Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 21, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 21, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 7:04 am

10 years out from the event what were the major lessons of Hurricane Katrina preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, recovery, and resilience and did we learn them?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 7:32 am

Suggestion! a rather useful background analysis on Hurrican Katrina appears at:


Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 7:38 am

IMO the major legislative effort post-Hurricane Katrina has largely failed but can be found at:

The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, Public Law 109-295

Linked at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/pl109-295.pdf

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

If I had to pick just one academic expert on Katrina it would be Dr. Susan Cutter, PhD.

Dr. Susan Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina where she directs the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute. She received her BA from California State University, Hayward and her MA and Ph.D. (1976) from the University of Chicago. Her primary research interests are in the area of disaster vulnerability/resilience science—what makes people and the places where they live vulnerable to extreme events and how vulnerability and resilience are measured, monitored, and assessed. She has authored or edited twelve books, more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.
Dr. Cutter has also led post-event field studies of the role of geographic information technologies in rescue and relief operations in (September 11th World Trade Center attack) and studies of evacuation behavior from Three Mile Island (1979), Hurricane Floyd (1999), and the Graniteville, SC train derailment and chlorine spill (2005). Most recently (2006) she has led a Hurricane Katrina post-event field team to examine the geographic extent of storm surge inundation along the Mississippi and Alabama coastline and its relationship to the social vulnerability of communities. She has provided expert testimony to Congress on hazards and vulnerability and was a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers IPET team evaluating the social impacts of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection System in response to Hurricane Katrina. She has authored a Trends and Outlook report for the US Army Corps of Engineers on Natural and Human-Induced Disasters and other Factors Affecting Future Emergency Response and Hazard Management.
Dr. Cutter serves on many national advisory boards and committees including those of National Research Council, the AAAS, the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center, and the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. She was a founding member and served on the Executive Committee of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) (2004-2008) (a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence focused on the social and behavioral sciences). Dr. Cutter serves as co-executive editor of Environment and is an associate editor of Weather, Climate, and Society. She is also a coordinating lead author of Chapter 5 of the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.”
She is an elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (1999), and past President of the Association of American Geographers (2000). She is the past President of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) (2008). In 2006, Dr. Cutter was the recipient of the Decade of Behavior Research Award given by a multidisciplinary consortium of more than 50 national and international scientific organizations in the social and behavioral sciences. Dr. Cutter holds the MunichRe Foundation Chair (2009-2012) on Social Vulnerability through the United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security, in Bonn, Germany.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

One baseline effort:


Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

An interesting clearing house reference:


Comment by William R. Cumming

August 21, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

IMO best single overview book on Hurricane Katrina:

The Sociology of Katrina: Perspectives on a Modern CatastropheSep 16, 2010
by David L. Brunsma and David Overfelt

Now out in a second edition!

Comment by tom russo

August 21, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

Great topics…especially fellow south Carolinian Dr. Susan Cutter. I’ll have to brush up and connect…thanks!

Comment by RecoveryDiva

August 22, 2015 @ 5:54 am

The link to the clearinghouse does not work.

For a short (chapter long) account of Hurricane Katrina, see Chapter 7 of the book Emergency Management; the American Experience, 1900-2015. Authors are Gall and Cutter. [A single chapter is available as part of the ebook.]

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 22, 2015 @ 7:22 am

The Atlantic magazine together with C-SPAN will broadcast the Atlantic’s Weeklong seminar in NOLA on Hurricane Katrina starting at 10 A.M. Monday August 24th.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 22, 2015 @ 7:28 am

Apologies for the lapsed link! Apparently [and wrongly IMO] that Social Science Clearing-house effort was defunded. Perhaps my info in error so hoping its vast bibliography maintained. The same thing happened to the Memorial Institute of Prevention of Terrorism.

A very interesting segment of the Tom Hanks/CNN effort to capture film and media highlights of the Seventies was/is devoted to TERRORISM. Excellent IMO!

