Tuesday, November 30, 2010

National Disaster Recovery Strategy

The National Disaster Recovery Strategy appeared in early February of this year. Go to: http://www.fema.gov/recoveryframework/
The strategy was mandated in statute back in October 2006 in PKEMA 2006. Hey nobody is perfect.

At any rate that document which had FEMA assigned as the lead but is really multi-agency [especially Department of Housing and Urban Development] was not still born. It is reliably reported that the final version will appear sometime in the next 90 days.

But here is what interests me. I have been reliably informed that it is the WH and NSS that have placed it in a lower priority than some other projects. Amazingly, the reason being given out by the NSS and WH is the US efforts in Haiti and its recovery. Many readers of this blog know I believe that "domestic" disaster has been completely blotched.

Well another example of lack of "grip" by this Administration. Not as bad as starting a war based on bad INTEL but still gives interesting insight IMO to competence of NSS and the WH. Again of course FEMA is the fall guy for the incompetence and lack of decision in others.

Time will tell. But it is lucky no large scale landfalling hurricanes this season in the US. And now I understand that Senator Landrieu is likely to become more powerful on Senate Appropriations committee. Also an assignment of a minority member that I find of interest is newly minted Senator Rob Portman Republican of Ohio to that Committee and possibly as the ranking Minority Member. WOW. Why? Senator to be Portman was a former Bush era Director of OMB. He knows disaster relief, assistance and recovery cold. Senator Mary Landriue of course views the President's DRF as her personal bank for making sure that NOLA stays in business. Her brother is Mayor. Interesting that no real academic, economic, polictical analysis has appeared out of the various arenas as to whether the sunk costs of NOLA are worth its preservation. Nostalgia. In Las Vegas most of the most prominent aspects of NOLA gambling and entertainment and dining have been fully duplicated. I guess life in NOLA prepares you for "recoverying" in the desert.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick Take on Current Events

Well back on October 21st my last blog on current events looks pretty respectable to me in role of Nostradomus even now. Perhaps eye of the beholder.

But as November ends and Turkey, Dressing, and Cranberry start to wear off and allow mind to focus I thought some quick thoughts on current events might just be appropriate. I did of course post a quick take on the elections and issued guidance for the DEMS, the GOP, and the TEA Party post election. So here goes. Listed items not necessarily in importance to the long term but order established based on my current mood.

1st! HAITI! Well the cholera outbreak establishes conclusively the failed domestic and international effort over the course of the year in HAITI. Still no operating large-scale water and sewage treatment plants in HAITI and NONE, repeat NONE on the horizon. This shows the complete lack of understanding of how important infrastructure or the lack thereof is to HAITI. What did the US Marines do in their early 20th Century occupation of Haiti accomplish--in addition to security they built a great deal of infrastructure. A history largely unrecorded. And now of course do to US direct and indirect interferance in the election of a new Haitian President the election last weekend has turned into another new catastrophe for HAITI. This large-scale humanitarian disaster is a leading "black spot" on the Obama Administration and the Clinton dynamic duo. They just don't get "it" and "it" of course is an effort by the US to give destroyed countrys without effective government what they need and not just provide ground rules for futher corrupt exploitation by the US business interests and NGO community. The failure of many NGO's to pass on to HAITI their received contributions from the American public is criminal in scope and this includes the American Red Cross.

2nd. Iraq! Well we have the outlines of a government in Iraq that by Labor Day 2012 will have brought Iraq a new period of civil war and instability to that war wracked nation. Its 6 million refugees will not be returning to rebuild the country. Even with the crippling lack of governance and a balanced economy oil wealth will make Iraq a playground for economic exploitation for many years and eventually by the middle of this century again the dominant military power in the local region. The US as I have predicted in the past will not save the corrupt Kuwait monarchy this next time.

3rd. The wikileaks! This classified and unclassified cables reveal to me not skill but almost total lack of competence in the diplomatic community that are the largest source. My guess is lack of knowledge of languages and culture of their assigned countries is one major reason. The second which took some time for me to understand is that the cables reveal that the US conducts its diplomacy largely as it does it domestic policy. Relying on direct and indirect tools of corruption to achieve its aims.

4th. Congressman Issa! His efforts areto give the OIG's broad authority to subpoena documents from their agencies, ven beyond criminal investigations. These largely toothless tigers [the OIG's] usually are divided into audit, inspection and compliance groups but have never had the tools needed to do the job. This would be a dramatic increase in their authority. And in helping draft the OIG act in the mid seventies my arguments for the OIGs to have broad authority might finally come to fruition. So good luck Congressman ISSA!

5th. The LameDuck Session. As predicted in October this is rapidly becoming a disaster for the DEMS. The new Congress which will start real work on the 12th of January will be something to watch. If a trend can be followed todate it is for GOP Members of Congress, whether or not they gained TEA PARTY support to repudiate the contributions of the TEA PARTY to their election or re-election. Fun to watch but very serious business for both GOP and DEMS. Not so much for TEA Party members since their real role in the 112th will be to point out the absurd policies in many cases of the GOP and DEMS. Whether Sarah Palin runs or not as I predicted some time ago, this GAL is not going away.

6th. Obama as Warrior! Still unknown but I might have been more impressed if he had inflicted a twelve stitch wound on his basketball opponents as opposed to needing the stitches! Hey he may as well go down fighting as his time and office passes the half-way mark.

7th. Ireland. Well the handling of this country by its leaders and the EU is a joke to me. Ireland with its repudiation of the EU treaty and then adoption got what it deserved. A lack of seriousness in its people and leadership and of course setting the stage for a new Irish dispora in the 21st Century. Of course with no smoking in IRISH bars perhaps that is another reason that Ireland will make nice to those tourists arriving with hard cash and in the face of all those highly qualified POlISH PLUMBERs returning home.

8th. China. Playing its cards nicely and close to the vest. Letting N.Korea teach lessons to the S.Koreans and US even as it benefits from the turmoil. Well there be war? No way but their could be if China decides NOW what its future policy on the Koreas will be and invades now. Would be interesting to see US and S. Korean and Japanese reaction to that event if it happened.

9th. The FED. Again the Federal Reserve through its rulemaking authority is voting to protect a bankrupt banking sector. The dirty secret is that commercial real estate loans are as much underwater as the residential loans. And of course with no international capital controls the US remains the bastion of the hedge fund maruders who pay less than they should on personal income taxes and are still even after the financial reform bill largely unregulated. WOW nice job Barney Frank, Congress, and Administration. And Treasury Secretary's constant announcement that US wants a strong dollar just continues to undermine his and US credibility since US policy is exactly the opposite.

10. Holiday SALES as indicator of recovery. Well one of the great secrets is that the entirety of the retail economy is well under 4% of GDP. As opposed to the FIRE sector a three times that level. Even a great holiday season will not move the GDP towards faster growth. It does appear some growth in the economy but the corruption in CPI and other government statistical work makes it unlikely anyone in a position of power or influence outside the government can understand exactly what is transpiring. We do know that almost 12 Trillion dollars of stimulus by the FED over last two years has left the FED with huge overvalued assets on its books.

Well Happy Holidays to all and looking forwards to the New Year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Section 2 of EO 12148

Let's for a minute assume my position that EO 12148 which has been amended many times is no longer of operative legal effect because its underlying legal authority in Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 is no longer in effect. Clearly delegations of the Robert T. Stafford Act by Executive Order are appropriate and should be done in an entirely new Executive order. That stated what could be done to improve E.O. 12148 now?

Let's look at possible language changes to critical section 2 of the order. Executive orders amending other sections of E.O.12148 are E.O.’s 12155,12156,12319,12356,12379,12381, 12673, and 13286.

TEXT OF Proposed Revisions to SECTION 2 OF

Section 2. Management of Emergency Planning and Assistance

Revison by VLG: Section 2. Establishment and Oversight of Federal Policies Enhancing National Resiliency in Event of Catastrophic Incidents or Events.

2-1. General.

As Revised by VLG:

2-101. Definition: National Resilience shall mean all federal policies, programs, functions and activities that support preparedness, planning, protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery in the context of catastrophic events, especially those that destroy governmental capability to accomplish reconsitution and restoration of governmental capabilities.

2-102. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish Federal policies for, and coordinate, all civil security and civil resilience policies for catastrophic events including preparedness, planning, protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery functions of Executive Branch departments and agencies.

2-103. The Secretary shall periodically review and evaluate the policies, programs, functions, and activities of the Executive Branch departments and agencies to determine their impact on national resilience. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of those programs, functions, and activities the Secretary shall recommend to the President alternative methods of improving national resilience.

2-104. The Secretary shall represent the President in working with State and local governments and the private profit making and non-profit sectors to promote national resilience.

2-105. The Secretary shall provide an annual report to the President for subsequent transmittal to the Congress on issues of national resilience that the Secretary finds appropriate. This may also include the activities of independent federal regulatory entities that impact issues of national resilience. The report shall assess the current overall state of national resilience.

2-2. Implementation.

2-201. In executing the functions under this Order, the Secretary shall develop policies, programs, functions, and activities that to the extent possible provide that all efforts to promote national resilience by Executive Branch departments and agencies are:

(a) founded on the use of existing organizations, resources, and systems, and their programs, functions, and activities to the maximum extent practicable;

(b) integrated to the extent possible with organizations, resources, and programs of State and local governments, the private sector and volunteer organizations; and

2-202. Assignments by the Secretary of national resilience programs, functions, and activities shall, whenever possible, be based on extensions (under emergency conditions) of the missions, programs, functions, and activities of the Executive agencies.

