era in its conception.

OPEC and the energy majors have been one of the most profitable sectors of the world economy since OPEC's formation. This is likely to continue and it is amazing to me how the energy sector escaped any blame for the collapse of the economy in 2008. Hey my belief could be wrong but when the average Joe (including me) saw unleaded gas over $4.00 a galleon he understood for the first time that he was locked into a bad system that drained his pockets from spending money on all but the basics.

The BP catatstrophe of course just highlighted the power and skill of these large corporations which are really nothing but extractive industries from using their political clout in a manner no different than the oligarchs in Russia (ofter energy related also)!

So another two years of a new administration passes with no one taking on the energy sector and now looking increasingly like improvements in the energy transmission grid will be federally funded for many reasons. The gas transmission pipeline network, note recent disaster in CALIFORNIA, has resulted already in proposed legislation in the SENATE. That won't pass this session but I bet the industry lobbies for federal funding of its safety and security which is one of the unsung stories post 9/11/01. In other words the shuffle as to who will pay, the taxpayer or shareholders, for improvements in CIP resilience. This is one battle sure to need close watching over the 112th Congress.

And please note that increasingly DHS is focusing its attentions on citizens and residents of the US not systems. Why? It is easier when skilled lobbyists are not available to question your calls!

Here is to full evaluation of whether US energy policy is driving US further towards third world status.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The 111th Congress Drifts to it End!

Some may wonder why so many posts about politics and the Washington Political scene? Well this ends with this post because only the November elections will sort out what is what on the Washinton Scene.

But some trickles that indicate that the DEMS are now just largely posturing while the Republicans fail to understand their challenge from the right from the TEA PARTY!

Chairman Bennie Thompson held a hearing yesterday of his Homeland Security Committee on the issues of domestic terrorism and the growing threats from various elements of the US polity. This hearing as ususal did not discuss the history, successes, or failures of US efforts on terrorism so to give a bit of perspective here goes. Attorney General Palmer under President Woodrow Wilson spent a great deal of time and effort rounding up and deporting Communitsts, syndicalists, and anarchists, many Jewish immigrants from the US. The first real use of the immigration laws to serve the STATES interest in protecting itself against radicalism. Of course, led by none other than J.Edgar Hoover the raids went overboard were largely witch hunts and many innocents got injured in the process.
Then of course we have the FBI and other organizations conducting further inquiries leading to the enhancements of the career of Senatory Pat McCarran of Neveda and later Joseph McCarthy. There is unassailable evidence that Constitutional norms were heavily violated and of course as established by the VENONA tapes and other events there clearly was a major Soviet anti-US effort at penetration mounted from 1932 and the recognition of the Soviet Union b the US until the collapse of the wall in 1989. Even now the Russian effort at penetration is significant but largely devoted to commercial INTEL not governmental since the US government is so openly penetrated by foreign agents that even members of Congress have employed foreign nations with INTEL backgrounds on their staffs. The game, the whole game, in the world today is to largely ignore as players any nation-states other than the US and China. The strange thing about the US and China is that for over 200 years the complexity of the relationship between the two nation-states reflected in immigration, religion, and commercial practice is almost totally undocumented by those who might or should know it cold, including the academic community. I would even argue that the Senate and House Foreign Affairs committees should have a specific subcommittee devoted to Chines policies and issues.
That stated the Thompson hearing heard some important things but did little to shed light on why they were important or what might be done or has been done. Looking for Peter King to do a better job if he becomes Chairman of the Committee in the 112th Congress.

Second the end of the primary season leads me to conclude that the Republican party has been hurt more by the TEA PARTY than the DEMS. The Senate may be saved but the HOUSE still looks like a Republican turnover.

Behind the scenes the Obama administration is planning several October surprises after the Congress recesses. It remains to be seen how effective they will be in trying to hold the Senate (which I now predict) and to keep the House Democratic. It has finally dawned on the Obama Administration what a devastating blow the Gingrich takeover of the House in 1994 was to the Clinton Administration. As to issues--while their are many potential issues--there are certainly some impeachable issues floating around for Obama far more serious than sex with a WH intern. Remember several President's have been impeached but none convicted [by the Senate]. That includes Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon [who resigned after impeachment] and William Jefferson Clinton.

It also appears that the ninth anniversary of 9/11/01 largely ignored substance and was utilized not to document progress or lack thereof in Homeland Security but to convey sympathy and empathy for those fighting the GWOT or victims of the events of 9/11/01.

