A WHITE PAPER TO THE NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY BOARD OF VISITORS
SUBMITTED BY NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY
Editor`s note: The following document was written and signed by the 13 Program Chairs of the National Fire Academy and presented on January 29, 1998, to the National Fire Academy Board of Visitors, an independent review board. It is published here in its entirety, verbatim.
This white paper was prepared for the Federal Emergency Management Agency`s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration`s (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) Board of Visitors (BOV).
In October of 1997, NFA program chairs (faculty) met with the BOV to express serious organizational concerns. The group was concerned and felt professional responsibility to approach the BOV regarding the condition of the NFA, since by virtue of their government position descriptions they represent the ten established departments of learning. This report presents data and additional information requested by the BOV. All ten of the program chairs, and those currently acting for absent program chairs, have participated in the formation of this document.
The faculty approached the BOV recognizing that serious conditions exist relating to FEMA`s organizational culture, NFA`s stated vs. perceived mission, available resources, and existing staff development practices. It is believed that a failure to identify and request relief of the current condition at NFA will result in greater negative impacts related to education and training for state and local level fire and emergency service organizations/members who are the primary constituents of NFA.
The faculty recognizes that the challenges and issues confronting NFA are very complex and rooted in both national and federal government. The group`s purpose is to provide both an agenda and a context for identifying issues while not casting blame or pointing a finger at individuals or personalities. NFA is in critical condition, and unless a series of significant steps are enacted soon, the organization as it has been known and recognized will increasingly become less effective in advancing the professional development stature of fire/emergency services at a national level.
Since 1979 when the USFA/NFA was placed organizationally within FEMA, the purpose, function, and spirit of the NFA mission has been overshadowed by many and various FEMA activities. Congressionally mandated responsibilities that were directed and established by the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act (Public Law 93-498) have received only nominal support.
Many and continuous reorganizations within FEMA/USFA/NFA over the years have negatively impacted the federal fire programs, including the limited capabilities of NFA to serve a national audience operating at the state and local levels.
The existing 39 full-time equivalent (FTEs) positions within NFA are unable to perform the full spectrum of work and task requirements expected of them in a professional manner. A review of NFA programs, courses, and other initiatives over the last decade reveals a year-by-year escalation in the number of products being delivered with no increase in staffing. In the face of this service delivery growth, there has been a decline in overall FTE`s and a continuous regression of the grade structure and loss of supervisory positions.
During this evolution, new and varied service delivery areas such as emergency medical services, hazardous materials, injury prevention, and counter-terrorism preparedness/response have emerged. During this evolution, NFA was expected to maintain its present product mix while reacting to new demands for service. This has occurred in an environment of level funding, including program dollars and staff positions.
Within the past year a number of events have imposed significant stress on an organization that has already been stretched and fragmented through years of “do more with less,” management instability, and rotating agendas. During this same period, a number of staff have either retired, resigned, been re-assigned, or developed protracted illnesses. This has placed additional work and stress on the few remaining staff who have had to compensate for these vacancies. The reality is that no staffing redundancy exists, and significant programs such as hazardous materials, emergency medical services, counter-terrorism, arson, direct delivery, regional delivery, volunteer incentive programs, course revision processes, etc. are not receiving the attention equivalent to one staff member each. Senior managers have been unsuccessful in conveying the nature and scope of the problem to the Director`s office to secure more resources.
The Director remains apathetic to NFA`s situation. Over the past few years, repeated invitations have been extended to the Director by both senior management and staff to visit NFA and discuss the situation with employees. To this date, the Director, in his entire tenure of over 412 years, has never visited the NFA and its staff.
With great pride in the fire service mission and a long-standing professional “can-do attitude,” NFA has worked very hard over the years to maintain the quality of its programs. The average fire/emergency services member who visits the NFA campus is very impressed with the improved, physical surroundings of the campus facility. The faculty believes that the positive physical attributes of the campus mask the serious conditions regarding NFA`s health and future to the casual observer.
In the 1980`s, FEMA`s administration proposed “zero funding” for the USFA; the elimination of stipends; and the separation of NFA from USFA. The nation`s fire service rallied congressional support, which blocked these devastating actions. In the 1990`s, FEMA`s strategy has been an extensive series of carefully crafted smaller resource cuts that can only be seen when viewed in their cumulative context. Due to the incremental nature of the changes, the fire service at large has not reacted to these so-called insignificant reductions. As insiders, the Program Chairs view the aggregate impact of these small cuts in resources and funding as significant challenges to the future of NFA. An analogy would be arterial bleeding compared to 1000 paper cuts; it may take longer but the result is the same–death.
