More on the DHS OIG Reports

Last weekend, the Diva did a posting titled What the Heck is This About, which dealt with the decision of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove some reports about early disaster response activities from their website.

On March 16, a reporter at USA Today provided more details in a second article about the DHS OIG reports. See: FEMA’s response to Hurricane Maria won’t get initial review under watchdog agency’s new approach. Reporter Ledge King raised several issues that remain about the decisions made by the OIG, including how best to inform FEMA staff re progress with response efforts and how to provide documentation of response progress for those outside the agency interested in the disaster response process.

The Diva was pleased to be interviewed by the reporter to make the case on behalf of researchers and historians.

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FEMA’s New Strategic Plan

From HSToday, this announcement: FEMA Strategic Plan Centers on Community Resiliency, Catastrophe Prep, Less Red Tape.   From the forward:

The most important lesson from the challenging disasters of 2017 is that success is best delivered through a system that is federally supported, state managed, and locally executed,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long says in the plan’s foreword. “This plan seeks to unify and further professionalize emergency management across the nation and we invite the whole community to join us in embracing these priorities. We must all work as one through this strategy to help people before, during, and after disasters to achieve our vision of a more prepared and resilient nation.”

The Diva thinks she has heard these words before.

Update: By March 16 several news sources noted the missing words “climate change.” Here are two articles:


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Global Warming – US quietly acting on it

See this article in Reuters: Weathering Trump’s skepticism, U.S. officials still fighting global warming

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Case Studies in Floodplain Buyout

From Prevention Web, some case studies done by Rice University: Case studies in floodplain buyouts: Looking to best practices to drive the conversation in the Houston region

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PreFab Homes as Replacement Housing

Prefab Finds a Home in Fire-Ravaged Neighborhoods of California.

For decades, utopian designers and populist dreamers have glorified prefabricated housing. The idea to mass-produce a home like an automobile, with much of the process standardized in a factory, promised greater efficiency and lower costs than traditional stick-built architecture.

“It’s a dream that has confounded generations of architects and developers,” said Amanda Dameron, until recently the editor in chief of Dwell, a shelter magazine that is one of prefab’s biggest proselytize

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Should the Hurricane Scale Be Revised?

In the U.S. we rely on the Saffir-Simpson Scale to measure hurricanes; that scale gives a 5 rating to the strongest storms. Now there is consideration of a possible addition to the scale. See: Stronger storms mean new ‘category six’ scale may be needed. Traditional scale used goes only to five but strength and intensity of storms is increasing, says scientists

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What The Heck Is This About?

Two accounts of a strange recent action taken:

(1) From USA Today on March 10: Government watchdog purges mostly positive reports on FEMA from website.

In a rare move, the government watchdog for the Federal Emergency Management Administration has removed a dozen largely positive reports evaluating how the agency responded under President Obama to several disasters from 2012 to 2016, according to an internal memo obtained by USA TODAY.

The 12 reports were rescinded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General because they “may have not adequately answered objectives and, in some cases, may have lacked sufficient and appropriate evidence to support conclusions,” read the internal memo issued Thursday. “In an abundance of caution, we believe it best to recall the reports and not re-issue them.

(2) From The Hill, on March 10:  FEMA watchdog removes positive evaluations of agency under Obama.

As a researcher and historian in the field of emergency management, the Diva is baffled by this action.  I cannot recall a precedent for the removal of reports on disaster responses from a federal agency website. Do any of you readers have additional information about this matter?

Update on March 13: Here is the memo that explains the removal.  The Diva has copies of the deleted memos if anyone would like to do a content analysis.

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