2-203. To the extent authorized by law and within available resources, the Secretary of Defense shall provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with support for national resilience programs in the areas of program development and administration, technical support, research, communications, transportation, intelligence, and emergency operations.

2-206. All Executive agencies shall cooperate with and assist the Secretary in the performance of his/her functions.

So perhaps this version will never see the light of day officially but now at least the present and future administrations have a alternative choices. Determine that EO 12148 should be vacated or revised appropriately. One thing for sure its citation of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 [Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress] is defective.

And just for the record I understand that close to 300 Executive Order recommended promulgations and/or revisions now under way in the Executive Branch. Under E.O. 11030, the Executive Order on Executive Orders almost any Executive Branch component can suggest or recommend a new or revised Executive Order. Hopefully at some point NARA will update and provide virtually the REAGAN ADMINISTRATION's 1989 compendium of Extant Executive Orders and their specific language.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Protection of First Responders

I have long had an interest in the protection of the First Response community in incidents and events. It is a OSHA felony violation [enforced by the DOJ on referral from OSHA through the FBI] to prosecute. Few prosecutions have occurred and in particular of federal officials and appointees. The narrow escape of the EPA head who gave the "all-clear" and totally erroneous information to the response community at the WTC disaster on 9/11/01 should not give comfort to anyone in a position of authority.

While I am not familiar totally with what has happened since I retired from FEMA that agency never gave a thought to protection or training of its employees in hazardous response situations. I often wondered what a bomb with perhaps a 12 hours delay mechanism could have done at the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. It would have collected at least the FEMA Director. FEMA's unstated and untrained or and unprotected response force policy was "never enter a hazardous site'! Great! Well how do you even know it is hazardous. Many local police and sheriff departments routinely knock over METH LABS which are highly dangerous sites without adequate protective gear and training for that danger.

The one Federal conviction I am aware of was of senior officials at Aberdeen Proving Ground who routinely exposed employees without proper training or equipment to hazardous situations.

RAND produced an excellent report on RESPONDER SAFETY in May 2004 and in that report [available from this blogger] concluded that all incidents and events in which FIRST RESPONSE personnel were involved should have a SAFETY OFFICER whose only concern was the safty of the responders. I think Congress, GAO, and the OIG/DHS should all be involved in following through on this recommendation. Obviously it is not just responders that need this SAFETY OFFICER but each federal department and agency or STATE department or agency or their local governments deploying to a site that is potentially or actually hazardous should have such a SAFETY OFFICIAL. The response community is too small to lose critical skills in any event. I read with sadness each of those notices from the US Fire Administration of a fatality in the FIRE SERVICE and always wonder what training and skills and knowledge and protective gear the person behind that fatality notice had in fact.

Well there probably needs to be some sort of rough and ready gage that let's all know when the situation is problematic. This subject is as long overdue for review as is the lack of CBRNE Qualified Self Contained Breathing Apparatus for responders. Such apparatus for ordinary particles is one thing but I fear the situtation where even worse awaits the response community.

We don't need more heroes that were not protected or trained or knowledgable about the dangers of certain incidents and sites. And without proper monitoring and decontamination equipment. In orther words, no CANARIES wanted for the First Response community.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The DHS Integrated Planning System-January 2009

In January 2009 DHS released its Integrated Planning System Document. As usual no description of those preparing the document, what internal or external review accomplished, or exactly what official of DHS gave final approval and how it was adopted and issued. Like "Topsy" I guess it just "grew"!

It appears to be largely a formatting document and to give a heirarchy to various other documents issued by DHS and HSC over time and now of course NSC for homeland security. Probably useful for that limited purpose. If it intended to have broader reach would be happy to hear what that intention was and whether someone in DHS thinks it was reached.

My problem is that the document could have achieved real significance if it accomplished one thing that in my experience federal plans of various types never do. That is establish a planning basis for each plan, and tell folks exactly how to derive a planning basis for each plan.

What does this mean really? Well plans are conceived to accomplish certain things, in the context of DHS and FEMA usually they are designed to provide and effective and efficient response to some incident or event. But they never seem to indicate exactly the metrics of the event they intend to plan for when operative. And they rarely give an trigger for the plan that is automatic, or almost automatic. An example is the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan involving off-site safey at fixed nuclear power stations. I long advocated unsuccessfully that when NRC went to General Alert status on any plant or the utility declared that status they the FRERP would start rolling. Sometimes this kind of rigidity makes no sense. But it might have helped the federal response in both Hurricane's Andrew (1992) and Katrina (2005)if some appropriate high official had made the announcement that the plan was in effect and being utilized to the extent applicable. Perhaps a declaration made public that the NCP at 40 CFR Part 300 was being used in the BP Catastrophe would have helped all to understand the response process.

Back to the planning basis! I often thought the planning basis should be developed based on the most likely or most probable incident or event. Now I realize that that will probably generate too much heat without much light. So I have now converted to the proposition that the metrics of the capability of the plan should focus on current capabilities of all signatories and participants in the plan. This may also generate heat but hopefully some light also. An example would be for mass casualty events, medical care would be available to provide for 150 mass trauma casualties. If this sounds low it probably is still too high for most jurisdictions. What we do know is that 700 mass trauma victims anywhere in the US even the largest and best served medically could not handle 700 victims.

My point is simple! Start with a planning base that we know the signatories and participants in the plan can handle. Then also design the mobilization system needed to expand resources for larger scale events, including logistics systems, priorities and allocations of resources from outside the impacted area, personnel for 24/7 operations as long as necessary and other factors that make preparedness sense. This planning basis would of course be made public [probably also for comment] so that the jurisdictions real capacity is known and others not in the planning business can plan against it for their own individual protection, family protection, business or non-profit entity protection.

So hoping this concept can be fleshed out and revised in the next edition of this somewhat anonymous document.

One favorite of mine would be to plan for up to 500K homeless and 50K deceased. This would allow a broad enough planning basis if achieved as part of current capabiities to expand to foreseeable events of a much larger scale. This ability to expand operations is what these plans should be all about. And thus a basic flaw in current plans could be fixed.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Trying to seperate wheat from chaff [and maybe not succeeding but still have to try].

My point with this blog post is to indicate fundamental unresolved policy issues that hinder FEMA from performing in accordance with the expectations of Congress, the President, and the citizens and residents of the United States. Since there will always be another catastrophic event, timing unknown, resolution of these policy issues would help make sure that any recriminations about FEMA performance, efficieny, and effectiveness are grounded in understanding and support for the decided FEMA mission not some unreasoning expectation that a small underfunded understaffed agency can do miracles post incident and event to make all better. So some may disagree with the ranking of these but here are my top ten.

(1) Determine whether Executive Order 12148 has been superseded by operation of law in whole or in part. This includes the portion giving oversight of FEMA programs by the NSC and DOD.

(2) Determine whether FEMA is to be the saftey net for other agencies and departments that fail to do their EM jobs either on an emergency basis or on a day to day basis through their programs, functions, and activities.

(3) Determine whether the FCO reporting relationships should include the FEMA Regional Directors or not.

(4) Determine whether programs, functions, and activities requiring personnel security clearances and classification operated by FEMA (it lost SAP establishment authority under President Clinton] mesh with its overall objectives or detract from those objectives.

(5) Determine whether the FIRE SERVICE should have more of a say in overall FEMA programs, functions, and activities. For example, the National Response Framework could indicate the key sectors that would make for successfull response, and where exactly does the FIRE SERVICE fit in that response effort on a national basis.

(6) Determine whether all FEMA mitigation, prevention, protection and preparedness programs, functions and activities be under the same administrative authority. Why or why not this organizational arrangement?

(7) Determine whether FEMA should be equipped to review and determine the adequacy of the technical response agencies in protecting the public health and safety? Are these organizations properly providing warning and alerting to hazards to the public?

(8) Determine when and how FEMA should ensure STATE and their local governments capability, and if that does not exist what should FEMA be required to do? See for example, E.O. 12657 of November 1988.

(9) Should FEMA become an all-hazards agency in its programs, functions, and activities? If so how should that be accomplished?

(10)Should FEMA be administerd on a non-partisan, bi-partisand basis with a lengthy term of office for its Adminstrator?

Many will have their own lists but for the time being you have mine!

DHS & FEMA FY2011 Appropriations

Probably repeating unnecessarily but the Continuing Resolution for the bulk of the Executive Branch runs out on December 3, 2010. As the Duke of Wellington was quoted on teh Battle of Waterloo and the final defeat of Napoleon he supposedly stated "It was a close run thing"!

