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            Emergency Management and Homeland Security
             National Response Framework Edition 11-9-07
This will be an on-going section of the Articles of Interest. As additional public source information
                             becomes available it will be posted here

News Articles
There is still time for IAEM members to comment on the Annexes to the draft National Response
Framework at: http://www.fema.gov/nrf

Please use the reporting form and send comments on the Annexes to Steve Detwiler at:
steveorange2003@yahoo.com by Nov. 5, 2007. (New)

IAEM Membership comments to the National Response Framework
http://www.iaem.com/publications/News/news.htm#NRF102207

IAEM New Release 10-25-07: IAEM Meets with DHS as Comment Period Ends to Discuss
Opportunities to Improve the National Response Framework
http://www.iaem.com/documents/IAEMnewsrelease102507.pdf

IAEM Press Release- IAEM Calls for Additional Work on the National Response Framework (9-
11-07)
http://www.iaem.com/committees/GovernmentAffairs/documents/BohlmannTestifiesonNRF.pdf

IAEM Press Release- National Response Framework Is Not a Good Replacement for the NRP (8-
9-07)
http://www.iaem.com/pressroom/documents/IAEMnewsreleaseNRP080907.pdf

States left out of disaster plan
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/07/AR2007080702115.html

Fugate Fuming Over Disaster Response Plan (Florida)
http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2007/8/13/fugate_fuming_over_disaster_plam.html

Q&A: Emergency Preparedness Expert Comments on National Response Plan
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/532741/?sc=rsmn

New disaster plan says who's in charge
http://cbs2.com/nationalpolitics/politicsnational_story_253101711.html

http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=37971&sid=60

http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1413044.html

http://www.katc.com/global/story.asp?s=7051815

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296335,00.html

Homeland Security Releases National Response Framework for Public Comment
http://www.govtech.com/em/articles/141997


Federal disaster management plan running into criticism
   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the        1
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=37997&sid=60

New Mexico official concerned with new disaster plan
http://www.newschannel10.com/global/story.asp?s=7054618

Proposed Disaster-Response Plan Faulted
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/09/12/politics/washingtonpost/main3253565.shtml

Editorial: Emergency Plan a Recipe for Disaster
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_6885551

http://www.sbsun.com/opinions/ci_6906537

Brazenly Prepared
http://www.dhs.gov/journal/leadership/

DHS official touts ongoing revisions to emergency response plan
http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=38139&sid=60

U.S. drafts new national emergency response plan
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6273147.html

Public Comment Period for Draft National Response Framework Extended To October 22
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1191963143165.shtm

Critics say FEMA‟s revisions to disaster response plan fall short
http://federaltimes.com/index.php?S=3122623


Sept. 10, 2007
Emergency Plan Deemed a Disaster-in-Waiting
By Michael R. Crittenden, CQ Staff

If the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks highlighted the importance of a national policy to quickly and
effectively respond to catastrophic events, the dual natural and man-made disasters sparked by
Hurricane Katrina showed how little progress Washington had made in four years to reach that
goal.

Plagued by miscommunication, a lack of coordination among emergency responders and a failure
to grasp the scope of the crisis, efforts by the federal government were themselves a catastrophe.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency shouldered much of the blame, but experts and
local officials say a major source of dysfunction was FEMA‟s parent, the Department of Homeland
Security.

Created after Sept. 11 amid the specter of future attacks, the department turned the federal focus
away from natural disasters and toward the threat of terrorism. After Katrina, Congress directed
federal emergency response officials to work with their state and local counterparts to clarify the
chain of command and draw up a plan to deal with man-made or natural disasters of that scale.

Now, six years after Sept. 11 and two years after Katrina, experts and local officials say the
federal government has fallen short in making changes that would allow it to deal effectively with
a major emergency. Federal officials are set this week to unveil a new disaster-response plan that
already has been sharply criticized by first-responders for ignoring state and local concerns. The
critics say the shortcomings could result in an inadequate or bungled response to a future
disaster that could also doom recovery efforts. And they caution that there is no margin for error
   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the        2
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

after the nation‟s response system was shown to have significant weaknesses twice in this
decade.

“It‟s not where it should be, and in some cases it‟s not really there at all,” said Andrew Sachs, a
former FEMA official who is director of planning and mitigation for James Lee Witt Associates,
which is run by the former FEMA director who has been credited with restoring the agency under
President Bill Clinton.

