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How the next President of the United States can fix FEMA

Jane A. Bullock, BA, George D. Haddow, MURP

Abstract


Our nation continues to experience increased frequency and severity of weather disasters. All of these risks demand that we look at the current system and assess if this system, which is predicated on strong Federal leadership in partnership with State and local governments and which failed so visibly in Hurricane Katrina, needs to be rebuilt on a new model. We are suggesting a plan of action that, we believe, is practical, achievable, and will reduce the costs in lives, property, environmental and economic damage from future disasters. The next President is the only person who can make this happen.We suggest that the next President undertake the following steps: (1) move FEMA out of the Department of Homeland Security; (2) appoint a FEMA Director, who is a trusted adviser to the President; (3) include the appointment of the FEMA Director in the first round of Presidential appointees to the Cabinet; (4) rebuild the Federal Response Plan; (5) remove the hazard mitigation and long-term recovery functions from FEMA; (6) invest $2.5 billion annually in hazard mitigation; (7) support community disaster resiliency efforts. The next President will have the opportunity to build the new partnership of Federal, State and local governments, voluntary agencies, nonprofits and the private sector that is needed to make our nation resilient. The question is will the next President take advantage of this opportunity?

Keywords


FEMA, President, mitigation, emergency management, state and local government

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2008.0032

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