Monday, June 4, 2012

NFIP two month extension-Impact on 2nd homes!

See: The Office of the Federal Register has assigned law numbers to the following bill(s) approved by the President: H.R. 5740 / Public Law 112-123 To extend the National Flood Insurance Program, and for other purposes. (May 31, 2012; 126 Stat. 365; 2 pages) This short extension also contains an increase in flood insurance rates to full actuarial rates for second homes over 4 years at 25% per year. I tried to get a total second home cutoff of federal flood insurance and will continue to try to do so. I also would prohibit federal disaster relief for second homes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is a Framework?

The various frameworks mandated under PPD-8 and elsewhere continue to struggle towards finality with an announced deadline of June 30th at the White House. So the word "framework" largely undefined will be the principal contribution towards planning and preparedness of the Obama 1st term (assuming a second one occurs! The first so-called National Framework was the spring 2008 issuance of the National Response Framework issued by the Bush Administration reflecting supposedly the lessons learned and correcting problems in the NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN issued final final in April 2005 and never fully implemented before Hurricane Katrina occurred. A brief history of that effort appears in Claire B. Rubin's first and second edition of her book--EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT-The American Experience issued under the auspices of PERI--now largely defunct. A more detailed examination of this evolution will be available this fall from the Institute for Naval Proceedings in a book principally written and edited by John F. Morton. The bottom line is that the so-called FRAMEWORKS were designed to kick off detailed plans, SOP's, Concept of Operations and other documents. With the 15 original scenarios now consolidate to eight (8)or less, none of which deal with critical infrastructure failures from whatever the cause, the result is chaos and little common understanding of what exactly can be expected from the federal government in almost any probable scenario and certainly not in any catastrophic event context. So drafts of the FRAMEWORKS incorporating public comments have now been issued. Finalization by review or signature by President Obama is unknown but I suspect it is the next Administration that will finalize while the Obama Administration and the NEW FEMA hope and pray that the "big one" does not occur before the election. Time will tell!

Monday, May 21, 2012

NRC and NEI and Fukishima

The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] has in fact registered that Fukishima may directly and indirectly threaten the nuclear power industry that is regulated by the NRC. Offsite safety issues, which should involve FEMA due to its assigned tasks going back to President James Early Carter as the expert judges of offsite safety considerations but does not has left NRC to deal with the issues arising out of Fukishima. All repeat all nuclear power reactors are NOW shut down in Japan and with a tense summer facing the Japanese over brownouts or worse as they shut off 30% of their energy supply by shutting the reactors it will be quite interesting to see what happens. In the meantime, the NEI [Nuclear Enterprise Institute] continues to launch a daily stream of "Be happy, don't worry" press releases over US impacts and even Japanese impacts of the Fukishima event. The potential for further problems from Reactor #4 at Dai Ichi seems to be the dominant issue with some experts expecting further dire outcomes from that reactor. NEI was of course the Edison Electric Institute but changed its names over a decade ago. It remains the "trade association" for the nuclear power industry. All in all since March 11th, 2011, when the earthquake and tsunami hit in Japan the fallout from the event grows daily in Japan and elsewhere. The trend line for further problems in nuclear power is up not down IMO. And waste storage and uranium supplies over the rest of the century continue to be problematic. Andy Mitchell continues to run the TECH HAZARDS programs in FEMA. I recently posted on on the history of E.O. 12657 published in November 1988 and requiring FEMA to prepare for the contingency that STATES and their local governments fail to adquately plan or prepare for a core melt accident, OR RESPOND! Meaning the STATES and/or their local governments fail to respond adequately. The NRC used its RASCAL modeling system to model the Fukishim event and recommend a 50 mile evacuation zone from the reactors. IF FEMA were forced to adopt a 50 mile EPZ by NRC it would in fact create absolute chaos in that program. The REPP [radiological emergency preparedness program] continues to be unable to face the advent of social media 2.0 on its various preparedness programs. With the JIC now at the White House in large scale events, few will be understanding of why that is a disaster in itself. Still, President Obama may just escape from office by defeat by not having any large scale catastrophic events [other than those led by Wall Street] during his time in office. His basic strategy in HAITI--ignore HAITI. His basic strategy in FUKISHIMA--ignore Fukishima. So far due to the incompetence of the MSM it has succeeded and neither appear to be election issues.

Reminder-My other blogs!