While I have no inside information I am predicting an extension until early March for the next CR while some think it will be for the entire year. If it is the latter the benefit is that the departments and agencies will have some certainty over their FY 2011 appropriations. Unfortunately it also continues an often abberational OMB to have the whip hand over actual governance and spending by the agencies. And a reminder that Peter Orzarg (sic) Obama's OMB Director left in August and his replacement was only just confirmed by voice vote late Thursday by the Senate-Jack Lew! Well be that as it may the first week of December or even on the Friday after Thanksgiving a lot of bureacrats Turkey Day gets spoiled by so-called "pass backs" from OMB on the departments and agency requests for their FY 2012 appropriations. Then of course they are various appeals which in the main fall on deaf ears at OMB and the departments and agencies then prepare the paper work for the President's budget submission around the time of the STATE of the UNION address. That usually occurs in late January. While the Congress technically reconvenes on January 3, 2011, my understanding is that actual legislative work will not begin until sometime between the 11th and 18th.
By the time this forthcoming STATE of the UNION address is given we will as a country have great insight as to whether the US is getting the governance it needs even while it continues to wage war overseas. This is starting to look like the political realignment I have long predicted, starting about 1990, and briefly postponed by both the invasion of Kuwait, and the events on and following 9/11/01 are about to be realized perhaps even in this decade.

While not an expert I would no longer review the national political scene based on RED STATE/ BLUE STATE voters but instead on the beliefs of the Congressional delegations from each state. With the reapportionment necessitated by the 2010 Decennial Census as mandated by the Constitution there will continue to be a shift in political power from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West. Thus I continue to discount the political staying power in Presidential politics except for anomolies like Barack Obama of potential new candidates from the Northeast or Midwest.

Thus, I would look to the relative economic decline in the South and West, including factors such as foreclosures, as generating more radical political beliefs that could well lead the US into some rather odd politics for the next decade.

One of the most unusual sitations in US political life is the now almost total withdrawal of moderate black politicians and the vast majority of black voters from either running for office and/or voting. This phenomenon if my guess is accurate is based on both frustration, education, and economics but is looking like a potential death knell for traditional Democratic leadership until the largely Democratic HISPANIC vote swells even more by the next census and more HISPANICS vote.

It does appear that WHITE VOTERS are the bulk of the independents and we have the WAPO reporting that 57% of eligible White voters voted for McCain/Palin in 2008. Black turnout in Presidential elections, normally 4-7% of the eligible black voters, rose to a record 16% in 2008 with perhaps as many as 95% of black voters supporting President Obama. That turnout and voting pattern does not look likely in 2012 so that leaves the DEMS in the lurch for turnout, reapportioned seats, and even their larger number of Senators up for re-election in 2012.

So how does this impact FEMA and DHS and their appropriations outlook. I have long argued that staying out from under CRs was the one saving grace for DHS. It gave that department at least some guidance and support for a difficult birth and initial operation. That now appears to be a goner. I have recommended that HS and National Security become a single multiple year appropriation with the rest of the government aligned for appropriations in alternative years. Since the game in Washington since the Reagan Administration--who are your contractors?--has impacted Congressional committee assignments and campaign donations and even impacted Executive Branch reorganizations and realignments of jurisdictions--it now makes sense that each department and agency produce with the annual budget submission a list of all their contractors, the contracts, and the funding stream for these contracts. This would give Congress which wants the information anyway, and interested persons wondering about federal policies, programs, functions, and activities a clearer insight of who is fighting for what appropriation.

For example, the current roughing up of TSA and its procedures and equipment, has been largely driven by technology and the failure to humanize the human consequence of that technology. This failure was in part driven by DHS contractors for screening equipment although they would deny it.

And it looks like a number of FEMA programs directed to the FIRE SERVICE, STATES and their local governments, and preparedness generally are and will be threatened this decade. I argue that the best FEMA and DHS can hope for in their appropriations is to stay even with inflation--should there be any inflation as the FEDERAL RESERVE is hoping.

All in all we will know by EASTER whether the long term outlook for Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management will remain stable or will suffer the slings and arrows of Congressional realignments and changes in membership.

A single event, Hurricane Katrina has now left the STATE level political situation in Louisiana largely in Republican hands for the first time since the Reconstruction Era. Incidents and events could well change the political situation in other geographic areas of the US. Time will tell.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The first Reagan FEMA Director announced publically in an address to an agency wide audience that he had attended a cocktail party before being sworn in as Director when he was asked "Did he know that FEMA was a rebuttable presumption"? Naturally he had no idea at first what the questioner was asking but then the explanation followed. It turned out that NRC in its regulations at 10 CFR Part 50 Appendix E had adopted the legal stance than any FEMA finding on offsite safety [a role assigned by press release under the Carter Administration] had labeled those findings as "rebuttable presumptions" allowing the FEMA findings to be rebutted in adversarial trial type administrative proceedings by intervenors. By the way that procedure has now been long ago revised so that no such administrative hearings can take place but NRC and its staff still have the legal authority to rebut FEMA findings. Of course the two FEMA findings most famous was the finding that LILCO's first offsite exercise at SHOREHAM was fundamentally flawed, a finding supported in the evidence in the hearing with the result that FEMA was ordered by NRC to conduct a new exercise. The second administrative hearing rebuttal was by the liscense application at the SEABROOK Nuclear Power Plant liscensing proceeding. Have all such "glitches" been resolved? NO! Which is one reason WALL STREET will not fund the nuclear power option in the US. So the source of the question to Louis O. Guiffrida, should now be clear. The fact that Guiffrida was an anti-nuclear power advocate and had testified against the liscensing of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor by NRC somehow escaped the notice of the Reagan Administration and came as a great shock to LILCO's lobbyist and the law firm of HUNTON & WILLIAMS, the largest law firm in Virginia. Guriffrida would never have been confirmed if his testimony had been known to the powers that be and probably would not even have been nominated.

So where does this post go? It turns out that FEMA's history as the "Expert Agency" as the Administrative Law types would normally study is checkered. In reality no judicial or administrative court has ever granted the FEMA position on much of anything deferrrence. Most recently of course the poorly lawyered and argued Gulf Coast Arbitration Panel gave no adminstrative or legal deference to FEMA and did not even grant it the status of being a "rebuttable presumption" but created a trial de novo requirement totally ignoring the existing adminsitrative record, despite its length and evidence of some expertise. Perhaps the powers that be intended FEMA to lose the Arbitration all along. Who knows? Only the taxpayer probably would or should care and they are without standing in the matter.

Edwin Meese III was Attorney General in the second Reagan Administration and he had been both mentor and de factor boss of Guiffrida during his years as FEMA Director, first through Meese's position as Counselor to the President in the WH and then as AG. But by December 1985 Guiffrida had been sent packing by the Reagan Administration and even Meese could not protect him.

But on December 13th, 1985 in an important letter to James C. Miller, III, the Director of OMB, Meese opposed the submission of diaster legislation to the Congress. The letter argued in the last sentence of the second full paragraph [the full letter availabe on home page of this blog thans to FAS] the following:

"Accordingly, FEMQ should be authorized to perform those special emergency preparedness and recovery functions not assigned to other federal agencies and to support the 'several agencies' implementation of policies establish through existing Executive Branch decision-0making mechanisms."

There is a logic to the statement in the letter. Is FEMA "the safety net" or is it just a coordinating agency? Unfortunately as we know departments and agencies often fail in their existing preparedness and recovery functions, as evidenced by many events since 1985. The STATES and their local governments also often fail in their existing preparedness and recovery functions.

But what has happened since 1985? Did studies or analysis occur of exactly what were the existing preparedness and recovery functions of the other agencies? The short answer is "NO"! Did FEMA try to study the other agencies preparedness and recovery functions? The short answer is "Yes'! One evidence of the latter conclusion was the FEMA efforts to promote what became known as "national security emergency preparedness" in Executive Order 12656 an order which watered down the previous version, E.O. 11490, because guess what? The other departments and agencies really did not want to have the "night" job of emergency preparedness and recovery but instead largely wanted to do their "day" jobs of catering to the lobbyists and special interests and Congressional interests that largely saw the federal government as an ATM for their interests. Even OMB was no help nor NSC because the first cared not for preparedness and recovery since always regarded as a contingency, and the latter as a largely domestic concern that could only end up stealing money from the military/industrial complex.

So again FEMA is not a "rebuttable presumption" except with NRC and who would have guessed that that organization with its odd charter with no mention of off-site public health and saftey would be the high point of another entity giving FEMA some benefit of the doubt.

And of course it should always be pointed out that funding the separate preparedness and recovery functions of the other departments and agencies is largely a joke and usually relegated to pile of nice but not needed budget category.

Well more to follow! And of course I would also point out that trying to discern the existing Executive Branch decision making processes in the Obama Adminsitration is a very difficult task. Like his predecessor Obama likes to appear decisive but is perfectly happy to have almost no transparency in his decision process. Example-look to the clearance of Executive Orders and those who are impacted by them and study how input was given! Hey Mr. President you can do better than BUSH!

Organizations That Could Impact HS/EM the MOST Over Next Decade

Another top ten list of organizations that have enough clout in Washington to significantly impact HS/EM over the next decade but probably will not do so for a variety of reasons. A study of their relative impact on policy would be of significant interest in identifying organizational success and failures since 9/11/01!

1. US House of Representatives.

2. US Senate.

3. GAO.

4. National Guard.

5. Fire Service.

6. DHS.

7. FEMA.

8. RED STATE Governors.

9. BLUE STATE Governors.

10. HS/EM Lobbying Organizations.

In the near future will be giving out information on the top ten in influence with some reasons why! And of course the listing above does not mean no impact at all. Just that these are the big ones that could positively impact HSEM!

The single most likely factor to influence HS/EM policy the next decade is that which influenced it most heavily since WWII. ACTUAL REAL WORLD INCIDENTS AND EVENTS!