“What Katrina should have taught us is that we have to be ready for the catastrophe, and right
now we‟re not ready,” Sachs said.

The evidence, say local emergency responders, is the Department of Homeland Security‟s
“National Response Framework,” which was rewritten after Katrina and is supposed to be the
nation‟s playbook for dealing with catastrophic events. But months into the 2007 hurricane
season, the document is only now being released this week to coincide with a congressional
hearing.

The framework was supposed to reflect a collaborative effort at all levels of government, but
critics say the process was hijacked by federal officials, some of whom are ideologically opposed
to a major federal role in the emergency-response process. A draft version has drawn the ire of
experts and first-responders, who said that at little more than 70 pages the framework did not
provide the level of detail needed to make it usable.

“Some simplistic PR type of approach that might help inform some elected leadership is a good
thing, but it isn‟t a substitute for a plan that can be implemented,” said Michael D. Selves, an
Olathe, Kan., official who is president of the International Association of Emergency Managers.

What responders need, Selves said, is a plan “that defines roles, responsibilities and
relationships between players. That‟s the key of what you have to have to begin the process of
dealing with a disaster.”

Homeland Security and FEMA officials have defended their efforts, and an administration official
familiar with the final version of the framework said it will be released with companion documents
and an online resource guide that add depth to the plan. Additionally, even critics of the
framework say federal officials have made some practical progress since Katrina.

FEMA Director R. David Paulison told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
at a July 31 hearing that his agency has significantly improved its ability to get needed supplies
into disaster areas — a contention that state and local officials endorse.

But Paulison said, “We have more work to do.” And experts say there are too many signs the
federal government remains unprepared.

“There‟s still a lot of concern around the country that the fairly effective way we used to do things
got scrapped a few years back, and some individuals put some new ways to do things out there
without really listening to people who had been doing this for their whole careers,” said Tim
Manning, director of New Mexico‟s Office of Homeland Security. “That didn‟t work two years ago
in Louisiana, and there‟s no reason to think it will work now.”

Local Issues, National Consequences Critics of current federal policy say the department‟s
decision to write the national response framework with little-to-no input from state or local officials
goes against the basic tenets of emergency response. Every disaster, whether it be a
catastrophic hurricane or a single tornado, starts out as a local event, said Mark Smith,
spokesman for Louisiana‟s Homeland Security Department.

   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the           3
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

Local officials respond to the best of their ability until they are overwhelmed, at which point state
officials are called in. Only after the state‟s resources are exhausted is the federal government
called on to help. It doesn‟t make sense, Smith said, to exclude first-responders from the planning
process.

“We are being dictated to by the last line of defense on how the first line of defense should work,”
he said, dismissing the plan as “stupid.”

Sachs said the problem stems partly from philosophical objections some officials in the Bush
administration have to a sizable federal involvement in the response and recovery process.
“Rather than trying to strengthen the existing system, they are looking to divorce themselves from
those systems,” he said.

FEMA spokesman Aaron Walker denies that state and local officials were closed out. “We‟ve had
an open and transparent process,” he said. “They‟ve had every chance to express their opinions.”

But Manning, who was on a steering committee drafting the framework before the group was
effectively disbanded earlier this year, said federal officials‟ interest in their ideas was limited.
“The collaboration, when it happens, is cursory,” he said. “But they don‟t really take any of the
opinion and make changes based on that.”

As a result, DHS‟s framework is unworkable for local officials, Sachs said. “Every state has
different protocols and operations that vary at least to some degree,” he said. “Until you‟ve built in
those individual peculiarities into the response plan, it‟s not going to function nationally.”

The lack of a coherent national response plan means there has been little advance planning,
emergency professionals said.

“Right now, people are still scratching their heads about what this really means for them,” Sachs
said. “I think the idea of a response any time before next hurricane season that will follow that
framework is very unlikely.”

Selves said he is confident in the emergency response plan for Johnson County, Kan., primarily
because he knows that the various first-responders in the area are familiar with each other and
understand their responsibilities in the event of a disaster. Beyond his county, however, he is not
so sure.

“If we understand one another, work with one another, then we are going to do things better
regardless of what plans we have in place,” he said. “That‟s the type of thing we want to see
developed at the federal level.”

