Not a Good Idea

"Swamped" (February) shows how the National Flood Insurance Program, created with the best of intentions, actually causes more problems than it solves. It states that forcing people to buy the insurance "discourages people from living in flood-prone areas." Later we are told that the number of homes insured has more than tripled in the past 30 years to 4.7 million in 2004. Some discouragement! The ability to get flood insurance is actually an incentive to build in unsafe areas because owners now feel protected. Congress never thinks through the implications, especially economic, when starting a new program. We taxpayers always end up picking up the bill.

James Trent Corbett

Answering the Call

You missed a critical point in "Missed Signals" (February). There was one communications service working during Hurricane Katrina, providing communications across multiple agencies, and relaying messages across the country: amateur radio.

At recent congressional hearings, while other services were explaining why things did not work, Congress commended Harold Kramer, chief operating officer of the American Radio Relay League, the national association of amateur radio, because he was the only person to come before them and explain how this emergency service not only did work, but worked better than anyone expected.

Using HF, VHF, UHF, IRLP and Winlink2000 to provide e-mail capabilities, packet and other digital modes, about 1,000 hams were involved following Katrina, and hundreds more provided relays across the country. They were used by the Coast Guard, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Baptist men's groups, many local and regional emergency centers, mobile units, fire departments, even New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Hams were in hospitals and clinics, shelters and anywhere they were needed. It was via ham radio that the first reports of breaks in the levees were passed on. It was via ham radio that New Orleans police reported lootings.

While you are correct that professional agencies need to build far more robust and interoperable systems, these "amateurs" performed professionally in many ways and should not be overlooked. Their motto, "When all else fails-amateur radio!" has proved far too true over the years as they provide the coordination you write about-hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, the shuttle Columbia recovery effort, the 9/11 attacks and more.

Allen Pitts, W1AGP
Media and Public Relations Manager
American Radio Relay League

What It Takes

This is the first time in my 25 years of working for the federal government that I have seen an excellent article about what makes a federal employee tick and keep on ticking ("The Trust Factor," March 1). Unfortunately for the dedicated civil servant, corporate government cannot and does not want to understand this. Corporate government does not understand the relationship required between the working level and management. All one has to do is look at how corporate America has decimated its dedicated workforce. Corporate government has the same mind-set, and it is causing one of the greatest nations in recent history to start collapsing.

The bottom line: Without a dedicated workforce that cares about what it does and knows it won't get screwed in the end, there is no company and no federal government.

Linda Lefker
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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