Professor Thomas Birkland, PhD, and his focusing events theorem seems to have been proven correct in his published analysis in books and articles. See Claire Rubin's various charts on her website. I refer to these charts as the DEAD SEA SCROLLS of HS/EM!

Top Ten Thinkers in HS/EM

Okay not trying to popularize the blog but having some fun on the weekend.

Here are my top ten thinkers currently working in HS/EM! These people are not poseurs like me. And of course does not mean I agree with them all the time.

1. Stephen Flynn.

2. Juliette Kayem.

3. Rand Beers.

4. Richard Clark.

5. Dan Prieto.

6. Keith Bea.

7. Lee Hamiliton.

8. Rand Beers.

9. Christian Beckner.

10. Paul Stockton.

Okay more than a few buried somewhere in the administration. But always hoping that brains will out so to speak. Have fun developing your own list.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Craig Fugate

Dear Chief Fugate:

You don't know me and I have never met you. I have tried to learn more about you since the date you were interviewed by Secretary N. for a job in FEMA. I believe you were interviewed for the Deputy job and turned it down. That shows good self-esteem hopefully and not ego and hubris. So now after 18 months to settle in I thought it might interest you to have some thoughts from a FEMA retiree [retired 11 years on 10/1/2010]! I note for the record you are the third FIRE SERVICE person to lead FEMA. They have not been the best or the worst leaders FEMA has had but yes events sometimes unmask those who thought they were doing okay. So far I would argue you have not been really tested and with the Hurricane Season over the better lucky than good aphorism probably holds.

This letter will get somewhat technical and I cannot help that because in the past the devil has been in the details in FEMA. So I thought I would first list some of your accomplishments as a prelude towards the advice I would be offering you as a senior advisor and hopefully a trusted one.

Your campaign for individual and family preparedness has been excellent as have your speeches. But when push comes to shove as it well inevitably you need to know who in your organization you can trust to be competent and skilled in their jobs. From my vantage point it looks like there is still a core of competent appointees and employees in FEMA and hoping that the frustrations of a federal personnel system and poltical appointment process have not been too difficult a mountain for you to climb. Competent HR help is always in short supply and in my 20 years in FEMA from 1979-1999, there were 17 different heads of HR in the then independent FEMA. I also suspect that the personnel security world has come as quite a shock and recommend that you and you senior staff read the so-called Trefry Report from late 1992 under the George H.W. Bush Administration. It is a classic and acting on its suggestions was one reason James Lee Witt succeeded.

My view is that a competent, fully functioning, and transparent FEMA is what the citizens and residents of the US need, what STATES and their local governments need, what the civil agencies of the Executive Branch need, and especially what DHS, DOD, and DOJ need.

The Regional Offices could be a FEMA strength but have not been for several reasons. One is understaffing which I understand is being fixed to some extent. The second is uncertainty as to their role and their delegations. This could be fixed but it will take some doing.

The purpose of this open letter though is more basic. Has DHS resolved its issues vis a vis FEMA? Have you resolved issues in your own mind about an independent FEMA? Has the rank and file of FEMA adjusted to being housed in DHS? What is the culture you found in FEMA when you arrived and was it satisfactory to you or did you find you needed to make changes?

I can personally assure you that there was NO GOLDEN AGE in FEMA although some directors did better than others and one director was fortunate to have his President tell him [not in so many words] to ignore the national security culture in FEMA and stress the natural disaster side. Unfortunately, events intervened, and the national security part of FEMA's role was never allowed to be totally ignored by events including two WTC bombings and one Oklahoma City bombing.

The natural disaster side is heavily weighted by law and custom towards enhancing our federal system. Not so much the national security side of the FEMA equation. Yet resolution of the tensions between those two cultures I have reluctantly concluded will never happen and that tension might be useful to a skilled leader.

So let's move on from generalizations to specifics. And because I don't know how exactly you will answer some of these questions, I still have to ask them. They are part of the core of what kind of FEMA will exist under your leadership while you are its leader.

First, I note that the word "resilience" is now the new paradigm for DHS and I assume FEMA also. I am a supporter of that concept but only if it includes the following: (1) Preparedness; (2) Prevention; (3) Protection; (4) Mitigation; (5) Response; and finally (6) Recovery. FEMA is not responsible for all or even some portions of these paradigms in development, implementation, and/or operation but there does need to be a comprehensive set of understanding of who does what, and when and where do they do it?

How the rest of this letter fits into the theme of "resilience" only you can decide. The other decider might well be your staff and employees in their day to day decision making. To the extent any employee can make any decision that is unreviewed either because the employee has been appropriately delegated authority and accountability to make that decision he/she is a policy maker. Specifically if FEMA does not have the capability or "grip" to review individual employee decisionmaking then that employees decisions will stand as FEMA policy. This is not necessarily a bad thing since I believe that delegation of authority and accountability can be what FEMA needs. Employees don't need second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking but they do need a system that reviews how decisions are made, who makes them and the decisions themselves so that FEMA can understand what it is actually doing. This is what makes for a so-called "Learning Organization" which is what FEMA must be.

So leading on to the guts of this letter I ask the following questions, which you will have to answer one way or another. And by the way just so you know the FEDERAL Courts view the failure to make a decision as NOT being an exercise of discretion. Instead, creating an administrative record, and a record of decision is what keeps agency's from acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner. You can be arbitrary, even ignoring the administrative record,documenting your reasons for your decisions, but you cannot be capricious. Another way to approach this and believe me it has been contested even in the Federal judicial system and various administrative courts, is the question of "Whether FEMA is the expert" agency even in the programs, functions,and activities it administers, and therefor entitled to deference by those reviewing FEMA actions. There is no question for me that FEMA has always created opportunities for world class expertise but also has often punished expertise and competence as threatening some organizations status or leadership. This should not be the culture but only your interest in developing and mentoring expertise in FEMA can overcome that past anchor on FEMA's performance.

And of course the basic questions for you are rather simple ones: Is it the primary job of FEMA to promote efficient and effective disaster relief and response and recovery? Or is it the primary job of FEMA to lessen the likelihood of disasters occurring?

These may require different organizational arrangements, and even skill sets and competencies.

But of course I would argue for the latter question to be answered yes and the former question to be answered no. Perhaps you can help resolve the answers in a more complementary way but I do understand what you face. FEMA is in reality understaffed and underfunded for its multiple missions, of which only two are the premises of the questions above.

I am trying to help not hinder and more open letters to you will follow from time to time. My intention is to indicate that some out there in the wild blue yonder do understand the very difficult task you have been assigned and hoping as always your longevity and skills and competencies make for a wonderful time in office as FEMA director. But FEMA is not fixed until some of these basic cultural themes are resolved and perhaps they never will be or should be. But for whatever time you are given your recognition that the tensions exist and you deal with them openly and competently will make for a better FEMA organization.

And just so you know no FEMA Director or Adminstator was all good or bad or competent or incompetent. They all had their virtues and vices. And I can argue a pretty good case either way for all. Check earlier postings on this blog.

So just do the best you can and call them as you see them because like the UMPIRE once said "they are neither a ball or a strike until I call them"! You have been given that chance to call them.

The NFIP and Federal Disaster Relief

It is often objectively argued that 80% of all declared disasters in the US involve floods. One of the primary purposes of creating the National Flood Insurance Program codified at 42 USC Sections 4001 and following was to reduce federal disaster outlays, and hopefully the outlays of STATES and their local governments and the private sector. The basic quid pro quo in this land use program masquerading as insurance was that existing mistakes would be covered by federal flood insurance in return for minimization of future losses to floods. Another concept in the statute was that those who were occupying the nation's flood plains would bear the costs of that occupancy with burdening the general taxpayer especially with free disaster relief.

The NFIP primarily insures residential construction, single family and mulitfamily and small business. Smart Condo associations can often use the NFIP as first layer and get excess insurance sometimes even offshore. The NFIP does not in any way regulate how its offered insurance is meshed with offerings of the private insurance sector. It does however indirectly support STATE insurance regulation and sometimes STATES general revenues by having decided to let the STATES levy premium taxes on this federal program. I have long advocated that the STATE premium taxes levied go only to STATE floodplain management programs. And let's be honest few if any STATE floodplain management programs existed in June 1969 when the NFIP issued its first policy.

Now there is discussion of the need to reform the NFIP because of its costs to the taxpayer. Never is the issue raised as to whether NFIP reforms will increase FEDERAL disaster outlays. And by the way just for the record total crop insurance outlays, finance sector outlays, and other forms of federal "disaster" assistance far outweigh the meagre outlays of the NFIP over its premium income. The outrageously good deal given private insureres by participation in the program or by its existence generally allowing them to foist wind damage off as flood damage has been written up elsewhere.

What should be pointed out is that there were restrictions on outlays of disaster relief when flood insurance was available before Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 and its huge losses. The result of the fact that no disaster relief could be made available where the NFIP was available was considered too harsh on the public ans so the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (May 1974) relieved that restriction in part. Thus STATE's were mandated to buy their own flood insurance coverage on their structures but this through very contorted thinking has been largely an avoided consequence since May 1974. That issue alone would cause savings in both the NFIP and federal disaster outlays. What should be of interest is that the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, with its largely delayed effective date of December 31, 1974 was in fact joined at the hip in passage of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. Now largely forgotten the promise was made by Congress in those pieces of legislation that neither program, the NFIP or federal disaster relief, would be changed without consideration given to the impacts on the other.

