Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 15, 2009

FEMA Transition Binder

Filed under: Organizational Issues,Preparedness and Response — by Jonah Czerwinski on January 15, 2009

In the spirit of transparency, HLSwatch.com was sent a copy of the FEMA Transition Binder, which is used to facilitate the hand-off to the Obama Administration. The Transition is nearly over, so I am making it available as a google doc for you. (Our servers can’t handle the 6MB upload. It is an impressive piece of work at 238 pages.) Please email me [jonah.hlswatch at gmail dot com] to request an invitation to download it.

If you have time to peruse that tome, then you have time to let us know what you think of it. Be sure to comment below.


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Comment by William R. Cumming

January 15, 2009 @ 9:58 am

Remarkable document. Would like to know which contractor prepared it. Fleshes out the highly secretive org chart for FEMA but no metrics–e.g. number of full time FTE in each component, number of DAE and CORE employees assigned. No delegations of authority to the components. No analysis of budget dollars assigned to components. Large amount of in futuro hortatory language as in hoping its a NEW FEMA.

Fundamentally reflects the fact that the basic question about FEMA has still never been resolved–specifically is it a coordinating and collaborative agency relying on the skills and budgets and authorities of all the other federal departments and agencies to do their jobs and FEMA is just a stop-gap—or is it fundamentally the Executive Branch safety net and will be all things to all people in case of a domestic large-scale catstrophic event. No indication of how the regions relate to the FCO’s. Still no formal delegations for either postions or organizations. How does the Administrator of FEMA relate to the Secretary DHS as domestic crisis manager, or the White House domestic crisis management system–still unknown. Their are some examples of components that really don’t get their mission or responsibilities. Example, two for discussion. Office of External Affairs has no one assigned to Emergency Public Information–generation of PAR’s (Protective Action Recommendations to the Public such as shelter or evacuate) and those who say FEMA is not involved in that activity just don’t know the law. Mitigation Directorate–no clue that they are supposed to have a full scale compliance activity to ensure that flood insurance is not issued in communities that have failed to adopt correct maps and ordinances. Also a regional function. If there was an array of FTE it would be immediately evident that contract oversight (perhaps being wined and dined?) of the WYO companies and the mapping consortiums is a primary mission. Not clear what exactly those not assigned to that function do. Again an FTE array would be helpful breaking down budget authority and also specific delegations. I expect this document to be laughable as even a point in time report 6 months down the road. Breaking out political appointees and career appointees in each component would also be of help to determine whether their is adquate management should FEMA hit a crisis after Tuesday. For example, large scale ice storms and power outages across the upper-mid-west and northeast. A large scale geographic event is not what FEMA can handle. Even as the NEW FEMA.

Comment by Mark Monday

January 15, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

Please give me an invitation to download the transition report.


Mark Monday

Comment by Henry Willett

January 16, 2009 @ 11:00 am

May I please have access to download a copy of the FEMA Transition Binder?

Also, how about using some 2.0 tools to aid review of the document (e.g., word clouds, perhaps the strategic plan / transparency / extraction tools developed by Owen Ambur/others might work* (see: http://xml.gov/stratml/index.htm)?

Thanks very much, Henry Willett

*Strategy Markup Language (StratML) is an XML vocabulary and schema for strategic plans. Its purposes include but may not be limited to the following:
• Facilitate the sharing, referencing, indexing, discovery, linking, reuse, and analyses of the elements of strategic plans, including goal and objective statements as well as the names and descriptions of stakeholder groups and any other content commonly included in strategic plans.
• Enable the concept of “strategic alignment” to be realized in literal linkages among goal and objective statements and all other records created by organizations in the routine course of their business processes.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 16, 2009 @ 11:40 am

Jonah is very very busy and just e-mail at vacationlanegrp@aol.com to get the transition doc.

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

January 21, 2009 @ 10:39 am

Thanks to Steven Aftergood at Federation of American Scientists, we’ve made the FEMA Transition Binder available at this link for download.

Pingback by Pro Information Center » Blog Archive » Presidential Transition Binder Shines a Light on FEMA

January 26, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

[…] been made readily available to the public, was obtained by Jonah Czerwinski, who writes the Homeland Security Watch […]

Pingback by Presidential Transition Binder Shines a Light on FEMA | Secrecy News

November 29, 2011 @ 6:36 am

[…] been made readily available to the public, was obtained by Jonah Czerwinski, who writes the Homeland Security Watch blog. {"lang":"en-US"}Email […]

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