The following issues are provided as examples to illustrate the significant challenges NFA has been experiencing and continues to deal with on a daily basis. The list is by no means comprehensive. Where possible, quantitative data regarding the issue has been provided.
NATIONAL ARSON PREVENTION INITIATIVE
The National Arson Prevention Initiative (NAPI) is only one in a series of new requirements that have come to the USFA without commensurate staffing (Full Time Equivalents or “FTE`s”) and funding. Over the years, NFA has been required to assume or implement many new programs, initiatives, courses, and activities without the provision of additional resources.
The original position for the NAPI Coordinator was advertised as a GS-14 that required fire service background/experience as part of the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA`s). After the closing date, the announcement was cancelled. The position was then re-advertised as a GS-14, for only fourteen days, with new KSA`s, none of which required fire service knowledge. The focus for this position was now congressional affairs and the individual selected for the GS-14 position had no fire service experience. This individual then left the agency and ultimately the NAPI position was downgraded to a GS-12/13 and returned to the USFA. Why was the USFA GS-14 position cancelled and re-advertised as a GS-14 that carried no fire service KSA`s? The fourteen-day re-advertisement with new KSA`s appears to be pre-selection of an individual from congressional affairs. Why is the position being returned to USFA at only a GS-12/13 and not the GS-14 as originally advertised? Why was a major USFA and fire service initiative not led by a person with appropriate fire service and arson-related KSA`s?
A job vacancy for a NAPI Coordinator was announced after the return of the downgraded position to USFA. This is not a new position; the USFA is not getting an additional FTE. The position must be filled from within the existing USFA staff. This approach signifies an absence of long-range planning; an unidentified level of priority in terms of USFA objectives, goals and mission; an absence of specificity of desired program outcome; and a negative impact on grade structure and professional development opportunities. It further resulted in “ad hoc” adjustments to present NFA staff and their workload.
FEMA “PROJECT IMPACT” AND THE FIRE SERVICE
Currently an existing FTE position is being reprogrammed to include activities to support “Project Impact,” another new FEMA initiative that ultimately impacts the role of the fire service at the community level. FEMA, in the Project Impact materials, states that “In 1996, economic damage in the US as a result of weather/natural disasters cost 10.6 billion dollars.” FEMA materials failed to note that property damage from fire in 1996 was $9.4 billion dollars; that fire departments responded to nearly 2 million fires; and that fire kills and injures more people each year than the combined death toll from all weather/natural disaster related events.
Project Impact is FEMA`s focus on disaster-resistant communities. FEMA is dedicating funding and resources to target hazards and risks in the very communities where the fire service has been unable to receive funding and resources to address those hazards and risks. The fire service has a 200-year history of responding to life-safety issues at the local community level. The fire service is the only community based, mitigation-oriented organization already in place, yet it is ignored by FEMA. The fire service already has in place established community partnerships, routinely identifies hazards and community vulnerabilities, prioritizes hazard risk-reduction actions, and in many communities provides code enforcement staff.
The negative effect of the Project Impact initiative is that it does not build on the existing life-safety network or strengthen the role of the nation`s fire service. The initiative takes limited federal funds and directs them away from the only real community-based response organization toward a new, yet to be determined, federally supported partnership process. Only those monies targeted by Congress reach the actual responders who are the fire service organizations in every community across the nation. It is they who deal with all of the nation`s day-to-day emergencies and its federally declared disasters on a real-time basis.
The document prepared by FEMA for national distribution failed to identify the magnitude of property loss from fire as a national problem. It failed to include the United States Fire Administration`s (USFA) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) database as an available Agency resource for community hazard assessment. It failed to include information that supports life safety and survivability associated with residential sprinkler systems.
THE STUDENT MANUAL SUPPORT PROGRAM
Since 1985, the Student Manual Support Program has provided standardized course materials to enable uniform delivery of NFA courses at the state and local levels. This program was reduced in scope (1993) and was about to be eliminated (1997) due to the cost of materials and the lack of staff available to manage support for the 25 program titles that were being delivered annually.
