Who Is in Charge of What During Major Catastrophes Still Unanswered . National Defense Magazine, November 2011.
When a natural or manmade disaster strikes the United States, which federal agency is in charge of the response? The answer is all of them and none of them, former Commandant of the Coast Guard retired Adm. Thad Allen suggested recently.
Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5, released in 2003, said that the Department of Homeland Security secretary takes command of a non-defense related catastrophe. A presidential policy directive released in April this year reiterated this.
“Tell that to [Health and Human Services] in a pandemic,” Allen said at the National Defense Industrial Association homeland security conference. Since his retirement in 2010, Allen has emerged as a leading voice in the disaster response community.