future of em - the future of homeland security and em - waug.doc

Future of em - the future of homeland security and em - waug.doc

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The Future of Emergency Management The Future of Homeland Security and Emergency Management William L. Waugh, Jr. Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Georgia State University The future of Homeland Security is dependent upon the future of emergency management. First, natural and technological disasters are still more certain than terrorist attacks and the nation has to be prepared better for the next major disaster than it was for the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Second, it is impossible to prevent all terrorist attacks and the nation must be prepared to deal with the consequences of a catastrophic terrorist event. And, third, Homeland Security officials must learn like the Federal Emergency Management Agency did in the 1990s to collaborate with the nongovernmental organizations on which the nation depends during catastrophic disasters of all sorts. The national emergency management system is made up of networks of public, nonprofit, and private organizations and volunteers over which the Department of Homeland Security has little or no authority. The task environment is one of shared authority, shared responsibility, and dispersed resources and Homeland Security agencies and officials have to develop the skills to work within that environment (Waugh, 2006). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created on November 23, 2003. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 combined twenty-two agencies and programs into one department with roughly 170,000 employees (not counting the 25,000 to 30,000 passenger screeners added a few months later). The Act was a direct response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and a component of the U.S.’s “war on terrorism.” The early focus was on the threat of terrorism and that focus has not changed appreciably. Prevention of terrorism has been the explicit programmatic focus as is clear in the department’s mission statement: We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce (DHS, 2005). The mission statement also includes references to hazards, border security and immigration, and “the free-flow of commerce.” DHS’ constituent agencies and programs (see Figure 1) have a variety of missions and capabilities, not all related to protecting the nation from terrorism. The number of disparate agencies and programs that the Act requires to be melded into a coherent department is only part of the story. Some programs contained very few employees and very narrow missions (GAO, 2004). However, the largest agencies are overwhelmingly oriented toward protecting the nation from terrorists and securing its borders (see Table 1). FEMA is a very small agency within DHS, representing only 2-3 % of DHS personnel.
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  • Fall '11
  • Burns
  • United States Department of Homeland Security

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