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Are we better off? Emergency management policy implementation since September 11

Sean Hildebrand, PhD

Abstract


As public policy continues its evolution, so do theories about policy implementation. One policy field that changed during the twenty-first century is emergency management and homeland security in the United States. Since the September 11 attacks, the federal government attempted to centralize the way government agencies at the federal, state, and local level prepare for and respond to natural, accidental, and terror-related disasters. However, research in the field is split about the effectiveness of this effort during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. While some feel federal actions taken to prepare for and respond to incidents of natural, accidental, or purposeful intent have been fruitful in preparing the nation for catastrophic events, others say it detracts from the core mission of emergency management. This study considers if the policy changes that occurred during those administrations created a disparity between the policy expectations of the federal government and the actions of local officials in emergency management. The findings show that local emergency management professionals generally reported the implementation of federal policy expectations, and that the odds of doing so increase where respondents report greater “clarity” in the federal policy language. However, differences exist in terms of how local managers view the requirements of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) versus other federal policy demands. This signals that experienced actors may nominally comply with federal policy demands by downplaying those requirements seen as useless in favor of functions that meet jurisdictional needs.


Keywords


policy implementation, emergency management, Homeland Security, federalism

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2019.0438

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