It of course remains to be seen if democracy itself was or is one of the victims of 9/11/01. So lt's hold for now on more political analysis even while the next year kicks off several major efforts to document the progress and failures of HS since 9/11/01. Some of these will be discussed on this blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

National Politics--Out on a Limb?

At the risk of being non-germane to readers interests or even my own specialities now willing to predict with the primary season having been ended that the Senate will remain in Democratic hands. This has important implications for Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This conclusion is based on the facts that result from this guesstimate of mine.

First, Senate confirmation of SCOTUS nominees will be controlled by the DEMS. Looking increasingly like Obama may well have one or two more SCOTUS appointments his first (and only?) term! Given two confirmations so far of his appointees this has important consequences and could be viewed long term as his most important domestic achievement regardless of other events or metrics, i.e. a failed economy.

Second, probably means in the 112th Congress Senator Lieberman will remain in the position of Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This is tragic since his ego has long ago exceeded his competence, and the willingness of Ranking Minority Member Susan Collins Repubican of Maine to follow his lead has led to the collapse of effective oversight of DHS. With DHS management overhead staffing and costs rising to over 40% of its budget and likely to climb to 50% over next several years this means that the tooth to tail ratio in DHS is almost prohibitive of good governance and Homeland Security and Emergency Management. I view management as all those in any bureacracy that actually have no impact on the public but just those who talk to other bureacrats including those in the Executive Offices of the White House. Let this conclusion stand, while the Senate oversight of DHS is slightly more competent than than that of the HOUSE it still is not effective. The Senate needs to focus on DHS priorities or they will be lost in the mishmash of a department with almost 1000 politically vetted positions.

Additionally both Lieberman and Collins have no idea what FEMA is about and it is about to drift off into irrelevance as the Adminstration like all others before it fails to create an effective domestic civil crisis management and response and recovery system and chain of command. DHS is not in any way an all-hazards agency but perhaps the revisions of various HSPDs and Executive Orders could make it one.

Finally, the one life preserver that helped maintain any kind of coherence and priority setting in DHS so far in its history is about to collapse. Instead of having its own appropriation bill it is now very likely that DHS will have its appropriation rolled into a long-term continuing resolution that will last until next EASTER. Those outside of the federal executive branch have no idea of how manipulative and destructive a CR is to good government and allows OMB to dictate to departments and agencies even in contravention of Presidential and Congressional directives. Yes, Matilda, OMB is a domestic terrorist organization when it comes to undermining preparedness and prevention and mitigation and response and recovery, and even planning.

And also a final thought, ask how much oversight the Senate intends to give to the BP CATASTROPHE in light of events and in light of a huge effort by BP in the form of political contributions and its huge mass media campaign. The latter is perhaps the largest effort in history by any corporation to avoid public accountability.

Please note that over 400 House passed bills will die at the end of this Congress (the 111th) and don't look for much Senate action if there is a lame duck session if the DEMS keep house control. Unknown what impact a HOUSE change of leadership to Republicans will have but perhaps a trickle of legislation might get through the Senate in the lame duck session.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Current Events-A Snapshot

Been a while since I produced one of these so perhaps timely perhaps not.

HAITI-Still almost 2 million without proper food, water, and shelter. Essentially a trapped population policed to prevent escape by the US military and Coast Guard the internal dynamics of the country are in turmoil including elections. Corrupt government and NGO officials continue to siphon off assistance.

PAKISTAN-The floods have impacted almost 40% of the country's economy even though only about 40% of the geography. This situation will continue to fester as we move into the weather changes precipitated by WINTER. The Pakistani Taliban and Afghani Taliban are separately led and constructed but again evidence that corruption in both countries siphoning off assistance. The US military seems completely unable to deal with civil corruption or even corruption of the civil military interface.

AFGHANISAN-- The opium poppy crop will be the largest and most important in a decade. Largely protected by the US and Karzai regimes this means that no long term conversion possible and by spring, Afghanistan will be conceded as hopeless by the US. Another long term failure of the military industrial academic congressional complex.

BP-CATASTROPHE--Once again no really accurate public informaton on either the science or financial claims settlement by the US government with almost total dependence on BP for crumbs of information. Probably two years off from relatively definitive assessement with at least 50% degree of confidence, this event is not being adquately funded by NAS for study. Oddly the Department of Interior has finally decided to ignore the Energy Department and has gotten the message that the future of that Department may well be tied to the BP CATATSTROPHE and its fallout. See 27 August 2010 page 1018-1019 issue of Science for one long term decision science effort, the SSWG [Strategic Science Working Group] established by DOI to study the catastrophe.

