Leadership, Technical Rescue


Issue 5 and Volume 159.

BY BENNIE G. THOMPSON A major hurricane struck the United States, leaving debris and death in its wake. Estimated costs ran in the tens of billions. Victims accused the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of failing to respond quickly enough. In the aftermath of the national failures, disaster experts, members of Congress, and disaffected citizens called for the reorganization of FEMA. The year was 1992. The hurricane was Andrew. Almost a decade and a half later, similar cries are echoing throughout America and within the halls of Congress, only this time the call is to remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Although FEMA is in desperate need of restructuring, removing the agency from the department would not address the fundamental problems with the agency. Supporters of FEMA’s emancipation point to its unprecedented successes in responding to natural disasters during the Clinton administration, when the agency existed as…

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