For the longer-term consequence, the lack of a plan will hinder recovery efforts, he said. “It‟s kind
of like building a skyscraper: If you‟re off a 10th of an inch at the bottom, you‟re going to be off a
lot more at the top,” Selves said. “If things don‟t start off well they are going to continue to be
complicated by this lack of understanding and trust.”

Sachs said that‟s exactly the lesson the government should have learned from Katrina, when a
national disaster-response plan was released a short time before the storm and proved of little
use to state and local officials.

Acting on Their Own State and local responders say the lack of a national plan has helped
encourage a sense of interstate cooperation.

“It‟s hard to say it‟s been an active choice of the states that we can‟t depend on the federal
government so we are going to do it ourselves,” said Manning. “But that‟s been the result.”
   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the             4
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/


Sachs agreed, adding that state emergency management agencies have begun to create parallel
response systems to take the place of the federal government. This includes stand-by contracts
between states and vendors for necessities such as water, ice, food and electrical generators that
could be activated in the event of a catastrophic event.

“They‟re not assuming that FEMA is going to deliver anymore,” Sachs said.

Critics say much of the blame lies not with FEMA, but with the Department of Homeland Security.
FEMA‟s progress has been offset by missteps such as the drafting of the response framework,
some state officials say. “Nobody is thrilled with the way DHS headquarters has handled this
issue to date,” Smith said.

Congress is likely to keep pressure on DHS and FEMA to ensure that the absence of a
comprehensive disaster-response policy is short-lived. Lawmakers have already held hearings on
response and recovery efforts and will hear about the framework this week.

“The concept we are trying to get across is that it has to be something that we all do together, and
we have to all be partners in this so that at the time of the disaster you have at least enough trust
in one another to overcome these problems that invariably crop up,” Selves said.




Sept. 11, 2007
Transportation Committee Members Blast Disaster Response Plan
By Matthew M. Johnson, CQ Staff

New disaster preparation and response guidelines proposed by the Homeland Security
Department have quickly drawn the ire of prominent House members, who are revisiting the idea
of stripping DHS of its lead role in federal disaster response.

In 2006, Congress included provisions in the fiscal 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill
(PL 109-295) to clarify that the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator is the
principal emergency management adviser to the president and the primary federal official
responsible for managing and coordinating federal response to disasters.

Now, senior members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and some state
and local authorities, are concerned that the draft guidelines — known as the National Response
Framework — could reestablish confusion about who is in charge. (See related story, CQ
Homeland Security, ).

“Rather than complying with the law, DHS is heading in the complete opposite direction with this
document,” committee Chairman, James L. Oberstar D-Minn., said in a statement. “Even though I
believe the Post Katrina Emergency Reform Act did not go far enough, because it kept FEMA
within DHS, I have been willing to give this reform a chance to see if it works. However in light of
the disregard DHS is showing for even the modest FEMA reforms enacted last year, I think it may
be time for Congress to revisit whether this country can afford to continue to have FEMA buried in
and hobbled by the Department of Homeland Security.”




   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the        5
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

The 2006 law specifically required the plan to clarify that FEMA‟s federal coordinating officer, a
representative of the administrator, is responsible for coordinating federal responses to national
emergencies, as opposed to DHS‟ principal federal official.

However, under the National Response Framework draft, “the Secretary of Homeland Security is
the principal official responsible for coordination of all domestic incidents requiring multi-agency
federal response” and “in a catastrophic or unusually complex incident, the secretary may elect to
designate a single individual to serve as his or her primary representative and as the lead federal
official in the field.”

The contrast between the law and the draft has committee members from both parties
questioning the role DHS has assigned to FEMA.

“Given the specific changes to the National Response Plan mandated by law, I find it particularly
surprising the new plan does not mention the FEMA reform bill at all,” Missouri Rep. Sam Graves,
ranking Republican on the Transportation and Infrastructure Economic Development, Public
Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, said at a Tuesday hearing. “Given the
critical testimony of our expert witnesses and our committee‟s own review, it appears the
Department has a lot more work [to do] to develop an effective National Response Plan.”

Others speculated why DHS would attempt to retain control of disaster management in apparent
contravention of the intent of the law.

“I believe the [National Response Framework‟s] subtitle is „a response to terrorism‟,” Oberstar
said at the hearing. Disasters such as forest fires, floods and blizzards are equally terrifying to
people in the Midwest, he added.

William Waugh, a disaster management academic and witness at the hearing, said only three of
the 15 high-consequence threat scenarios planned for in the draft might be considered natural.
There is no planning for floods, tornados or tsunamis, he added.