Subsequently, several states identified that the reduction in the level of support was an unacceptable solution to the problem and that the USFA action negatively impacted the delivery of training at the state and local levels. The Student Manual Support Program was then brought back on line in late 1997. The $300,000 funding to accomplish this was taken from other USFA programs; no new funding was provided. Confusion still exists at the local, state, and federal levels because of the cycle of fund/don`t fund/fund. No assurances are given that the issue is resolved or that a long-range plan to support field deliveries is in place.
FEMA`s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) routinely provides student manuals for off-site courses. The disparity between the level of support for EMI courses and NFA courses has a negative impact perceived, expected, and regarded by NFA constituency groups.
Other factors related to this issue include the lack of comprehensive planning for off-site course delivery and support; failure to involve state and local partners in the decision to change the level of support for course delivery; and failure to recognize the long-term impact of inadequate customer service with inconsistencies in funding partnership endeavors.
UNITED STATES FIRE ADMINISTRATION (USFA) FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT (FTE) POSITIONS
When NFA was established in Emmitsburg (1979), the balance of USFA staff remained in Washington, D.C. The USFA/NFA had 125 FTEs (full time equivalent) positions. These 125 FTEs were all program and administrative-support positions. The Emmitsburg facility, purchased prior to the establishment of FEMA, and originally funded as the National Fire Academy, had no (0) FTEs assigned to facilities management and only a few FTEs assigned to admission-related functions.
Since the time that NFA was transferred to FEMA from the Department of Commerce, the personnel grade structure of the academy has declined. In the early 1980`s, the NFA had (4) GM 15`s, a Deputy Superintendent, a Deputy Superintendent for Resident Programs, a Deputy Superintendent for Field Programs, and a Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum Development. In addition, it had (3) GM 14`s, a Branch Chief for Executive Development, a Branch Chief for Prevention, and a Branch Chief for Technical Programs. Today, all the NFA functions are combined in one Branch, with one GM14 Branch Chief. EMI has increased its staffing and grade structure and has (6) branches with (2) GM 15`s and (4) GM 14`s. The personnel and budgetary disparities between NFA and EMI are obvious.
Today, the USFA has only a total of 101 FTE`s, 11 are assigned to facilities management and 7 are assigned to admissions functions.
This reflects an 18% increase in the staff assigned to facilities and admission responsibilities and a 25% reduction in total FTE staffing levels.
FEMA has negatively impacted the USFA/NFA by failing to provide the additional funding and FTE resources to address the facilities and admissions requirements associated with the Emmitsburg campus. By assigning the existing/available USFA/NFA FTE`s to facilities and admissions positions, FEMA has significantly reduced the number of fire service content and program FTE positions and jeopardizes the USFA/NFA`s ability to meet its mission.
There has been a lack of commitment and support from FEMA to maintain USFA/NFA staffing levels. This is evidenced by inaction when positions are vacated by employee transfer, resignation, detail, or extended illness. There is a potential that the recent USFA/NFA position vacancies created by retirements will not be filled. The following examples are offered as illustrations of FEMA`s lack of support:
FEMA has delayed filling the NFA Branch Chief position for more than three years;
The Agency has resisted efforts to provide resources to temporarily backfill positions for any employee who has been detailed to FEMA Headquarters for periods of more than 30 days.
FEMA has not provided additional FTE positions to NFA to support the development of the Counter-Terrorism First Responder program.
USFA/NFA PRESENCE WITHIN FEMA
Although the USFA Administrator and Special Assistant have offices in FEMA Headquarters, there is an obvious lack of fire service presence within FEMA Headquarters and regional offices. Unlike all other Federal Emergency Management Agency directorate level activities, USFA has no program staff in the FEMA Headquarters facility. The negative impact on the USFA/NFA and fire service is evident when decisions to fund and staff non-fire-related programs occur simultaneously with USFA/NFA fire related program resources cuts. Other related issues that negatively impact NFA include:
The lack of visibility of the USFA mission when federal funds are being spent on retrofitting public and private structures in post disaster environments;
The lack of inclusion regarding USFA technical and program experts in FEMA sponsored and partnered conferences;
The lack of funding that is available for support of state and local fire/emergency medical services programs.
IMPACT OF ELIMINATING COPYRIGHT
NFA staff has been directed to eliminate the use of copyrighted materials from course content. The use of copyrighted materials normally involves a one-time fee or ongoing cost.
This decision restricts NFA`s ability to design materials and implement educational methodologies in professional development areas where the competency areas (e.g., Leadership) are transferable from other fields and professions. This decision has a profound negative effect on the learning environment and an immediate negative impact on fire/emergency services professionals.
