Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 2, 2006

NPR: No one wants to head FEMA

Filed under: DHS News,Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on March 2, 2006

NPR’s Pam Fessler reported this morning on the difficulty that the Administration is having in finding a new director for FEMA. She notes that the uncertainty over FEMA’s roles and its reporting structure are contributing to this difficulty, given the numerous proposals coming from DHS, the White House, and Congress about what to do with FEMA. She quotes Oklahoma’s director of emergency management, Albert Ashwood, to this effect:

“I don’t have a good definition of what exactly the FEMA job is right now. I know what it used to be, and I know what the law says. But at the same time I don’t know how it fits in the current system….I do know that there is a lot of concern about what actual authority you have as FEMA director right now.”

The story names two people who have turned down the job: Richard Andrews from California and Bruce Baughman from Alabama. It indicates that Acting FEMA Director David Paulison has committed to staying on until a permanent replacement is found, and that he is busily engaged in preparing for the coming hurricane season. Nevertheless, hopefully DHS will be able to sort out FEMA’s authorities and find a long-term replacement soon.

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2 Comments »

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 3, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

The 2sr reorg approved by Congress in the DHS apppropriations act signed into law October 18, 2005 is still not fully in effect. Appears that the Administration awaits the Senate Report on Katrina response to determine if it is three strikes (House and Townshend report are strike one and two) and you are out for FEMA! The real deadline is the next “big one” be it natural disaster or terrorist attack. Until the PFO and FCO issue are resolved the fake FEMA Director position (FEMA was statutorily eliminated effective in March 2003)remains the tempest in the teacup.

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Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » Chertoff makes FEMA director an Under Secretary

April 6, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

[…] Perhaps this is a response to the difficulty that DHS has had finding a new director for FEMA. And it’s possible that there will be some pushback on this decision from Congress, consistent with the spat after the Second-Stage Review announcement as to DHS’s authority to create new Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary positions short of congressional approval. […]

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