Federal disaster management plan running into criticism

A proposed federal plan to react to such disasters as the Sept. 11, attacks or Hurricane Katrina came under fire Tuesday from emergency response experts who said the proposal needs revision.

The broad-scale attacks on the National Response Framework put together by the Homeland Security Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency came at a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Economic Development Subcommittee.

"It is not rocket science and it does not have to be 800 pages long," said Robert Bohlmann of the International Association of Emergency Managers. "The draft NRF that we have reviewed appears to be more like a public relations document rather than a response plan or framework," Bohlmann told the panel.

The draft plan is an outgrowth of legislation approved by Congress last year to deal with the confusing layers of bureaucracy and other problems that arose after the storm.

As an example of his complaint, Bohlmann said, "there is no discussion of the role and responsibility of the FEMA administrator with respect to the president of the United States as Congress clearly delineated."

Similarly, Paul Stockton, senior research scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said a key responsibility of the draft framework is to clarify the role and responsibilities in the federal emergency management structure.

"Unless revised, the framework will create new confusion over roles at the very top of the system, not only within DHS but also amongst the departments that must partner with FEMA and DHS for disaster response, and with state and local leaders whom the federal government will assist," Stockton said.

Economic Development Subcommittee Chairwoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said she was "deeply troubled that the critiques of the plan we are receiving go to the congressional mandate in the Post Katrina Act itself."

She suggested the Homeland Security Department "just doesn't get it, or does not want to get it."

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison and Roger Rufe, director of the Office of Operations Coordination for the Homeland Security Department, defended the document. Paulison said the critics had not seen the latest version of the draft, but Norton said it was very close to the one distributed to emergency responders earlier this summer.

Paulison resented the attacks "of a general nature" and said specific concerns will be addressed after a 30-day public review and comment period.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.