Program Chairs and Program Managers have had minimal input regarding the present and future implications of this decision.
EMI routinely provides their students with textbooks (copyright material) to take home and retain for reference.
LACK OF STIPENDS FOR NFA OUTREACH PROGRAMS
NFA students do not receive stipends to support their attendance in fire related outreach courses. These individuals could receive stipends to support their attendance in FEMA non-fire sponsored field (outreach) training.
The negative impact is disparate treatment of the fire service membership and a clear message that FEMA has established a lower priority (through total available funds) for the support of the USFA/NFA mission.
LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER
The primary user of the campus Learning Resource Center (LRC) is the NFA student. This facility is managed entirely by (1) FTE USFA position; all other staffing is funded through a contractual relationship.
LRC staffing is not available during Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) weekends and only available for four-hour periods on other select weekends. The LRC is a critical resource for students completing research assignments, fire service degree programs and independent studies.
The lack of funding for LRC staff and facility operation has negative impact on the NFA training mission.
A lack of adequate resources to fund the acquisition of current publications is an impediment to the student`s technical and practical learning of state-of-the-art approaches and applications that need to be incorporated into their decision making. In large part, the materials available support a historic view of problems, but fail to provide the cutting edge information needed for today`s solution.
Space in the LRC to facilitate student use of the materials and research activities is an additional issue. The volume of students utilizing the LRC in the evening during two-week resident course offerings often overwhelms the physical facility. Space limitations negatively impact course objectives, activities and methodologies when students are unable to access the materials that are needed for course assignments.
Leadership training requires maintenance of a range of current literature and publications in the LRC and the available use of materials and space for researching documents; for locating publications and video-formatted materials. These are reasonable expectations of students attending the Fire Academy.
INADEQUACIES OF THE NETC COMPUTER CENTER
The NETC Computer Center in Building “D” is small, overused and lacks current programs and technologies. The computers in the Center are not Internet accessible and are unable to meet the research requirements of courses.
There is an inadequate level of support service staff to assist students during evening hours. Legitimate complaints from NFA students about these deficiencies are voiced in almost every class.
A comparison of the NFA and EMI computer lab resources, equipment, and staff support reveals more inequity in the level of learning tools provided for the fire service students.
LACK OF SUPPORT FOR WEEKEND AND VOLUNTEER INCENTIVE PROGRAM (VIP)
The NFA has for years made a priority of cost-effective use of the available facilities by conducting weekend classes, yet staffing levels to support this activity have steadily declined. This has resulted in a negative impact on State Weekend Programs (SWP), Sunday starts of the 6-day Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) offerings, and select Hazardous Materials course deliveries.
NFA, because of a lack of funding and full time staff resources, is unable to provide appropriate levels of support or even contractor support for weekend sessions where there may be as many as 250 fire service students in classes. The lack of adequate staffing sends the message that weekend students, often representatives of the nation`s volunteer fire service, are not as important as the weekday students.
The “auto-pilot” mode of operation on weekends negatively impacts delivery when instructors who experience A/V and computer equipment problems or program delivery related issues are forced to fend for themselves. This further impacts course offerings when the equipment is damaged or broken during a weekend offering and equipment replacements are unavailable for scheduled weekday courses.
Computer training platforms are the primary presentation method employed in NFA courses. Maintaining A/V and computer equipment is a continual challenge, back-up equipment is unavailable, and program managers find they are spending increasingly more time responding to equipment emergencies. Because funding of technical software and hardware support for the NFA classrooms does not exist, there is a negative impact on the quality of course offerings. This would be avoided or reduced if the training needs were more fully supported by resources.
EMI classes are fully supported by administrative and audiovisual staff during the entire time a course is in session. A/V technicians test and inspect equipment every morning and on weekends when classes are in session. This requires a level of funding and FTE support that is not available to the NFA. Once again, the resources disparity between EMI and NFA reflect the lesser priority established by FEMA for fire and emergency medical professional training.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY TRAINING CENTER (NETC)/NFA OCCUPANCY CAPACITY
The NFA Superintendent has identified eleven NFA curriculum areas, each offering several courses on a campus where dorm and classroom space have finite limitations. The recent facilities construction and renovations have modernized and added amenities to dormitory accommodations, but these improvements have not resulted in any appreciable (additional) bed space, or more classrooms for the NFA.