Unfortunately, Since the Banking Committees have jurisidiction over the NFIP and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the HOUSE has jurisdiction over the disaster programs, functions, and activities of the Robert T. Stafford Act, never have the twain met again since the 1973-74 legislative enactments.

A further gutting of the NFIP sanctions and restrictions on disaster outlays occurred in 1977 led by Senator Eagleton in an amendment allowing disaster relief to non-designated flood areas of mapped floodprone communities under the NFIP. While at first this may seem sensible, the inaccuracy of the NFIP maps and the discentive to participation led to a major undermining of the NFIP. The restrictions should at least be returned to where they were pre-1977 if not returned to where they were pre-1974.

In an amazing report the Pittsburgh District of the USACOE did a study that recommended that the NFIP cover STATE and LOCAL water and sewage treatment plants. The basis of this recommendations was to force the STATE and Local owners of these plants to recognize more accurately flood risks in their construction and management. EPA also recognizes this need. I have long stated that EPA builds water and sewar treatment plants and FEMA rebuilds them after the flood. And don't think that water and sewerage treatment plants are not part of significant outlays under the Public Assistance Program authorized by the STAFFORD ACT. Some estimate that these outlays could represent up to 40% of all public assistance outlays. The problem of course is that water and sewage treatment plants are considered by some to be funcitonally dependent on the flood plain. This is not quite accurate but is certainly widely believed and because of NIMBY and other restrictive zoning, usually water and sewage treatment plants are not very close to residential areas or at least prime residential areas.

So in reforming the NFIP, and assuming some of my simplistic remedies are ignored (e.g. providing no NFIP insurance on unmapped geographic areas or for undisclosed hazards-mudslides for example)and outlays would have been substantially reduced in Katrina and even now, the impacts of changes in the disaster legislation and flood legislation must always be examined jointly.

Even individual and family grants to the extent that they hold in place in hazardous areas individuals and families can act as a disincentive to flood plain management 9land use)!

Perhaps this is all beyond the ken of Congress but is should not be beyond the ken of FEMA and the disaster and flood program managers. And perhaps time to separate disasters into components with floods and others such as earthquakes administered separately and more rationally than the so-called all-hazards disaster approach including intentional and accidental man-made incidents and events.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cooperation and Collaboration

I have long been an advocate of a cooperative and collaborative culture for EM as opposed to a top-down Command and Control culture. There may well be reasons for that cultural approach also to apply to DHS generally but my focus here is on FEMA. Cooperation and collaboration in a federal system would seem to be a given but because of failures of the field of Political Science and Public Adminstration to really analyze the effectiveness of different approaches to the "wicked" issues of crisis management, resilience, and other aspects of large scale incidents and events the cupboard is largely bare when practioners are faced with documenting the basics of developing or implementing or running a cooperative and collaborative culture.

In my twenty years in FEMA from 1979 to 1999 I was always amazed at the stovepipes in the organization, some of which almost destroyed FEMA. Examples, the national security effort, and attempts to be a major policy player in that arena by at least one FEMA Director, were often undercut by efforts to enhance FEMA authority vis a vis other departments and agencies in the civil agency structure. This usually took the route of trying to impose FEMA as the answer to the "who is in charge" question even while trying to avoid by plausible deniability that was the intent of programmatic officals. Now this may come as a surprise to some who always argued that the civil programs of FEMA were undercut by the national security types. That did happen occassionally but less often than you might imaging. The national security personnel in FEMA were just trying to be at the table on major national security issued impacting domestic affairs, not dictate or even be a policy leader. And of course as briefed in previous posts, one of the great smoke and mirrors efforts of all times, was the use of the federal civil defense program, which did not include COOP or COG, as the FEMA lead on national security issues. It never was and never would be for a variety of reasons. The real national security driver in FEMA was always COG and COOP. Well my effort here is to try and explain briefly the lack of skill and competence of the other FEMA programs, functions, and activities when dealing with the WH and other departments and agencies on policy development, implementation, and operations.

The concept of the FCO imbedded in the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288] was a reflection of the success of the first real FCO in history. That person was Associate Director of OMB Frank Carlucci, who incidentally was principle drafter of Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1973 breaking up the former OEP [Office of Emergency Preparedness]! Carlucci and Donald Rumsfeld also active in the Nixon Administration as Director of the Cost of Living Council leading the wage-price-rent freeze announced in 1971 and Ambassador to NATO, were wrestling buddies from Princeton Univesity days. Both of course went on to become SECDEFs with Rumsfeld doing that trick twice.

To continue the story. Carlucci during Hurricane/Tropical Storm Agnes was the go-to guy for the President and his clout was revealed when essentially he fired George Romney for failing to accomplish housing policy during the aftermath of Agnes in the Lycoming Valley of Pennsylvania.

So the concept got imbedded in the 1974 Disaster act. I always aggravated FEMA and its former disaster predecessor agency by arguing for a regulation concerning delegations to the FCO and an effort to address his/her powers and authority and responsibilities. That still has not really been done adquately. And of course I further aggravated the powers that be in that I stated my position was that FCO's were WH appointees, perhaps sometimes delegated to the Director of FEMA, but that the WH could make non-FEMA or non-FDAA personnel FCOs!

And then the problems with PFO concept arose out of HSPD-5 and Hurricane Katrina. This still has not been resolved to my satisfaction but that is not my story here. The FCO concept you would think would be regarded as a cooperative and collaborative position since the word "coordinating" has its place in the term. Yet the Carlucci model, more command and control still tends to predominate. What most don't realize is that NIXON gave Carlucci such huge bureacratic power and leaway was because he had bigger chips on the table in 1972 but did not want the Agnes effort to become a katrina like effort in that election year. Besides he and Kissinger has some traveling to do including kowtowing to the leaders of the Middle Kingdom! Carlucci's real job was to make sure that NIXON did not lose votes, not the first or last time that disaster operations have had a political flavor. And Agnes was a huge huge event. Crossing multiple states from the GOM to upstate NY.

What I found interesting is that FCO's only had formal training under Director James Lee Witt. I briefed two groups of them on their legal authority as FCOs and to some degree this post reflects that briefing. I was never asked back after those two sessions. Oddly, numerous members of those two groups later told me I gave the best briefing they ever recieved in their entire time as FCO's. Well these were largely GS-15s so perhaps they were more limited in background then some I briefed.

And of course the relationships between FCO's and FEMA Regional Directors has never been worked out to my satisfaction.

By what really fascinated me was when I was brought into the General Counsel's office to discuss the issue of whether FEMA could direct another federal agency or department to do something. An early independent FEMA GC had opined that FEMA could even direct the DOD to do things in a disaster. Of course there is authority for the President to direct other federal agencies to do things in a declared disaster or emergency [even without reimbursement] and in a highly technical sense that authority was delegated in the past to the independent FEMA's Directors, and now to the Secretary DHS. But in reality most agencies budgets are so tight that they cannot carry out mission assignments without reimbursement and in fact DOD is on record as refusing absolutely to do so. Of course if a President pushed that might be different in the short run but my guess is that authority is meaningless because money is what disaster relief is all about. And perhaps accurate information also.

So when invited with no time for preparation to a largely confrontational meeting in the GC's office with very senior appointees and program officials I was asked to expound on these topics. So never reluctant to leap into the fray and say what I actually thought here was my position:

Mission assignements were largely to be administered as cooperative and collaborative efforts. The task or mission or goal was to be laid out for the accepting department or agency but they using their expertise and skill set were free to design exactly how they were going to do it and to do it that way without being second guessed by FEMA. And more important that FEMA and the FCO's had absolutely NO authority to direct the specifics of how another department or agency accomplished their mission assignments. By the way the FCO classes I taught all breathed a sign of relief when I told them this position. I equated mission assignments to the fact that most federal agencies had no authority to recommend or promote a specific product or company as meeting their requirements. Instead, departments and agencies that were given standard setting authority, and DHS and FEMA have almost no authority to do that, had to indicate what performance standard was adquate and the various vendors and contractors were free to meet that standard any way they could. Clearly there are some cases where specific product testing does occur in the federal government, in particular FDA for both ethical drugs and medical devices.

For the purposes of the meeting described, and training sessions, there appeared to be some nodding of heads to my verbiage. In fact to my knowledge, despite as always my request that the issues raised be discussed and resolved preferably in writing still wander ghost like through FEMA and DHS today.

And despite the fact that wrestling is masked as a team sport it is IMO a highly individual sport and not one in which collaboration and cooperation is highly regarded. So much for Don and Frank!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The National Response Framework--Plan Consolidation

Let's go back for a moment. The Homeland Security Strategy of 2002 (July 6, 2002); the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (November 23, 2002); the Homeland Security Reorganization Plan at page 15 (November 25, 2002); HSPD-5 (February 28,2003); all called for consolidation of FEDERAL RESPONSE PLANS and in particular the Federal Response Plan, the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan, the National Contingency Plan for Oil Spills and Hazardous Materials Releases, and the CONOPLAN TERRORISM were all targeted for inclusion. Of course there are other federal response plans but for the moment let's ignore those plans. None of the above mentioned technically cover response to incidents and events on federally owned property or facilities which theoretically are the responsibility of the federal owner. But as we saw on 9/11/01 Arlington County VA did more in actual response than did the entirety of the DOD with respect to the terrorist strike on the Pentagon.
Okay so now since January 2008 we have the NRF [National Response Framework]! At some point it would be an important piece of US history to delve into the evolution of the mandate, from its inception until its failure.

