W. Craig Fugate and John T. Morton are appearing this morning before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The nomination hearing can be viewed via webcast at: http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=14b3986d-420f-40fd-b3df-fc1d2d15fdf7
Mr. Fugate (see Time magazine bio) has been nominated to serve as the Administrator of FEMA. Mr. Morton (see DHS news release) has been nominated to serve as DHS Assistant Secretary for immigration and customs enforcement.
The various statements and Q&A should point to policy priorities — and potential differences between the executive and legislature — in regard to homeland security.
10:05 Senator Lieberman opens hearing. Following are quick-takes in real-time.
Senator Lieberman’s opening statement sets several markers in regard to the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act and especially the importance of keeping FEMA inside DHS. Chairman Liberman notes that FEMA is a, “stronger agency — much stronger agency — than it was before Katrina.”
It is interesting that many of the senators’ comments focus on Fugate’s tactical and operational experience. As FEMA Administrator he will presumably serve mostly at the policy/strategy level.
Fugate’s opening statement focuses on how the PKEMA has redefined FEMA and the emergency management profession in the US. He especially emphasizes the focus on all-hazards and preparation for catastrophic disasters. Fugate also highlights the need to be prepared for the unprecedented.
Fugate says that as far as he is concerned FEMA is and should remain part of DHS. He says, “that debate is over.”
In response to what is evidently an off-the-cuff inquiry from Senator Lieberman regarding FEMA’s role in cybersecurity, Fugate emphasized a capability-based as opposed to a threat-based approach to preparedness.
Fugate’s opening statement also gave priority to involving citizens and perceiving “citizens as resources.” In response to a question from Senator Collins, Fugate emphasizes his readiness to use a full range of communications technologies to engage citizens. His track-record in Florida suggests that citizen readiness and resilience may get much more attention at the federal level.
10:50 Unfortunately, I have to go to a professional obligation. Please use the comment function to highlight what you think is most important in the remainder of the testimony.