CQ’s Rob Margetta today published a white paper from DHS IG Skinner to Secretary Napolitano on the question of FEMA’s location as part of DHS or separate from it, likely reporting directly to the President as some critics advocate.
The paper is accompanied by a memo from IG Skinner to the Secretary explaining that it was written in response to a request from the Congress. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ordered the memo as part of an oversight effort focused on the question “FEMA: In Or Out?”
Skinner is a hold-over from the Bush Administration and in his memo to the new boss at DHS, he states outright that regardless of the decision to “remove FEMA or leave it in DHS, you may be assured that my staff and I stand ready to assist you and the President in helping DHS strengthen its capabilities and become the preeminent department in the federal government.”
I’m not quite sure by what metric Skinner and his team intend to measure preeminence, but I sure do appreciate the nonpartisan spirit.
Skinner’s memo recommends keeping FEMA where it is: a component of DHS that reports directly to the Secretary, or to the President in times of crisis.
Obama’s FEMA Choice Nears:
GovExec ran a story today by Eileen Sullivan and AP’s Liz Sidoti that suggests a few names are beginning to surface after a recent winnowing of the pack of likely nominees to head FEMA. Top choices include:
Both Fugate and Gordon are seasoned professionals with more than 20 years of emergency management experience.
As head of Florida’s emergency management agency since 2001, Fugate oversaw the response to several hurricanes, including 2005’s Dennis and Wilma.
Gordon was head of the Iowa Emergency Management Agency in 2004 when storms tore across parts of the Midwest, hitting the hardest in Iowa.