US Economy: Bets are down on deflation vis a vis inflation. Mine placed on deflation. WAPO announced today women now get most of PhDs in US. What would Margaret Sanger think now?

FEMA--No real test of FEMA yet post-Katrina but FUGATE and others continue to talk a good game. Playing may be another.

HURRICANE SEASON--Fortunately, so far pretty much a bust.

FALL ELECTIONS: Looking like a bust for the DEMS.

INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK: All holding fire depending on outcome of fall elections in US. Turkish election a very strange outcome as Turkey cannot continue as a house divided between EAST and WEST. Military Civil relations at the height of complexity for indefinite future. IRAQ about to descend into a two decades sleep while hoping no other nation-state tryies to steal its oil. SAUDI ARABIA--US and Israel deciding to arm that nation-state for conventional war with Iran.

AFRICA: Relations between Islam and Christen faiths grow more complex with next pope probably African.

ASIA: Southeast ASIA again growing edgy over economics and capital flows. Revolutions possible.

CHINA: Huge investments being made in academics and science.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seven (7) and 1/2 Weeks to Election

What does Peter King, R-NY, want if House majority becomes Republican in November? It is clear that Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, just never quite figured out what the Homeland Security Committee in the House was up to and now that failure will contribute to what looks like the switch in control in the 112th Congress. I am a fuzzy headed liberal as all readers of my writings know. But I have a great deal of respect for Congressman King, and so do many others on both sides of the aisle. Why? He is one of the few really competent Congressional members and could play a key role in a number of places. As Ranking Minority Member on Homeland Security he has at least provided some thoughtfullness to the Committee's agenda even while Thompson focused on things like field hearings in Mississippi on how to contract with DHS.

My hope of course is that both houses could agree on the formation of a joint committee on Homeland Security, one that would operate like the Joint Committee on Defense Production that lasted from the late 40's until 1977. Given the impacts on the domestic economy that joint committee might profitable be reestablished also. Hey other joint committees do exist now including the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Joint Committee on Intelligence. Peter King knows and understands Homeland Security as well as anyone and more so than some more prominent members in the House and Senate. But hey he might have the option of replacing Barney Frank on the Banking Committee and that is a really tempting assigment given the economic collapase that continues under this administration.
Well this is one of the crucial issues impacting policy in the runup to the 2012 elections. And note terrorism is no longer in the top ten of issues about which the American electorate is concerned. Interesting in light of a report released over the weekend indicating that most terrorism will be as a result of activities of domestic homegrown terrorists in the US in the near future. This raises a host of issues as the "Surveillance State" subsumes the National Security State that so miserably failed to protect the US against foreign non-state actors. Good luck Peter wherever you go!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Later

Amazing that time can fly even if pigs cannot. The filter of time should allow more evidence of the incorporation into the liturgy of the politicians and religious leaders of the US as to that days events. Also the military/academic/industrial/congressional complex and its desire to spend money as opposed to thinking of various alternatives that might have occurred historically if different choices had been made by the US leadership.
Personally I see no comprehensive analysis of why the US leadership so missed the developments of the modern Islamic World and in fact continues to hide the growth of the population of that world and their influence, often petroleum related of course. Is that really an attempt at diversion of attention from some reality or vision that might allow the events of 9/11/01 to be more properly in focus even 9 years later. Are there more of US studying Islam and the history and current world-view of the Islamic World, the largest country of course being the non-Arabic Indonesia with only one of its islands non-majority Islam [that being BALI]!
Despite the shocks of 9/11/01 still not many Americans interested in digging deep into other cultures or languages or understanding history of the rest of the world. So I continue to believe other shocks will be administered to the US which cannot seem to leverage its talents and focus on why the rest of the world cannot grasp all the reasons the US should still be allowed to dominate the globalization of finance and consume 25% annually of the entire world's resources.
I have written elsewhere is that leadership is about uniting not dividing but appears another election cycle about to be completed with very little expression of leadership but a lot about division. Can the whole be made stronger but a united vision? Maybe but no one providing that alternative to more 9/11/01s IMO.
Over the next year will attempt to document some failures and successes of the US since 9/11/01. Unfortunately, Iraq and Afghanistan will not be on the latter list.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nuclear Power

Over several blog posts I hope to outline in brief some basics that might be of assitance to those actually adminstering 44 CFR Part 350 and following and 10 CFR Part 50 and 52. This would be the small FEMA staff and also many at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This series is dedicated in part to another lawyer who ended up much more than I dedicating his life to nuclear power and other issues over the second half of the 20th century. His name was James T. Ramey and at age 95 a long and very successful effort at living was closed. His obit appears in the Thursday, September 2, 2010, edition of the WAPO on page B-7. His son, James (Jim to me) is an outstand medical doctor practicing medicine in DC and a classmate of mine at Sidwell Friends in DC also (Class of 60). Oddly I first know of James Ramey the elder long before I knew of Jim the younger. And of course deep sympathy and condolences to Jim and all his family. We all only get one mother and one father if we are lucky.