I continue to use my FACEBOOK page as my third blog. Also continue to post on Also continue to post comments on blog.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Expiration of NFIP and Reform

The NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program codified at 42 USC 4001 and following] will expire the end of May. It probably will be extended but a single legislative change could reform the program adequately for many years. Sales of insurance could be conducted only in mapped areas under the NFIP. This would require the following language to be inserted in any appropriate place in the statute: National Flood Insurance availability: Insurance under the NFIP will only be made available after December 31, 2012, in areas designated as numbered or unnumbered A or V zones on NFIP maps. This would help to ensure that further taxpayer subsidy of the NFIP are unnecessary. This seemingly simple change which conforms to the original statutory intent would have numerous implications that I leave to others to discern.

Monday, April 16, 2012

PDM--Predisaster Mitigation Goes Bye bye!

The FY 2013 Obama Administration requests no funding for predisaster mitigation. I have learned that HILL staff working for the appropriations committee do not intend to reverse that decision. Whatever the benefits of predisaster mitigation for an agency working resilience issues and whole of community issues this is tragic.

FEMA is now almost completely a response organization trying to perfect handing out monies and info with some expedition. The fact that much of this activity will be lost in the next disaster does not seem to both the leadership.

FEMA's real job, a tough one is to reduce disaster outlays, not increase them. Too bad neither the Congress, the Administration, or FEMA's leadership understands that fact.

As currently administered, disaster relief and flood insurance are aggravating the future flood losses IMO.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Leaders and Lawyers in FEMA!

I was a member of the FEMA General Counsel office from 1979-1999 when I retired. I have posted on my other blog at an article about the SALT effort in the current OCC.

Some background: Of the five General Counsels I worked with only two could be characterized as activists. The others lawyered carefully and defensively which was good but really only served to provide rationales for inaction to the FEMA leadership.

I often said that if I was made the GC I would only issue the NO opinions while all those working for me could issue the YES opinions. I was also never allowed to guide the legal direction of the statute that gave the widest discretion to FEMA, specifically the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288]that was superseded in part, revised in part, and supplemented in part by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [Public Law 100-707] both codified in Title 42 of the US Code starting at Section 5121.

Oddly perhaps only two of the Directors of FEMA I served under were activists, specifically Lewis O. Guiffrida and James Lee Witt. They did not exactly overlap the activists lawyer General Counsel's willing to say yes.

But I am glad to see the SALT effort being made by current Chief Counsel Brad Keiserman.

This October 1st I will have been retired 13 years from FEMA. In that time I have had only one official call back to provide some factual information and that concerned the so-called FAST BREAKER nuclear accident/incident at a power reactor. I stated then as now that FEMA's REPP did NOT take into account that event nor did NRC's regulatory efforts.

Perhaps Lessons Learned from FUKISHIMA will change that conclusion.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Executive Order 12919 rescinded by new EO!

Executive Order 12919 issued in June 1994 and which replaced EO 10480 has been rescinded by an Executive Order issued Friday by the President. The new Order will have a number assigned by NARA this week.
It is not a significant change except it repairs the Presidential delegation it represents to directly place obligations on the Department of Homeland Security as opposed to the Administrator FEMA.
More importantly it continues to delegate authority to multiple agencies and departments, including the Commerce Department which is threatened by a proposed Presidential reorganization.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Text of Executive Order 12241 [1980]

Executive Order 12241--National Contingency Plan

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12241 of Sept. 29, 1980, appear at 45 FR 64879, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 282, unless otherwise noted.

By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America under Section 304 of Public Law 96-295 (94 Stat. 790) and Section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code, and in order to provide for the publication of a plan to protect the public health and safety in case of accidents at nuclear power facilities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1-101. The functions vested in the President by Section 304 of Public Law 96-295 (94 Stat. 790) are delegated to the Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

1-102. A copy of the National Contingency Plan shall, from time to time, be published in the Federal Register.



IMO any formal change to the FRERP should have been published in the Federal Register or at least Referenced by Notice.

When [Not if but when] FEMA is Reorganized!

Many know that I think the forthcoming Commerce Department termination under President Obama's Reorganization Proposals will also impact the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] and the Mitigation % Insurance Directorate in FEMA.

But I am now willing to predict that FEMA's REPP [Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program] may well be on its way to EPA the organization who EPZ PAGs [Protective action guidance] determine the perimeter of that zone. FDA of course has its own PAGs that determine the 50 mile demarcation for the INGESTION Pathway for food and animals.

Why this prediction? As each day passes it is becoming more and more obvious that the FUKISHIMA events may be a MOM [maximum of maximums] for Japanese society and culture at least for this century. To be brief, already looking like beyond the capability of that very capable developed country to handle.

Japan studied in some detail FEMA's REPP and determined for a variety of reasons, some corrupt, that it was unnecessary to develop an equivalent in Japan. France also made that determination.

So as we pass the one year mark, and FEMA's REPP established originally under President James Earl Carter in 1980 enters its 4th decade the question arises as to its staffing and expertise.

