Catastrophic Disasters: Enhanced Leadership, Capabilities, and Accountability Controls Will Improve the Effectiveness of the Nation's Preparedness, Response, and Recovery System, Report to Congressional Committees [open pdf - 3MB]
"Hurricane Katrina was the largest, most destructive natural disaster in our nation's history. The problems experienced in responding to Katrina resulted in a number of investigations - by congressional committees, the White House Homeland Security Council, and others - regarding the preparations for and response to Katrina. GAO [Government Accountability Office] assisted the congressional investigations and, under the Comptroller General's authority, initiated a number of Katrina-related reviews. […] The purpose of this report is to summarize what went well and why, what did not go well and why, and what changes are needed to improve the nation's readiness to respond to a catastrophic disaster; and to identify selected issues associated with the Gulf Coast's recovery." The GAO outlines the "basic elements in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from any catastrophic disaster [as] (1) leadership; (2) capabilities; and (3) accountability. Leadership in the form of legal authorities, roles and responsibilities, and lines of authority at all levels of government must be clearly defined, effectively communicated, and well understood in order to facilitate rapid and effective decision making." Leadership, capabilities, and accountability should be placed in a national context and integrated with an "all-hazards risk management framework."
Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/