The NFA`s “bricks and mortar” physical facility located in Emmitsburg, Maryland was purchased in 1979; official Fire Academy classes were conducted on site beginning in January 1980. Since 1981, Federal Emergency Management Agency has incrementally increased the non-fire-related activities on the Emmitsburg Campus. The physical improvement to the facilities of the National Fire Academy came about as a result of Congressional Appropriation of twenty-five million dollars provided in five million dollar a-year appropriations over a five-year period. The appropriations were targeted for the Fire Academy and could not be used for any other purpose by FEMA. The entire Emmitsburg facility, purchased prior to the establishment of FEMA, was originally funded as the National Fire Academy through The Fire Act, Public Law 93-498.
Currently, NFA and EMI equally share in the total NETC dormitory capacity of 460 rooms. NFA`s apportionment of 230 rooms limits its ability to offer more than (9) resident courses concurrently from a menu of almost (40) choices. This does not include state weekend programs, special conferences, or other programmatic related events.
The fire service resident and weekend courses combine to create a non-stop utilization of the limited NFA campus facilities, classrooms and equipment.
The National Fire Academy must compete with the other FEMA programs that are offered on the Emmitsburg campus for student housing, classroom space, and educational support resources, including computer labs and the Learning Resource Center.
Compounding an already difficult situation, the Agency is currently providing housing for a military contingent who has been displaced because of installation renovation at Camp David. There are other military installations in the area where housing should have been provided for the military personnel. The military installation renovation mission is unrelated to the NFA or EMI mission. The loss of bed space has a negative impact on space available for NFA students.
Currently FEMA is funding a major capitol improvement project at its conference and training facilities at Mt. Weather. This training facility located about 70 miles south of Emmitsburg is in Virginia. Interestingly, it is often unavailable for FEMA`s own training because it is being used as a training site for other state and federal training programs. It has generated outside income to offset operational costs at the expense of other FEMA programs. FEMA identified that nearly 23,000 people participated in training and conferences at the Mt. Weather site in FY97. It appears that while the fire service competes for the few bed spaces at Emmitsburg, non-fire program training needs and outside agencies receive FEMA`s highest priority.
SIMULATION FACILITY FUNDING
In 1996, the NFA developed a proposal, and identified physical requirements, for a state of the art simulation facility that would support fire service training needs well into the 21st Century. Neither dedicated funds nor a commitment from FEMA for this fire service initiative were provided. However, subsequent to the NFA proposal, the needs of the EMI`s disaster-related training program for a simulation facility surfaced with a proposal for the disaster simulation lab to be constructed on the Emmitsburg campus.
NFA training needs continue to be unmet. The negative effect on the emergency services first responder`s ability to receive training directly relates to life-safety and leadership decision making. The inability to provide the needed training through quality simulation methodology will continue to be documented in line-of-duty life loss and injury for fire and emergency medical service providers.
EFOP GRADUATE SYMPOSIUM FUNDING
Funding to support the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP) Graduate Symposium has diminished over the last (6) years. This highly acclaimed program is an annual event for the National Fire Academy`s senior fire officer leadership program.
The support level of $20,000 from 1987-1990 has decreased by approximately 40% to its current funding level of $12,500 (1998).
Unlike other NFA resident courses, over 125 participants fund their own travel to attend because it enhances their knowledge and ability to provide leadership to their departments.
The diminished support negatively impacts the role that the NFA has in developing the nation`s fire service leaders, impedes obtaining quality speakers, and jeopardizes Symposium outcomes. In real terms, the reduced funding sends the message that these fire services leaders are not important, and their need for leadership training is not an agency priority.
HARVARD FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The Harvard Fellowship was established in 1983, to provide fire service representation in the highly recognized public sector venue at the John F. Kennedy School of Government–Harvard University: The Senior Executives in State & Local Government Program. By providing both the selection process and funding, NFA was able to offer neutrality in identifying (6) fellows each year.
In 1995, the Harvard Fellowship funding was terminated. This decision resulted in redirecting a total of forty-five thousand dollars back into other USFA initiatives. The impact is that the USFA/NFA lost its direct role and responsibility to provide this established program to (6) senior fire executives every year.
The decision to terminate the program ignored numerous benefits and successes by prior program participants.
USFA/NFA ended an opportunity to be directly responsible for placing fire/emergency service issues in front of key elected and careerist officials representing all facets of government within a larger context of state/local issues. This action has long-term negative impacts on USFA/NFA`s ability to advance and assume a leadership role, as defined in Public Law 93-498.