EPA does have an office of Emergency Response led by a capable up-thorugh-the-ranks SES, Deborah Dietrich, and that office probably should have had REPP from the onset except that FEMA was victim based on its inability to understand what was involved and defend itself. The original MOU between FEMA and NRC was excuted by NRC personnel detailed from NRC when REPP was established. Marshall Sanders, a retired b-52 pilot was one of the NRC detailees and he stayed on at FEMA until his second retirement.

As my sworn deposition at the Seabrook Power Station, and my several days of sworn testimony before the ASLB, this amazing bit of bureacratic corruption apparently bothered no one but me.

At least EPA employes Health Physicists as FEMA and DHS do not.

So all it would take is a revised Executive Order, including revision of E.O. 12241 to give the lead to EPA. Based on what we now know from FUKSIMA this revision and reassignment of functions and activities could occur immediately since the REPP is funded totally by USER FEES and their are few budget implications.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

FEMA and HAITI and FUKISHIMA--What did FEMA know and When did they know it?w

Well it has been over two years since the Haiti Earthquake and almost a year since the Fukishima event! Why blog about these two events when FEMA has little or no authority to operate internationally. It did have a NATO civil security role under Executive Order 12656 as amended but now that is a DHS role. And in fact in my time at FEMA 1979-1999 FEMA officials parked at NATO went native and contributed almost nothing to the agency's understanding of comparative civil security and Emergency Management issues and policies in the NATO countries. This is somewhat ironic since some of the EU countries are well ahead of the USA in both HS and EM. Proof check out the London Olympics this summer. And guess what intensive and extensive plans now exist to evacuate all of LONDON if its necessary including the transportation dependent. NYC and DC not even close.

So given the passage of time, what has FEMA contributed to the response and recovery of these events, and more important what has it learned? I would argue ALMOST NOTHING!

If my position is correct then FEMA really does not understand these events, the possibility of their occurring in the USA and does not have any really quality technical analytical and policy personnel that can understand the implications of these two events for the USA.

In an effort to measure metric wise what is a Catastrophe, and remember I always measure any incident or event that knocks out the capability of any level of government to respond and recovery as a catastrophe for that governmental unit, whatever others say, then metrics don't really count. But here is one anyway.


What actually has happened in Haiti is that a pretend nation-state a mere 700 miles offshore has been allowed to internally collapse. After just a four month term the new Prime Minister has resigned. This festering mess is a large large black mark on an Administration that will be intervening IMO in Syria this year. See my other blog at and HLSWATCH.COM for discussion and comments by me.

And in Japan, the world's 2nd largest economy is struggling with the FUKISHIMA event although no one in Japan wants to label it accurately as a continuing catastrophic event.

HAS the FEMA REPP [radiological emergency preparedness program] now headed by Andy Smith learned anything from this event? Has Mr. Smith visited Japan or Adminsitrator FUGATE or DEPUTY Serrino? AFter all Director James Lee Witt visited Japan after the KOBE Earthquake and he learned a lot from that trip that impacted FEMA policies.

So let's have some Congressional oversight of FEMA's efforts on Haiti, Fukishima, and perhaps even New Zealand which is a country facing up to the fact that Christchurch will never be the same city, unlike the pretensions of all that NOLA can be fully restored to pre-Katrina levels of society.

These could be issues in the Campaign but won't be because the BUSH 43 Administration believed that FEMA was not an important component of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Death of Patricia Gormley, Esq.

I was notified that Patricia Gormley the only female General Counsel of the independent Executive Branch agency FEMA died this AM one year after her husband.
Pat served as the GC of FEMA from August 1990 to January 20, 1993,and was the first four striper female NAVY JAG officer and a former Counsel to the IG at the Veterans Administration before she came to FEMA. She had been a Marine officer and converted to NAVY JAG after graduating from law school when she ranked as a Marine Corps Major.

IN my considered opinion she was the best of the best, the most courageous GC of FEMA ever, and I loved her unrequited of course.

She will be buried in the future in Arlington Cemetery alongside her husband.

I still think of her and the various challenges she faced as GC of FEMA, me not the least. But she had the highest standards.

Sympathy to all her family and friends that survive her.

Monday, January 30, 2012

LTG Frank Camm, RET. Death notice!