So this will be a short and dirty history and probably contains some errors. What I would point out is the PLAN RECONCILIATION DOC posted on the homepage of this blog as giving some indication of the difficulty of the quest for this "holy grail"!

The inital FEDERAL RESPONSE PLAN was published and I would argue formally adopted in May 1992. Unfortunately, Hurrican Andrew made landfall [twice] in the US in August. So training and implementation was not yet in effect and in fact the first Bush Administration could not decide whether the plan had acutally been implemented or not for Hurricane Andrew response. That plan was partially revised and updated in 1999.
Then of course the CONOPLAN for Domestic Terrorism was published in January 2001. This represented a long struggle to bring the DOJ/FBI TEAM? back to the table after the refusal of DOJ to formally be involved in the Federal RESPONSE Plan. I argue that CONOPLAN is still in effect and until someone shows me a formal supersession document and incorporation into some other formal document will continue to persist in that belief.

Then 9/11/01 and official reaction to that event. A so-called National Response Plan was oddly assigned not to the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate of DHS when its doors opened in March but to Admiral Loy's Directorate which I believe was Border and Customs Enforcement or some variation thereof. Now Admiral Loy has a sterling reputation but despite his rising to Deputy Secretary of DHS and other honors, he blew it with the assignment of the NRP. He contracted with RAND for production and the output was a document that EM types and other First Responders at the STATE and their local level just could not figure out and complained they had been left out.

By the late fall of 2004 a draft document was circulating and pretty much announced as in effect by early December 2004. Unfortunately, as the OIG/DHS has concluded it was not formally signed off final and issued until April 12, 2005. And then guess what? Hurricane Katrina!

So once again the effort was tested before it could really be implemented. Portions did not work with the result that Secretary Chertoff, and Chief Paulison, Acting head of the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE [not Agency] worked to reconcile problems resulting in the issuance of the NRF [National Response Framework] in January 2008. Close review of that document demonstrates that it is a design concept and I would argue that no one in DHS really understands whether its various developmental tasks have been accomplished or not. For example, the original 15 National Preparedness Goals, now largely shrunk to 8 [and none involving regulated entities] are each receiving detailed work to develop SOP and CONOPLANs that will be the gold standard.
It appears that the OBAMA Administration may well have left office without producing any document that summarizes the total endproduct of the NRF and its design for response.

In the meantime we now have Admiral Thad Allen another Coastie with a sterling reputation innocently admitting that he did not understand how the totality of the federal response system worked. He has stated in an interview he did not understand how or why DOD was not involved early in the BP Catastrophe. He has stated he did not understand how or why the STATE and their local governments were confused over the response. He also has revealed that certain aspects of the National Contingency Plan, including funding arrangements, had been identified as problematic but funding to fix that plan and its implementation had not occurred as far back as 1997 under the Clinton Administration.

So here is my challenge to the 112th Congress! Hold hearings and have key witnesses describe to US the entirety of the federal response planning system and how it works and how it is funded and who will be showing up at federal, state or local level, or the for-profit sector, or the non-profit sector or whatever! Because the opaqueness of the current implementation of the NRF is a clear and present danger, if not to the national security [I would argue it is] but at least to domestic tranquillity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Presidential Authority

One of the broadest grants of discretion from Congress to the President is contained in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-707!

I used this section to highlight the broad Presidential authority and immediate access to funding the authority gave to the President in many briefings in DOD and DOJ and to other agency Emergency Management appointees and employees.

The provision is set forth here:

§ 5191. Procedure for declaration

(a) Request and declaration

All requests for a declaration by the President that an emergency exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State. Such a request shall be based on a finding that the situation is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that Federal assistance is necessary. As a part of such request, and as a prerequisite to emergency assistance under this chapter, the Governor shall take appropriate action under State law and direct execution of the State's emergency plan. The Governor shall furnish information describing the State and local efforts and resources which have been or will be used to alleviate the emergency, and will define the type and extent of Federal aid required. Based upon such Governor's request, the President may declare that an emergency exists.

(b) Certain emergencies involving Federal primary responsibility

The President may exercise any authority vested in him by section 5192 of this title or section 5193 of this title with respect to an emergency when he determines that an emergency exists for which the primary responsibility for response rests with the United States because the emergency involves a subject area for which, under the Constitution or laws of the United States, the United States exercises exclusive or preeminent responsibility and authority. In determining whether or not such an emergency exists, the President shall consult the Governor of any affected State, if practicable. The President's determination may be made without regard to subsection (a) of this section.


(Pub.L. 93-288, Title V, § 501, as added Pub.L. 100-707, Title I, § 107(a), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4706.)

Current through P.L. 109-367 (excluding P.L. 109-304, P.L. 109-351,
P.L. 109-364) approved 10-26-06

Of course the words I am focusing on are repeated here:

". . .when he [the President] determines that an emergency exists for which the primary responsibility for response rests with the United States because the emergency involves a subject area for which, under the Constitution or laws of the United States, the United States exercises exclusive or preeminent responsibility and authority. . ."

A single FEMA OGC opinion was written during my time in FEMA discussing this discretionary authority. Note that very few subject matter areas are truly exclusive to the federal government and even criminal law enforcement has many duplications and overlaps and works largely due to principles of "comity" meaning for this purpose recognition of principles of federalism. Unfortunately, "terrorism" has been de facto hijacked by the federal government in various amendments to the US Code, and not just Title 18 of the US Code, the so-called Criminal Code of the US, that directly or indirectly address terrorism. In fact almost 100 various terms involving "terrorism" with differing definitions now exist in the US Code. Exactly who is a statutorily defined "terrorist" is always a good question?

Recently the Administrative Conference of the US has discussed issues of "Preemption" largely in the regulatory context of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution but in fact that principle is also grounded in the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and de facto in the arena of National Security.

Over the years, several efforts have been made to identify broad Presidential authorities useful in various situations. This clearly is one of the most useful since the terms are largely undefined and can be defined only by implication when a President uses the authority. Again it is interesting that none of the oversight committees have taken any interest in the language above or its utilization or parameters.

I think a specific example or examples might be of interest to readers of this blog. The first one I would identify is Haiti and disaster operations in Mexico for example. One of the interesting things to me about the current Arizona immigration litigation [and jurisdictional issues have now been discussed in the literature overlooked by the federal district court in its decision now on appeal to the Ninth Circuit by the US and the State] is that it might end up with a decision as to the exclusivity of the authority of the US in immigrartion policy and enforcement. Note that current law on immigration has both civil and criminal components. Should such a result occur than perhaps we shall see some future President use this authority in the STAFFORD ACT to deal with an Immigration Emergency. Note that there is some history of this when President Carter used the provisions of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288) to deal with the Mariel Boatlife [which included both Cubans and Haitians] in 1980. And the Office of Legal Counsel opined that the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 granted the President that authority.

As we see an unskilled and injudicious DHS accelerate the breakdown between foreign and domestic threats, and foreign and domestic intelligence it might be a useful subject for Congressional review as to what each administration would laundry list as falling within the statutory authority discussed above. And of course remember despite any delegation, we are talking of Presidential authority not Secretary DHS or Administrator FEMA authority.

Defective Legislation

From time to time this blog will point out defects--some major some minor--in statutes in the US Code that are either directly contrary to the main purposes of the statutes or adversely impact implementation. Not the entire code of course--just statutes administered primarily by DHS and FEMA.

Other statutes with major defects related to HS/EM are readily available for others to analyze. For example virtually all of EPA's statutory authority have failed to be comprehensively updated and many since the agency was founded. If I had to pick out two it would be the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

So I thought I would start with Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act which was enacted by Public Law 103-337 and derives from Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress that was the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950. Some history of that statute appears on the documents listed at the top of the home page of this blog.

So my version would totally replace the current version of Title VI enacted hurriedly and in an effort primarily not to design good legislation but to remove the Senate and House Armed Services from direct oversight of any FEMA programs, functions, or activities in the early 90's. Title VI did accomplish that Congressional jurisdictional change but is not a well drafted effort.

So here is my version:



Declaration of Policy (42 U.S.C. §5195)

§601. The purpose of this subchapter is to provide a system of resilience for the protection of life and property in the United States from all-hazards not subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and their accidental or intentional occurrence. The Congress recognizes that this resilience has elements of prevention, protection, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery and that governmental organizational structures established by the Federal government and the States and their political subdivisions for emergency preparedness purposes can be effectively utilized to provide relief and assistance to people in areas of the United States struck by any hazard. The Federal Government shall provide necessary direction, coordination, and guidance, and shall provide necessary assistance, as authorized in this subchapter so that a comprehensive system to promote the elements of resilience exists for all hazards.

Definitions (42 U.S.C. §5195a)

§602. (a) Definitions. For purposes of this subchapter only:

(1) Hazard.

The term “hazard” means an emergency or disaster resulting from-

(A) a natural disaster; or

(B) an accidental or intentional event.

(2) Natural Disaster.

The term “natural disaster” means any hazard such as hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, drought, fire, or other catastrophic incident or event in any part of the United States that causes, or that may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons.

(3) Resilience.

