Sad Take on FEMA

From CNN, this discouraging report.  Mostly negative account of the recent hurricanes and Brock Long’s ability as FEMA Administrator. See: Hellish summer of hurricanes smashes FEMA.

The Diva thinks we do know better and can do better as a nation. She would like to hear from readers on this topic.

For example, back in 1992, after the federal response to Hurricane Andrew went badly, Congress mandated a study of that response by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). Their final report, Coping with Catastrophe was an in-depth examination of the federal disaster response system and made recommendations that were followed by FEMA in the following years.

As I have suggested before, when faced with a major failure of a federal agency or program, go to organizations like NAPA or the National Academy of Sciences for an expert panel and serious advice. Of course, this assumes a receptive administration to implement the recommendations.

Update: Please see comments attached to posting. And see also this related blog post by Eric Holdeman.

7 thoughts on “Sad Take on FEMA

  1. As a current reservist, I have seen many good, well qualified and caring individuals leave FEMA for a variety of reasons. The former Administrator, Craig Fugate did a tremendous amount of damage to the reservist corp thru his insistence on changing the Conditions of Employment, the institution of the FEMA Corp and the general disrespect for reservists he demonstrated through out his tenure.
    The loss of qualified,experienced reservists has hurt the agency as does the continued disdain exhibited by some CORE and PFT’s.
    Yes, there has been a surge of disaster events and yes, FEMA is constrained by its’ mandate but for those who had and still serve, FEMA has become a morose place to work where, it seems, that being a toady is highly valued over competence.

    • The morale of the workforce is certainly a big factor in helping FEMA deliver on its mission. Sadly, the changes in the reservist program have done a lot of damage. There are many posts that make that point in this blog in past years.

  2. It’s been 10 years since I retired from FEMA, but a recent visit confirmed for me that FEMA still has plenty of dedicated, competent staff who are ready and willing to help their fellow Americans when needed. The problem is, FEMA can only act as far as, and in a way, that is authorized by the President and paid for by Congress. It appears that the Trump people have latched onto the mantra of “self-sufficiency” and “resilience” to basically back off from their obligation to serve the US public. As a private citizen, I certainly can and do keep an emergency supply of food and water on hand, and if disaster hits of course I can and will help clear away light debris and check on my neighbors. But I can’t repair highway overpasses or electric power grids or municipal water systems. That’s up to the government, to which I pay taxes. Mr. Long needs to show some leadership, not make excuses.

    • Excellent points. Sorry to say the government seems to be run by people who subscribe to the Ayn Rand philosophy. I find the lack of empathy and concern for victims of disasters distressing and shameful.

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