So in a way the first post in this series will be largely historical with my own personal involvement in nuclear issues documented to some extent. I hope readers and followers of this blog will find it of interest.

I also have mentioned before in posts, I think, that the book entitled "The Nuclear Oracles" A political history of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1947-1977, is a must read to understand how we got to where we are today on nuclear issues. Written by my friend Richard T. Sylves, PhD now retired from the University of Delaware it is best and only analysis of that committee and its operations that exists. Please get your copy because this is a convulted world and seldom has an institution run by "high priests" had it envelop of expertise so well pierced.


Well we always will have the four horsement of the Apocolypse to fall back on but most EM practicioners and academics know that the paradigm of preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery came primarily out of the NGA's study of EM in the 70's. Whatever the comfort level with this paradigm it certainly had longevity. The addition of the world "prevention" by PKEMA 2006 expanded this litany by mandating a new term. Now of course "resilience" is the word of the day in EM and HS. "Prevention" is also a featured term within these disciplines. In part the NGA effort was an attempt to caputure the need for organizations to focus on certain primary elements of the before and after of large-scale events and probably the result was mostly effecive. Personally, I always liked Kathleen Tierney's comprehensive editorial effort to capture the "preparedness" paradigm in the book published in the early 90's. Exactly why the other elements were not singulary analyzed is perhaps a reasonable question but hers was directive supported by the National Academy of Sciences with grants. Perhaps innovative (can you call a difficiency of over 3 decades an innovation?)researchers could better provide coverage of these terms and their importance in doctrine or operations and their utlimate utility and significiance. Recently Claire Rubin has put a major effort into focusing on the recovery (phase?) paradigm. I still not sure I get it. These elements were useful to identify which bureacrats would be battling over which issues for funding and staffing but never seemed particularly helpful in designing CEM (Comprehensive Emergency Management) which was an NGA goal and notice the emphasis on management not all-hazards coverage.
Personally, perhaps GAO or DHS/OIG could analyze all DHS programs, functions and activities by which paradigm is the primary focus and how do those programs, functions, and activities relate to other DHS and executive branch entity efforts.
Here is one important conclusion I have drawn however. To the extent the staff of a component becomes more expert in their principal paradigm almost invariably the brightest and most capable of that staff understand the mutulally supportive nature of their paradigm to others and vice versa. The end result of course is that willingness to cooperate and collaborate is driven in part by the need to explore each of the paradigms to the deepest extend possible. Hopefully, several posts over the next few months can help formulate clearer thinking on these subjects. That stated what I do know is that the vicious internal bureacratic battles fought over making one or more paradigms dominant will deter EM from accomplishing that which it can. Sounds like the PUBLIC ADMINSTRATION types need to get going. And perhaps the NGA should do a 35 year follow-up study of their 6 volume EM package issued around 1978 to see what was accomplished (or not?) by that effort.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Well tomorrow is Labor Day 2010 and the 6th of September. Congress will return the week afterwards. With the November elections well under 60 days off this will be a frenetic time for both members and staffs. If as predicted by many the House turns from a Democratic to Republican Majority the impact on the staffs will be enormous. Many trying to bail now while the getting is good.

Looking more and more like a legislative stalemate in the 112th Congress as a Republican House sends the Senate bills they never take up. I think over 320 House passed bills now awaiting Senate action and most will not be taken up by the SENATE.

These September and October days will lead to some really odd couple relationships as the HILL tries to make sense of the electorates seeming willingness to punish incumbents of either party.

That stated I believe that some items of interest to the fields of EM/HS will make it into law during this period of time. The most important of course is the appropriations for the Fiscal Year that begins on October 1, 2010 and for the first time ever expect cuts in the DHS budget. I will try and post some of these events as the period until the elections passes. The big stakes again are whether a so-call Lame Duck Congress will appear. If it does this could be trouble a thousand different ways for those hoping for stability and continual steadiness in the US. Don't look for the US to be doing any long term thinking right now.