It documents why the world of the terrorist for Americans did not begin on 9/11/01!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 24, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

How dare you? So many have given Life or limb and so many families have compromised, sacrificed for good ‘ol Glory and this is just such nonsense and utter disrespect to our country – time to fire the school administrators and those making such decision — stand up for ‘ol Glory!


“In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag, a school district in Tennessee has banned all flags and banners, including the American flag.

“While this was not necessarily an attack on the American flag, there were some other issues we’re trying to address,” Dickson County Director of Student Services Steve Sorrells said. “It’s not an unpatriotic act, by any means, because we have a number of ways in which students do learn how to be patriotic and express American pride.”

Some students are angry at the flag ban, as they feel their patriotism and freedom of speech are being compromised.

“I just think that’s a right. It’s freedom of expression, and I don’t think you should be able to take that away from us,” high school senior Arianna Heisler said” –

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 25, 2015 @ 7:05 am

Your right Chris! The United States is now largely not a nation-state but a flag and a song. This ban destroys one of the two remaining legs of U.S. Nation State status IMO!

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 25, 2015 @ 7:12 am

I have been trying to follow 10 year reviews and lessons learned on Katrina. In a Government Executive article [based on 19 experts] almost none of the six lessons learned were specific to Hurricane Katrina.

And in an interview with POLITICO FEMA Administrator states all is better now and then argues Americans don’t understand SCIENCE and that Social Media is of limited benefit to EM.

IMO there were many hard and specific lessons to be learned and as I have written and argued Katrina and Haiti are the current standard for American response because guess what? Few in the USA understand the hard lessons taught, and if they do understand they lack the power to see the development, design, implementation, and operation of solutions.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 25, 2015 @ 12:37 pm

I know its only Tuesday of the 10th Year celebration and analysis of Hurricane Katrina.

But I see the seeds of a new AMERICAN TRAGEDY!

Why? This is turning into a prep rally for NOLA led by its Mayor! He proudly announces over and over how NOLA is the fastest growing American City [by population]!

Those refugees who permanently fled NOLA in August and September 2005 may be the smart ones.

One reason: All agree that the USACOE for about $15B has provided structural protection works against the so-called 100 year flood. Even protection against the 500-year flood might well be inadequate.

The so-called 100-year flood is actually the 1% chance annual exceedance interval flood. In the life of a 30-year mortgage it is likely to happen up to 4 times.

Where did this standard come from? It was a political compromise between recorded floods of record [often inaccurate for much of the USA] and the ANNUAL SPRING RUN-OFF! It was largely to be used for inland/riverine flood mapping not coastal mapping or structural protection works.

Hoping the analysis improves as several post-Katrina reports need to be graded for their recommendations.

Comment by RecoveryDiva

August 25, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

As always, identifying the lessons is a lot easier than doing something about them.

Agree that most of the people concerned about problems/needs/issues identified after Katrina are not in a position to implement remdial action.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 25, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Thanks to Recovery Diva, writer/author Michael Lewis [Dollar Poker & Money Ball among other books] will chair a panel of insurance experts on August 27th. Exact time unknown but will be televised so I assume C-Span!

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 27, 2015 @ 8:29 am

Mayor Morial and others now trumpeting a new resilience plan for NOLA but oddly the plan is silent on who would fund it.

And like Storm Sandy Hurricane Katrina response and recovery largely a federal activity. And negligence in NOLA rewarded.

As I have previously posted the pathetic pleas by USACOE to have DoJ exempted from the 1981 FEMA lawsuit filed by DoJ on behalf of FEMA on a NFIP subrogation theory succeeded. So only Jefferson and St. Bernard Parish were the defendants.

Both those Parishes heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and not anywhere near any kind of recovery.

Not a single effort has been made by the MSM to discuss the impacts of the next Hurricane [like Betsy, Camille, Katrina] on NOLA. Another national tragedy in the making?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 9, 2015 @ 5:35 am


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