Saturday, September 09, 2006

New CRS report on FEMA reorganization legislation

FEMACRSThe Congressional Research Service has issued a new report summarizing FEMA reorganization legislation in the 109th Congress. One leading question, among many others, is whether FEMA should remain within the Department of Homeland Security or whether the agency should regain the independent status it had before DHS was created.

2 Comments:

Anonymous ZS said...

As a former legislative staffer for a Senator from a Hurricane prone state responsible for FEMA in my issue portfolio, the concept of FEMA in DHS was a sorley understudied issue in the development of DHS (which my boss sponsored). I was extremely concerned about its inclusion in DHS because of the terrorist/security focus of the new agency and the need for FEMA to be more a funnel for intergovernmental action after a disaster and not part of some larger organization. FEMA has a largely coordinating function and can only coordinate effectively if it is free from many constraints of larger government orgs.

In my opinion, the worst case scenario of having FEMA be part of a bigger chain of command was apparent in the Katrina disaster, especially since there seemed to be no one in charge. Disaster magmt is a unique government function and should be a floater in the system and report directly to the president.

It is unfortunate that these concerns were not addressed in the political furor of development of the DHS. Interestingly, CRS only briefly touched on the subject when Congress was debating the formation of DHS.

9/11/2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Jim Chen said...

Greetings, ZS. This is a very nice point. My only way of reaching you is by way of commenting on a post of my own and hoping you write me back at chen@jurisdynamics.org. You raise several points worthy of further discussion.

Best wishes,
Jim Chen

9/13/2006 6:11 PM  

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