Friday, September 08, 2006

FEMA needs new clothes.

It has recently occurred to me that FEMA needs a sense of dedication, a feeling of a special mission. They also need clearer lines of communication and responsibility.

I have a suggestion.

Abolish FEMA and create the FDRS (Federal Disaster Response Service) as the country's eighth Uniformed Service, along the lines of the PHS and the Coast Guard. Using military style organization and headed by a professionally qualified Director General, similar to the Surgeon General (or the Commandant of the Coast Guard).

I have read that some find the PHS redundant and unnecessary, that may be. The addition of military rank, discipline and uniforms will, I think, help FDRS interface with the mostly similarly uniformed and organized First Responders and military support essential in the early stages of any major disaster response.

As a Uniformed Service the FDRS could fall under the administrative umbrella of the DHS during normal times but in upon declaration of a disaster the Director General should report directly to the President, much like the military, or the Coast Guard (which in times of war comes under command of the Navy). Next time they might be able to be as effective as the Coast Guard was mobilizing and delivering help.

1 comment:

Renegade Seismology said...

I think what you are saying is that FEMA needs some real professionalism. The clothes alone won't make them professional, but requiring training and certification and practice, practice, practice will.

And I believe this would also be the anti-dote for all those calls to turn over disaster response to the military. The military already has enough important things to do, but having military style training and discipline in a disaster response organization is a good idea.