Ever since the H. Sandy Task Force was formed, with the HUD Secretary named as the lead, I have been trying to figure out where this idea came from. I think I have part of the answer.
After the Deepwater Horizon-B.P Oil Spill (2010), Pres. Bush issued an Executive Order that created the Gulf Coast Reconstruction effort. The organization was headed by then Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mobus, who was the former governor of MS. His mission was to create the Long-Term Gulf Coast Restoration Support Plan.
Then to implement the plan, the president asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to chair the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task. Force. This was an advisory body whose purpose was “… to focus on efforts to create more resilient and healthy Gulf Coast ecosystems, while also encouraging support for economic recovery and long-term health issues.” This group was formed by Executive Order #13554 on October 5, 2010; the full text is here EPA-Gulf.
For more information, see the Restore the Gulf website.
If anyone has any more information, or knows of other precedents, please let me know.