FEMA: We Can Rebuild It

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…but first it must be destroyed…

And after the response to Katrina, this isn’t a shock

WASHINGTON â€â€? Hurricane Katrina exposed flaws in the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security that are “too substantial to mend,” and FEMA should be dismantled and rebuilt inside the troubled department, according to the final report by Senate investigators.

The report, to be released to key senators today and to the public next week, makes 86 recommendations that would undo major changes made when President Bush and Congress launched the department in 2003, and would reverse parts of a reorganization ordered by Secretary Michael Chertoff last summer. It stops short of restoring FEMA to independent, Cabinet-level status, as many in Congress and former agency directors want, but would promote its chief to confer directly with the president in a crisis, according to a summary released to news organizations.

Chertoff is certainly looking bad in all of this. I wonder if he’s going to be stepping down soon? Most likely not.

Still, when Republican leaders say the following, you can’t help but wonder if Chertoff should be given the boot…

“We have concluded that FEMA is in shambles and beyond repair, and that it should be abolished,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a written statement released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which she chairs. The committee held 22 hearings, interviewed more than 320 people and reviewed more than 838,000 pages of documents.

I’m glad to see the Senate taking drastic steps to fix this problem. Our people deserve no less.

  • reader_iam

    The “funny” thing is, FEMA used to be government agency with a better-than-average (I’m understating) reputation.

    Is reinvention or recreation called for here?

    That’s a distinction with a difference, in this case, I’m thinking.

  • reader_iam

    Which means that destroying, per se–depending on what’s meant by that–may not be the issue.

    With regards to DHA, on the other hand … .

  • reader_iam

    Sorry, that should be “DHS.”

    I’d like to see FEMA separate again, but I understand that reasonable disagree–and I’m more than willing to concede, as long as we’re outcomes-based, in this instance, rather than process-based.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    I’d like to see FEMA separate again too. I think this is a positive step.

  • BrianOfAtlanta

    I think FEMA needs to be separated from DHS, but they do seem to have a problem with really big disasters like Katrina or Andrew back in 1992.