Senate panel calls for abolishing FEMA

TTLWHKR

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's disaster response agency should be abolished and rebuilt from scratch to avoid a repeat of government failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina, a Senate inquiry has concluded.

Crippled by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot be fixed, a bipartisan investigation says in recommendations to be released Thursday.

Taken together, the 86 proposed reforms suggest the United States is still woefully unprepared for a disaster such as Katrina with the start of the hurricane season a little more than month away.

"The United States was, and is, ill-prepared to respond to a catastrophic event of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina," the recommendations warn. "Catastrophic events are, by their nature, difficult to imagine and to adequately plan for, and the existing plans and training proved inadequate in Katrina."

The recommendations, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, are the product of a seven-month investigation to be detailed in a Senate report to be released next week.

It follows similar inquiries by the House and White House and comes in an election year in which Democrats have seized on Katrina to attack the Bush administration.

President Bush will visit Louisiana and Mississippi -- which bore the brunt of Katrina's wrath -- on Thursday.

The inquiry urges yet another overhaul of the beleaguered Homeland Security Department -- FEMA's parent agency -- which was created three years ago and already has undergone major restructuring of duties and responsibilities.

It proposes creating a new agency, called the National Preparedness and Response Authority, that would plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters.

Unlike now, the authority would have a direct line of communication with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to its budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress.

It would also oversee efforts to protect critical infrastructure such as buildings, roads and power systems, as well as Homeland Security's medical officer.

But the inquiry calls for keeping the agency within Homeland Security, warning that making it an independent office would cut it off from resources the larger department could provide.

The proposal drew disdain from the Homeland Security Department and some critics, with both sides questioning the need for another bureaucratic shuffling that they said wouldn't accomplish much.

"It's time to stop playing around with the organizational charts and to start focusing on government, at all levels, that are preparing for this storm season," said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.

Former FEMA director Michael Brown said the new agency would basically have the same mission as FEMA had a year ago, before its disaster planning responsibilities were taken away.

"It sounds like they're just re-creating the wheel and making it look like they're calling for change," Brown said. "If indeed that's all they're doing, they owe more than that to the American public."

But Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who led the inquiry, said the new agency would be "better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster."

Describing FEMA as a "shambles and beyond repair," Collins said the overall report "will help ensure that we do not have a repeat of the failures following Hurricane Katrina."

Many of the rest of the recommendations were far less dramatic, ranging from creating a Homeland Security Academy to better train relief staff, to encouraging people and state and local governments to plan for evacuating and sheltering pets during a disaster.

Most of them offered common-sense reforms, like better coordination among all levels of government, providing reliable communications equipment to allow emergency responders to talk to each other and ensuring urban evacuation plans are up to date and adequate.

Concluding that FEMA was seriously underfunded, Senate investigators called for more money for disaster planning and response at all levels of government. They did not specify, however, how much money was needed and skirted around whether the federal government should be providing all the funding.

The recommendations also called for clarifying responsibilities for levee maintenance -- highlighting the structural weaknesses of the New Orleans flood walls against Katrina. They also urged better contracting procedures to avoid waste or fraud in the rush to get aid to disaster victims.

"There is no federal dollar that is spent on disaster relief and recovery for which the government is not accountable to taxpayers," the recommendations said.
 

Chimpie

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Can you provide a link to the article?
 

Jon

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Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency.
 

JJR512

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Crap, does that mean the NIMS and ICS awareness certifications I just got are going to be worthless? :D
 

Jon

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JJR512 said:
Crap, does that mean the NIMS and ICS awareness certifications I just got are going to be worthless? :D
They already are... they are a couple of pretty pieces of wallpaper....
 

JJR512

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MedicStudentJon said:
They already are... they are a couple of pretty pieces of wallpaper....
That may be true, but my department required I redecorate.
 

Jon

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ROFLMAO

Jon
 

MedicPrincess

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Crippled by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot be fixed, a bipartisan investigation says in recommendations to be released Thursday

So are they suddenly going to come up with more money to fund this new agency? DOUBT IT!! Its going to be the same problems, under a new name.

It proposes creating a new agency, called the National Preparedness and Response Authority, that would plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters

Same agency, different name. Kind of like calling Taco Bell - "Taco Hell", or McDonalds - "McDeath" Its the same place, just a different name.

Garbage in, Garbage out. Its the same thing.

Unlike now, the authority would have a direct line of communication with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to its budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress.

It would also oversee efforts to protect critical infrastructure such as buildings, roads and power systems, as well as Homeland Security's medical officer.

So give FEMA that power now. Don't waste billions of our dollars recreating an agency that is going to be the same as the one you just dismantled.

But the inquiry calls for keeping the agency within Homeland Security

Theres the problem. The Homeland Security Dept. FEMA had its problems before, then it was put under the Homeland Security Dept and the amount of "Red Tape" that had to be gone through to do anything with FEMA increased drastically.

But Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who led the inquiry, said the new agency would be "better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster."

What tools? That direct line to the Prez? Big freakin deal. Give the FEMA thier direct line.

Bottom line....do you really think they are going to get rid of the thousands of people already working for FEMA? Heck, how about just the upper 10% in the chain of command? No Way. Its going to be the same people, doing the same job as they did for FEMA, only they are going to be doing it on different stationary wearing different embroidered polo shirts.
 

Jon

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EMTPrincess said:
Bottom line....do you really think they are going to get rid of the thousands of people already working for FEMA? Heck, how about just the upper 10% in the chain of command? No Way. Its going to be the same people, doing the same job as they did for FEMA, only they are going to be doing it on different stationary wearing different embroidered polo shirts.

Paulson is already out to kick a:censored: :censored: and take names... give the chief a chance.

Jon
 

Guardian

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i just finished the fema IS-700 class which i was forced to take and after taking that class, i honestly hope the abolish fema. if you want to know what fema is all about, take some fema classes..........i thought fema sucked long before katrina
 

RebelRescue

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Since I live and work in south-east Louisiana I got to see FEMA in,and I use the term VERY loosely,"action" during Katrina............completely,utterly and totally worthless.These people who are supposedly trained to act during exactly this type of crisis and were not only ineffective but actually hampered efforts at times.Civilians who had NO training were of a much bigger help than these idiots.

This stupid NIMS crap that we all have been blackmailed into taking or face losing federal grants is just another fine example of their stupidity.
 

Jon

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Best quote EVER about FEMA - Julette Saussy, MD (NOEMS Director) -
When someone from FEMA shows up and says "I'm from FEMA and I'm here to help" - Look at their shoes... if they are wearing loafers (Dress Shoes) they aren't there to help... they are there to be in the way. If they are wearing the same work boots you are - then they might be there to help.
 
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