The term “resilience" means all those activities and measures designed or undertaken to prepare for or minimize the effects of a hazard upon the civilian population, to deal with the immediate emergency conditions which would be created by the hazard, and to effectuate emergency repairs to, or the emergency restoration of, vital utilities and facilities destroyed or damaged by the hazard. Such term includes the following:

(A) Measures to be undertaken in preparation for anticipated hazards (including the establishment of appropriate organizations, operational plans, and supporting agreements, the recruitment and training of personnel, the conduct of research, the procurement and stockpiling of necessary materials and supplies, the provision of suitable warning systems, the construction or preparation of shelters, shelter areas, and control centers, and, when appropriate, the non-military evacuation of the civilian population).

(B) Measures to be undertaken during a actual incident or event the evacuation of personnel to shelter areas, the control of traffic and panic, and the control and use of lighting and civil communications; issuance of Protective Action Recommendations and Decisions to the public, fire fighting, search and rescue, emergency medical, health and sanitation services, monitoring for specific dangers or special weapons, unexploded bomb reconnaissance, essential debris clearance, emergency welfare measures, and immediately essential emergency repair or restoration of damaged vital facilities.

(b) Cross Reference.
The terms “national defense” and “defense”, as used in the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. App. §2061 et seq.), includes resilience programs, functions, and activities conducted pursuant to this Title.

Detailed Functions of Administration (42 U.S.C. §5196)
§611. (a) In General.
In order to carry out the policy described in §601[42 U.S.C.§5195], the Secretary Department of Homeland Security shall have the authorities provided in this section.
(b) Federal REsilience Plans and Programs.
The Secretary may prepare Federal plans and administer programs, functions, and activities to provide for the civil security and resilience of the United States or sponsor and assist such plans and programs when conducted by other governmental units.
(c) Delegation of Responsibilities.
With the approval of the President, the Secretary may cross delegate to other departments and agencies of the Federal government appropriate responsibilities and review and coordinate the activities of the departments and agencies with each other.
d) Communications and Warnings.
The Secretary shall make appropriate provision for necessary communications and for dissemination of warnings and alerts to the civilian population of the United States..
(2) developing shelter designs and materials for protective covering or construction; and
(3) developing equipment or facilities and effecting the standardization thereof to meet emergency preparedness requirements.

(b) conduct or operate schools, including the payment of travel expenses, in accordance with subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, and the Standardized Government Travel Regulations, and per diem allowances, in lieu of subsistence for trainees in attendance of the furnishing of subsistence and quarters for trainees and instructor on terms prescribed by the Director.
((3) The Director may lease real property required for the purpose of carrying out this subsection, but may not acquire fee title to property unless specifically authorized by law.
(c) Emergency Public Informaton.
The Secretary may publicly disseminate appropriate emergency public information by all appropriate means.
(d) Interstate Emergency Preparedness Compacts.
(1) The Secretary may ---
(A) assist and encourage the States to negotiate and enter into interstate compacts that support resilience;

(B) review the terms and conditions of such proposed compacts in order to assist, to the extent, feasible, in obtaining uniformity between such compacts and consistency with plans and programs;
(C) aid and assist in encouraging reciprocal emergency preparedness legislation by the States which will permit the furnishing of mutual aid for emergency preparedness in the event of a hazard which cannot be adequately met or controlled by a State or political subdivision thereof threatened with or experiencing a hazard.
(2) A copy of each interstate emergency preparedness compact shall be transmitted promptly to the Senate and the House of Representatives. The consent of Congress is deemed to be granted to each such compact upon the expiration of the 60-day period beginning on the date on which the compact is transmitted to Congress.
(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as preventing Congress from disapproving, or withdrawing at any time its consent to, any interstate emergency preparedness compact.
(4) The Director may procure and maintain under this subsection radiological, chemical, bacteriological, and biological agent monitoring and decontamination devices and distribute such devices by loan or grant to the States for emergency preparedness purposes under such terms and conditions as the Director shall prescribe.

(j) Financial Contributions.

Mutual Aid Pacts Between States and Neighboring Countries (42 U.S.C. §5196a)

§612. The Secretary shall give all practicable assistance to States in arranging, through the Department of State, mutual emergency preparedness aid between the States and neighboring countries.

Part B ---General Provisions
(42 U.S.C. §5197)
§621. (a) In General.
For the purpose of carrying out the powers and duties assigned to the Secretary under this subchapter, the Secretary may exercise the administrative authorities provided under this section.
(b) Advisory Personnel.
(1) The Secretary may employ not more than 50 part-time or temporary advisory personnel (including not to exceed 25 subjects of the United Kingdom or citizens of Canada) as the Secretary considers to be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this subchapter.
(c) Services of Other Agency Personnel and Volunteers.
The Secretary may ---
(1) use the services of Federal agencies and, with the consent of any State or local government, accept and use the services of State and local agencies;
(2) establish and use such regional and other offices as may be necessary; and
(3) use such voluntary and uncompensated services by individuals or organizations as may from time to time be needed.
(d) Costs. [Gifts]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may accept gifts of supplies, equipment, and facilities and may use or distribute such gifts for emergency preparedness purposes in accordance with provisions of this subchapter.

(e) Reimbursement.
The Secretary may reimburse any Federal agency for any of its expenditures or for compensation of its personnel and use or consumption of its materials and facilities under this subchapter to the extent funds are available.
(g) Rules and Regulations.
The Secreatry may prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper to carry out any of the provisions of this subchapter and perform any of the powers and duties provided by this subchapter. The Secretary may perform any of the powers and duties provided by this subchapter through or with the aid of such officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the Secretary may designate.
(h) Prevention of waste, fraud or abuse.
(1) When, after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing to the State or other person involved, the Secretary finds that there is a failure to expend funds in accordance with the regulations, terms, and conditions established under this subchapter for approved emergency preparedness plans, programs, or projects, the Secretary may notify such State or person that further payments will not be made to the State or person from appropriations under this subchapter (or from funds otherwise available subchapter for any approved plan, program, or project with respect to which there is such failure to comply) until the Secretary is satisfied that there will no longer be any such failure.
(2) Until so satisfied, the Secretary shall either withhold the payment of any financial contribution to such State or person or limit payments to those programs or projects with respect to which there is substantial compliance with the regulations, terms and conditions governing plans, programs, or projects hereunder.
(3) As used in this subsection, the term ‘person’ means the political subdivision of any State or combination or group thereof or any person, corporation, association, or other entity of any nature whatsoever, including instrumentalities of States and political subdivisions.
Security Regulations (42 U.S.C.§5197a)
Use of Existing Facilities (42 U.S.C. §5197b)
§623. Use of Existing Facilities.
In performing duties under this subchapter, the Secretary---
(1) shall cooperate with the various departments and agencies of the Federal government;
(2) shall use, to the maximum extent, the existing facilities and resources of the Federal government and, with their consent, the facilities and resources of the States and political subdivisions thereof, and of other organizations and agencies; and
(3) shall refrain from engaging in any form of activity which would duplicate or parallel activity of any other Federal department or agency unless the Secretary, with the written approval of the President, shall determine that such duplication is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this subchapter.
Applicability of subchapter (42 U.S.C. §5197d)
§625. The provisions of this subchapter shall be applicable to the United States, its States, Territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia, and their political subdivisions.
Authorization of Appropriation and Transfers of Funds (42 U.S.C. §5197e)
§626. (a) Authorization of Appropriations.
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.
(b) Transfer Authority.
Funds made available for the purposes of this subchapter may be allocated or transferred for any of the purposes of this subchapter, with the approval of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to any agency or government corporation designated to assist in carrying out this subchapter. Each such allocation or transfer shall be reported in full detail to the Congress within 30 days after such allocation or transfer.
Relation to Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. §5197f)
§627. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to alter or modify the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. §2011 et seq.)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (42 U.S. C. §5197g)
§628. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize investigations of espionage, sabotage, or subversive acts by any persons other than personnel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Looking forwards to Congress consideration of this modified Title VI!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Legislative Strategy for DHS

A lexis search of the entirety of the US Code for references to the Secretary Homeland Security and Department of Homeland Security should be conducted and made available publically on a DHS website. I don't have lexis. But my guess is that DHS and its Secretary might be surprised at what turns up or does not turn up.

Then a general technical amendment substituting the Secretary DHS for any subordinate officialof DHS named in Statutes except for the Coast Guard Commandant and the Coast Guard should be drafted and submitted through OMB to Congress.

I also suggest that some statutes identified not be delegated by the Secretary DHS to any component in DHS. But some authorities should be delegated to the heads of other departments and agencies, and this is called cross-delegation.

What most non-lawyers do not realize is that unless there is a restriction in a delegation it may be redelegated. Also no delegation prohibits the person with the authority originally vested with the mandate from exercising authority delegated. Obbviously that fact should not keep that authority from being used sparingly. A good example is that Secretary Chertoff could have been the key player in Katrina but instead he choose to pretend that Michael Brown was in charge.

Also not that delegations are to positions not persons. When a person is specifically named, not a position, then that is called a "designation"!

I also suggest that the General Counsel of DHS establish a system of legal opinions, which may or may not be made public in their entirety, that lists all sections of the US Code for which the opinion or interpretation or whatever is issued. This would also identify which legal opinions went through entire GC review and were actually signed by the GC not some subordinate official. The same system would be developed by each subordinate unit or component of DHS. This systematic recordation of opinions could be vital in COOP or COG operations. Well I do stand for "transparency" just as President Obama says he does.

