Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 23, 2005

FEMA and DHS as Greek tragedy

Filed under: DHS News,Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on December 23, 2005

The second part of the Washington Post’s story on the Department of Homeland Security focuses on FEMA’s evolution within DHS, from the inception of the department to Katrina. The narrative as it is told resembles a Greek tragedy: an outcome that was foreseen by all but somehow is impossible to change. It paints a softer picture of Mike Brown than most portrayals in the last three months, but at the end of the piece his culpability for Katrina is still very evident.

The main lesson that I take away from these two stories in the Post is that as a nation, we really can’t afford to let the DC “power game” be played when we’re talking about homeland security any longer, and allow turf and power to trump mission performance and effectiveness. Al-Qaeda’s not obsessed with org charts, budgets, and reporting relationships. Al-Qaeda’s not entangled in bureaucratic warfare. Can we afford to be?

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