“Unity of Effort” recommended by Thad Allen for major disasters

Reflecting on his major role after Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill Disaster, Adm. Allen recommends “Unity of Effort.”  Allen says unity is key to tackling natural disasters such as Gulf spill, covered by Theday.com (CT).

Coordination not always easy, but it’s a must… The country needs an “agile and flexible” government to respond to disasters such as the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina… “The more we can create that unity of effort, the better off we’ll be,” said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen…  The problem is, Allen said, it is not easy to get officials in federal, state and local governments to work together, along with players in the private sector and non-governmental organizations. They are organized differently, with diverse responsibilities, jurisdictions and viewpoints.  “Even though it isn’t easy,” …”we have to get better at it.”

Allen said he thinks social media and the Internet can link the parties together to solve seemingly impossible problems.

It would be interesting to know more about his expectations for these new mechanisms to improve unity of effort. NOTE: The two authors of this blog also maintain a new blog on social media and disasters called iDisaster 2.0.

3 thoughts on ““Unity of Effort” recommended by Thad Allen for major disasters

  1. This translation of “unity of command” into “unity of effort” strikes me as a thin attempt to paint over the fundamental disconnect between the national oil spill response plan and the National Response Framework.

    The practical reality of “who’s in charge” in the case of large oil spills is actually pretty clear, however unpalatable to government-oriented emergency managers. The Responsible Party or “RP”… which is in most case a private company and frequently a non-US firm… is guaranteed a seat on the Joint Command. And in most cases nobody else has anything approaching the resources to address a large oil spill anyway. (Whether the RP does either varies from case to case.)

    So if the RP can’t control the joint command, which tries to operate by consensus or at least without letting any internal conflicts show, it still can control the resources.

    So I’m not sure why we even try to maintain the fiction that government is in charge. Are we fooling anyone other than ourselves?

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