It is important to reflect on the fact that I know of no single cross-delegation anywhere in DHS or its components and that indicates basic legal work has not been accomplished. My guess is that some MOUs or MOA's or Economy Act efforts are de facto and maybe even de jure cross-delegations.

Another legislative recommendation that would also involve OPM but I think would save money in the short and long run for DHS and its minions is to standardized its retirement with a 25 year and out retirement given stresses and strains from the Homeland Security and EM effort. This would even apply to the badge carrying guntoters and the US Coast Guard. This single retirement system would do the most to foster a culture in DHS that was not divisive or a deterrant to cross-deploments to other components and a single career culture might be the goal.

Also the path to develop new SES capability should ensure that assignments of at least 90 days in a field unit of DHS are included.

I am beginning to wonder why so many second career types are finding DHS hospitable? Is it personal finances or lack of financial planning? Is it ambition? Whatever studies in the past have shown that second career agencies often are less creative and energetic than organizations that raise their own leadership. Frank Carlucci--then an OMB Director or Associate Director when designing Reorganization No. 1 of 1973 which broke up the OEP (Office of Emergency Preparedness) described in writing that organization as the "Old Soldiers Home" and whatever his intention that disparagement did not have some basis in fact. Battlefield
comradary often turns to career friendships and perhaps conflicts of interest.

It would be interesting to know if the components of DHS have any outreach program or effort to other DHS components? Even a PPT Briefing offered during lunchtime on each component might draw a crowd if skilled briefers utilized.

I do continue to worry that DHS is not a very agile organization. Why is that and am I wrong to think DHS should be such an agile organization? Also a learning organization?

Documentary History

Hoping that readers have found the documents posted on the home page helpful. I continue to add and refine those postings so hoping recommendations on additions and subtractions will be sent to me.

By the end of the week, the most comprehensive history of federal civil defense from WWII to 1980 will be posted on the FAS reference page reachable first by clicking on FEMA Reference Material and second on the link that turns up. This history was paid for by FEMA and oddly does not reference to my knowledge a single [now declassifed] Presidential directive or NSDD on civil defense. There are a few in that time frame.

To oversimply, after the JOHNSON administration civil defense was not a significant factor in either the real strategic balance or the artificialites of US-Soviet strategic posture. Despite that it is my belief that contributions were made to what has become EM and the civil defense programs were never operated in bad faith, although cogent arguments to that effect have been made.

Perhaps incorrectly I role the dual-use debate into all-hazards and CEM, Comprehensive Emergency Management, a product and label created by the NGA.

speaking of real world threats--reading an interesting book published in late 90's called "Blindman's Bluff" about US efforts to use its attack submarine fleet to gather intel during the Cold War. Not so Cold in this instance.

History may not be prologue but it surely is interesting.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tribute To Keith Bea

Well because he is still employed and I hope he stays at CRS forever hoping this blog post does not damage Keith's career in any way.

It is just that from time to time on this blog I intend to document on the record some of the major contributors to the field of EM and HS. Any deficiencies in analysis are solely mine.

I knew of Keith long before he knew of me. While I was employed by FEMA from 1979-1999 it was only after my retirement that Keith contacted me and asked me to brief him and other CRS staff on FEMA issues. I am sure that my reputation as Mr. Document Production helped spur his interest.

Keith has had a very long and productive CRS career and has often shed light into the darkness of government policy, law, and history. He is a national resource and if he does follow through on his threat to retire in January I strongly urge that some think tank employ Keith to continue his productive insights which I consider as appropriate for CRS, both non-partisan and bi-partisan.

But as readers of this blog know, I can never escape from documenting the factual record as I know it even though it may be off base. For many years, Keith was the CRS expert on federal disaster programs but had little or no knowledge of civil-military issues generally, or the role of the "National Security State" and its impacts on domestic policy. In fact that confluence is deliberately made opaque for most except the priesthood that has dedicated its life to trying to understand the relationships involved and organizational cultures. Part of this of course is related to government secrecy and classification and need to know. I highly recommend deceased Senator Daniel Patrick Monyihan's book entitled "Secrecy" as background.

As a sort of Fireman in FEMA OGC during my time there I had an opportunity to delve in FEMA programs, functions, and activities in a broad ranging way. Although like all good bureacrats tried to avoid accountability purely for reasons of career survival I did obtain a fairly good insight into FEMA and its problems. So my briefing of Keith and CRS probably opened a few eyes, but Keith's were already wide open.

One of the reasons FEMA was formed was the concept of Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and its subsets of dual use and all-hazards coverage. The fact that these concepts were heavily manipulated by the the FEMA leadership and the STATES and their local governments over the years was a result. Part of that history is explained elsewhere on the blog.

Two things I remember from that CRS briefing were the following: The National Security State which like 95% of the nation-states in the world coveted domestic disaster relief, but only in the immediate humanitarian response phase and were totally ignorant of civil preparedness, civil security, mitigation, and recovery. This also has been documented on my blog at least partially so far. And I note that over 500 serving officers and enlisted personnel attended the recent IAEM conference in San Antonio. Would that the combined civil agencies in the Executive Branch had the largesse of the US Armed Forces.

Back to the theme of this post. Specifically the virtues of Keith Bea as analyst at CRS.

I also in a second theme to CRS staff and Keith documented how the federal civil defense program which operated from 1951-1994 under the oversight of the Armed Services Committees of House and Senate, but not the appropriations subcommittee on Armed Services after FY 1981 was not a factor in either national security strategy or other strategic doctrinal fights, and this was especially true after a major FEMA reorginzation in 1981 by the newly arrived Reagan Administration.

It is my understand that Keith did not write about FEDERAL Civil defense efforts but I may be wrong. After its end in 1994 I have tried numerous times and on this blog to defend the civil defense effort against charges that next to Viet Nam it was one of the greatest efforts of the US government to convince its residents and citizens that civil defense was possible even in light of doctrinal development of concepts such as MAD [Mutual Assured Destruction]! What Charles Perrow and Dee Garrison have written about civil defense in recent books is in error in my judgement. Specifically that the federal government and political leadership of the US operated in bad faith as far as civil defense efforts. I was not accountable for that effort directly at any time but watched with great interest and curiousity as the struggle bureacratically for making civil defense relevant was conducted in FEMA until 1994. One example is the research effort of civil defense which assisted in developing a generation of sociologists who did conduct original research on subjects vital to EM as varied as shelter vis a vis evacuation and protection of the general public against ionizing radiation dangers. Another story would be how much of this research was totatlly misunderstood in FEMA.

Anyhow Keith was somewhat surprised to learn from me that the civil defense program was not the portal to the national security state. And that the COG program was separately authorized and funded after the mid-1950's, and not part of Civil Defense as argued by Perrow and Garrison.

But Keith is very very smart. Much smarter than I am so that he was well prepared to see the linkages between EM and HS as it developed and to understanding that the incorporation of FEMA into DHS, with DHS'primary single focus and mission on terrorism (DHS now argues that it is all-hazard but the truth will out)distorted the FEMA all-hazards mission and efforts.

Keith also picked up on the notion of FEMA as a buffer between the civil agencies, including those like EPA and NRC [note the Chemical Demilitarization Program now acronymd CSEEP-Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program) and DOD. Also FEMA as a buffer between DOD and DOJ. Well those stories are to be documented more completely elsewhere.

My point is not that my briefing was so skilled but that the brilliance of Keith made him realize the following key points and that is fully absorbed and expressed in his heroic efforts to explain to Congress these critical relationships:

First the NSC and its minions have involved themeselves heavily with domestic crisis management issues including environmental and disaster response. Not always to beneficial effect. Note the current NSS efforts on resilience.

Second, you cannot understand DHS and FEMA without understanding DOJ and DOD and the National Guard culture and the culture of the Armed Forces of the US.

Third, that DOD through timely interventions in domestic policy has actually prevented the civil agencies from developing successful policies on crisis management and disaster response. Note that if E.O. 12148 is still in effect and not void by operation of law as I believe then NSC and DOD have oversight of some FEMA policies and programs.

Fourth, that the STATES and their local governments want it both ways and all ways and hoping desperately no one will notice how limited their organizational arrangements are to successfully implement crisis management. In fact EM as a discipline largely arose to subject that chaotic situation to some semblance of systemization. The STATES and their local governments desperately want a FEMA around, in part, to deflect blame from their screwups, and of course provide oodles of money.

And Fifth, that the Committee structure in the US Congress was and is devastating to any kind of effective and efficient crisis management in the Executive Branch. The failure of any Committee of Congress to conduct hearings on crisis managementsystems and processes, or the lack thereof, in my time is also something that registered with Keith. Oversight of Katrina failures not withstanding.

My point is that Keith is one of perhaps less than 100 people anywhere in the federal government that understands fully the nuances of these critical relationships and important problems as discussed above, sophmorically of course by this long-retired civil servant.

Bottom line: Please Keith stay another 5 years. I know it will be a sacrifice. But if you leave, the world awaits you and is your oyster because as you taught me and have always known how the oldest and richest democracy (Republic) deals with the real world issues of natural, man-made, accidental and intentional disasters and emergencies will not end any time soon unless that Asteroid arrives sooner than we think.

And Keith, I hope you do receive honors in your own time because your efforts on behalf of the American people have been heroic. Many many thanks!