President James Earl Carter created FEMA in his Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 which was implemented by two Executive Orders, 12127 and 12148.
General Camm was confirmed by the Senate in the position of Associate Director of Plans and Preparedness by the Armed Services Committee of the Senate and full Senate. He served until January 20, 1981, and was delegated authority from the Director of FEMA John Macey for the former functions of the Federal Preparedness Agency (GSA) and the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DoD) that were two of several predecssor organizations of FEMA.
General Camm graduated from West Point in 1943. An obituary appeared in the WAPO on January 29, 2012.
He was succeeded in his position by Col. John Brinkerhoff, RET., West Point Class of 1950, who served until a reorganization of FEMA was conducted by Director Louis O. Guiffrida, an appointee also confirmed by the US Senate, of President Ronald Reagan.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quick Update on Current Events and this blog!

It has been over 20 days since I last posted on this blog. It will however continue because a bunch of FEMA policy and organizational issues will be hitting the proverbial fan this spring. Why? FEMA performance in a record 14 billion dollar disasters in 2011 will be looked at closely. Also the President's reorganization efforts may have fall out for FEMA. And the NFIP expires again this summer and many on the HILL are vowing reforms. I have seen few reforms actually suggested as most would do nothing but continue defective policies in place. The NFIP should only provide flood insurance in the mapped and enforced 100 year flood plain actually the 1% annual excedence interval flood plain.

So here is my take on other current events.
And by the way my FACEBOOK page--William R. Cumming--is now my third blog. Try it and you may like it.

And my main blog is still found at

The STATE of the UNION message flopped.

The ARAB SPRING flopped.

The ECONOMY continues to flop!

The military efforts in Afghanistan continue to flop!

The EUROZONE financial crisis continues and rescue efforts for Greece have flopped.

CAIN, PERRY, BACHEMAN, PALIN, HUNTSMAN, PAWLENTY, and others flopped bigtime in 2011. All current candidates will stay in through Supertuesday.

Joe Biden is a flop even as VP and will be replaced by Obama on the ticket.

Wall Street has flopped.

The Japanese response to the FUKISHIMA event has flopped.

PUTIN has flopped!

The theory that the climate has not entered a long term warming period has flopped.

Your questions answered, perhaps incorrectly, at

Still 9 weeks of "winter" whatever that means for the weather!

Friday, January 6, 2012

FEMA as safety net!

No FEMA director or administrator has ever resigned or departed from the job voluntarily. But suppose a crisis of conscience did occur with that result. W. Craig Fugate has pretty much had a successful tenure as Administrator of FEMA since May of 2009 but he might be a candidate.


FEW anywhere understand that FEMA is not the federal safety net for either domestic crisis management, prevention, response, recovery and mitigation. It is still even with expansion of numbers a relatively small underfunded federal agencies whose major partners, the OFAs [other federal agencies] are experiencing rapid decline in their preparedness capability and this will accelerate over the next calendar year. The same holds true for FEMA's state and their local government partners. And now Administrator Fugate advocates FEMA policy and the Stafford Act being brought into alignment with SCOTUS rulings and USA history and treating the Federally Recognized Native American Tribes as being direct recipients of FEMA grants and agreements. I support this effort by the way. The problem of course is that the 500+ federally recognized tribes have almost no Emergency Management or HS capability and won't have it until built over at least a decade. So the complex administration of FEMA's efforts to have full fledged partners to help out is still a long way off and promises to recede even further into the future.

So perhaps W. Craig Fugate needs to get the Administration and Congress to address the issues raised by FEMA not being the safety net, and merely a small cooperative and collaborative agency that does not do that particularly well either.

Time runs out on Fugate whether because of a catastrophic event or whatever! Hope he survives and can address the issues underlying this post in a successful manner. Otherwise by by like all others who held his position before him.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Well 2012 is finally here. And guess what at least 10 countries that may well impact this century in good and bad ways have Presidential elections including the USA.
My take on Iowa is pretty meaningless as New Hampshire and S. Carolina will soon demonstrate.

Barring a catastrophe and poor FEMA response W. Craig Fugate is very likely to be a holdover whomever is the next President. Longest serving FEMA Director or Administrator is still James Lee Witt, arriving early in 1993 and departing in January 2001. His greatest contribution to FEMA policy was a management decision to implement the recommendations of the Trefry Report issued in 1992 that recommended a reduction of cleared personnel in FEMA and he did that by 45%. Thus, information sharing was encouraged not discouraged by the "need-to-know" doctrine often utilized by bureaucrats to prevent discovery of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Two greatest financial problems in FEMA history. Alleged defalcation by a Senior Accounting Official of $21 million and some change. And the immediate disposal post exercise of a communications system that cost about $70 million to create and was totally inadequate for the job.

Well the future is now for FEMA. By the way PKEMRA 2006 had lots of HUMAN CAPITAL mandates for FEMA and wonder when GAO or OIG/DHS will investigate current compliance?

Here is to a year without CAT 5 storms, no major dam or levee failures, no earthquakes, and no tornadoes. Unlikely I know.