FUTURE FIRE/EMERGENCY SERVICES DIRECTIONS AND NFA
The fire service is recognized as the primary, civilian, emergency response organization in the country by other federal agencies, including Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Justice (DOJ), and National Institutes of Standards & Technology (NIST). Yet, the federal fire and emergency medical service programs within the USFA/NFA have not received a prominent position within FEMA, nor are they a priority in terms of funding and/or dedicated staff resources.
Community fire and emergency medical service organizations are not only the day-to-day life safety support systems in the country, they are the first line response cadre in natural and technological disasters. There is no federal 911, no organized federal responders on duty or available for FEMA deployment to deal with local fire and medical emergencies. There are, however, local fire and emergency medical service organizations. The USFA/NFA is by congressional mandate and FEMA mission the federal organizational unit charged with training and leadership development for state and local emergency response organizations operating as fire/emergency medical and life safety services. Major national initiatives impacting training for any element of a response operation that involves a local level incident command, fire service or emergency medical response should be guided by the USFA/NFA with funding and resources from FEMA. This includes, but is not limited to, Urban Search and Rescue, counter-terrorism, and arson.
Currently, ATF, DOE, DOD, DOJ, Texas A&M, and others are actively seeking and receiving Congressional funding to develop training facilities and programs for the fire service and emergency medical service first responders. As these entities justify the creation of training facilities and programs, they ignore and/or duplicate USFA/NFA`s mission and role. At the same time, FEMA fails to request funding to develop USFA/NFA training facilities and programs. Why is it that only the other federal and private organizations demonstrate that they know how to use the positive and highly visible accomplishments of the USFA/NFA as the launching point for their projected accomplishments?
FEMA forgets to mention that the fire service has been in the prevention business for over two hundred years and that it is the nation`s most valuable emergency resource. The proliferation of agencies that are seeking to take USFA/NFA functional elements to include within their mission will result in increased service delivery cost to the taxpayer. Ultimately, the lack of coordination and diffusion of leadership will result in an increase in the line-of-duty deaths for fire and emergency medical first responders. This is the ultimate negative impact to the nation`s fire service.
This listing of issues and resource deficiencies is only partial and even anecdotal. Many of them are critical to a viable future for NFA.
On March 6, 1997, “Hearings Before A Subcommittee on Appropriations House of Representatives–One Hundred Fifth Congress–First Session” were held in Washington, D.C. These hearings are an annual funding process for USFA/NFA.
The recorded testimony provides the following information. In a discussion about the NAPI program between Committee Chair Congressman Jerry Lewis (CA), Congressman Louis Stokes (OH), FEMA Director James Witt, and USFA Administrator Mrs. Carrye Brown, the following was recorded:
Mr. Stokes: In terms of your program, is additional money needed?
Mr. Witt: Well, we are at the point now where this is transferred over to the U.S. Fire Administration, where they are doing the follow-up on the commitment we have made to the communities to provide the information that they need to continue the program. So I think we are okay budgetwise, don`t you, Carrye?
Mrs. Brown: That is correct. We are able to manage.
Mr. Lewis: If you would yield, Mr. Stokes.
Mr. Stokes: Certainly.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Stokes is asking that not for a light reason.
Mr. Witt: Oh, I know.
Mr. Lewis: Indeed, if there is a question to be discussed further there between you. Please feel free to get back to us for the record.
Mr. Witt: We will. We would be happy to.
Later in the testimony, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) stated the following:
Mr. Frelinghuysen: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A few minutes ago, a reference was made to the National Fire Academy. Mr. Director, you may be surprised to learn that the majority of FEMA questions coming to the committee have to do with funding for the National Fire Academy. Based on the number of inquiries, one would expect you or we were out to get the fire community, even though they had been fully funded over the past few years. For the committee`s benefit, and the benefit of any of the fire community who may be listening to this, can you please inform the committee as the 1998 budget request for the fire academy, how it compares to previous years? And for the record, please provide a specific and detailed budget for all of the Fire Academy program.
The first excerpted testimony reveals that senior FEMA officials do have opportunities to seek additional funding for USFA/NFA programs. Ironically, the results speak loudly. The latter testimony conveys that there is active participation on the part of the nation`s fire service in requesting additional USFA/NFA resources, and directing their concerns to the Committee. It would appear that the committee is somewhat baffled because they perceive NFA is and has been fully funded.
A clearer picture is evident when the initial testimony is contrasted with the latter.
The NFA program chairs thank you for the opportunity to share our concerns. n