New Report on Lack of Permanent Leadership at DHS

From the DHS Office of Inspector General: Lack of Permanent Leadership Compounded DHS Challenges

A new Inspector General (OIG) report defined the most pressing challenges facing the third largest federal agency as:

  • Managing Programs and Operations Effectively and Efficiently during times of Changes in Leadership, Vacancies, and Hiring Difficulties;
  • Coordinating Efforts to Address the Sharp Increase in Migrants Seeking to Enter the United States through our Southern Border;
  • Ensuring Cybersecurity in an Age When Confidentiality, Integrity, and the Availability of Information Technology Are Essential to Mission Operations;
  • Ensuring Proper Financial Planning, Payments, and Internal Controls; and
  • Improving FEMA’s Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts.

Report on Stress in America

Although not exactly on the mark for the main theme of this blog, the Diva thought this article was worth considering. See:  2019 Report on Stress in America.

The American Psychological Association released “Stress in America 2019,” an annual survey detailing the prevalence and causes of stress across the country. This survey indicates three main issues of concern for the majority of Americans: the upcoming 2020 presidential election, health care, and mass shootings. Of these issues, mass A Women sits on the edge of a dock starring into the water.shootings were the most common stress source with 62 % of adults citing it as a stressor.

Also cited more frequently as stressors this year than the previous year are the issues of climate change/global warming, discrimination, terrorism, and sexual harassment. Although overall stress levels have remained relatively the same over the past year, 56% of Americans agree “this is the lowest point in the nation’s history that they remember.”

FEMA Nominee Ignorant re Climate Change

This report from CNN of the Congressional hearing for the proposed new FEMA Director, Peter Gaynor.  See: FEMA nominee says he does not know the causes of climate change. The Diva thinks it it not a hopeful sign when the nominee for that key position is ignorant of the science and causes of many disasters currently and in the future.

By contrast, the Homeland Security Digital Library features a recent study titled Focusing on Pressing Issues and Beyond. It is important to note that 3rd on this list of issues that concern defense and security educators is climate change. At least some key actors are interested.


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Land Trusts and Disaster Management

Guest posting from reader Ann Patton, who is a long-time activist in the emergency management field.

I keep thinking this land trust idea could be very useful in disaster management. Perhaps you already have used or know about this potential tool. I wish I had it available when I was doing the work.

Our son Michael Patton is director of Oklahoma’s Land Legacy, a nonprofit that works on land and water conservation by acquiring and preserving development rights on lands that have high conservation value, in exchange for generous tax write-offs. As I understand it, Land Legacy has a very broad grant of powers, and Michael is using those powers creatively.

In essence, a landowner might be able to exchange the development rights on his/her land for IRS tax credit. With some careful, creative management, I believe it could even be extended to floodplain acquisition — something that is going to become more and more urgent with rising seas. In essence, the IRS becomes a potential funding source.

If you are interested, here’s Michael’s website: Land Legacy.  There more info on his facebook page: