Interagency Cooperation: FEMA and DoD in Domestic Support Operations   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the abstract: "Hurricane Andrew was the worst natural disaster in American history. Its sustained winds in excess of 145 miles per hour razed entire neighborhoods. Debris was scattered dangerously throughout the area, restricting access and hindering assistance efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], the organization tasked with coordinating relief efforts in the wake of such disasters, tried for the first time to implement the Federal Response Plan (FRP), a document that had only been approved four months before Andrew made landfall. As the lead agency, FEMA coordinated the efforts of 26 governmental agencies and the American Red Cross. The Department of Defense (DOD) also has a role in disaster relief operations. Today, publications such as the Army's Field Manual 100-19, 'Domestic Support Operations', provides doctrinal principles for domestic support. But in 1993, DOD had little, if any, doctrine written on disaster relief. When FEMA's initial relief efforts fell well short of residents' and the administration's expectations, DOD assumed a much greater role. Some authors proposed placing DOD in charge of the national disaster assistance program DOD's executive agent is the Secretary of the Army. This paper studies the interagency cooperation between DOD and FEMA, focusing specifically on the evolution of doctrine and procedures for responding to natural disasters. While both FEMA and DOD have improved in their ability to respond to disasters, some obstacles remain. Funding pre-disaster activities and the inability to use Reserve forces are the two most significant remaining shortcomings. Additionallv, FEMA's failure to quickly integrate the lessons learned from previous disasters impacted negatively on response and relief operations after Hurricane Andrew."

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