Another witness testified that DHS cut state and local collaborators out of the loop in the later
stages of the draft‟s development.

Stakeholders collaborated in working groups to address a dozen aspects of the National
Response Framework under the direction of FEMA between December 2006 and mid-March
2007, said Robert C. Bohlmann, a participant from the International Association of Emergency
Managers. “That‟s why we at IAEM — along with other key stakeholders and partners — were
shocked when we reviewed an unofficial draft copy of the National Response Framework dated
July 27, 2007. The document we saw bore no resemblance to what we had discussed so
extensively with FEMA and other stakeholders.”

The last communication the working group members received came on March 13, 2007, thanking
them for their participation and advising them that the planned March 12, 2007, release for first
draft was being delayed to ensure the concerns of stakeholders were accurately incorporated.

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison categorically rejected the notion that state and local input
had been cut out of the draft revision process. A number of key recommendations were
incorporated into the draft plan after DHS sifted through recommendations submitted by more
than 700 people from federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental
organizations and the private sector, he added.


   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the           6
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

Paulison also reminded the committee that the framework is still a draft and is in the midst of a
30-day comment period. If comments are still being sent in at the end of the period, it could be
extended, he added.

In the meantime, Congress will continue to assess the plan and the process. Economic
Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairwoman Eleanor
Holmes Norton, D-D.C., requested a copy of the National Response Framework draft from March
13 and said she will be asking for a Government Accountability Office report on the new plan.

“We will demand more hearings,” she added.




September 13, 2007
EDITORIAL, NY TIMES
Department of Brazen Bureaucracy

The Bush administration seems intent on flouting Congress‟s mandate to restore the primacy of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency in dealing with disasters. At the core of the
government‟s dreadful performance when Katrina crushed New Orleans two years ago was the
confusion of responsibility in which the new and untested Department of Homeland Security
superseded FEMA as the manager of disaster response.

To repair this glaring problem, Congress passed a bipartisan reform act last year firmly specifying
FEMA as the main coordinator for national emergencies. Nevertheless, homeland security has
just issued its own sweeping disaster policy statement claiming the coordinator‟s role for its own
department secretary.

Congress is properly furious. The administration‟s latest exercise of in-your-face contumely would
confirm the superagency, which includes FEMA in its organization chart, as a millstone rather
than a bulwark in future disasters. The reform act sought to repair the lines of authority, bolster
FEMA and prevent its slide toward a patronage-heavy underling agency.

The new homeland security policy — the already overdue “national response framework” —
amounts to fresh disaster on paper. It not only ignores Congress‟s vital mandate, but it breezes
past a range of valuable proposals from state and local disaster managers and first responders. It
threatens to compound bureaucratic inertia by creating 15 regional disaster areas with separate
operational and strategic plans.

Homeland Security Department officials defend their plan as merely a draft open to hearings and
change. But they‟re throwing down the gauntlet before Congress. Some angry members are
threatening to strip FEMA entirely from under the homeland umbrella. Far better that Congress
defend its own primacy by establishing this finally is a nation of law, not runaway executives.
   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the           7
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/




Proposed Disaster-Response Plan Faulted
Details Insufficient, Chain of Command Unclear, State and Local Officials Say

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 12, 2007; A04

The Bush administration's new federal disaster-response plan drew harsh criticism yesterday
from state and local officials only a day after it was unveiled, prompting fresh calls by House
Democrats to make the Federal Emergency Management Agency a stand-alone Cabinet-level
agency.

In one of only three House hearings held yesterday, all scheduled to mark the anniversary of the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, state and local emergency managers said the new plan offers
insufficient detail for guiding the actions of officials in charge of handling specific incidents and
leaves unclear the chain of command, from the president to workers on the scene.

Congress passed legislation after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005 to beef up FEMA and
make its director the president's principal disaster-management adviser.

But yesterday, Robert C. Bohlmann, emergency manager for York County in Maine and
spokesman for the International Association of Emergency Managers, warned at the hearing
about a "major disconnect" between that legislation and the new National Response Framework
(NRF), which states that the secretary of homeland security is in charge of managing domestic
incidents.

Testifying before a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, Bohlmann said the
framework -- streamlined to about 78 pages from its predecessor, the 427-page National
Response Plan -- lacks substance.

"The draft NRF that we have reviewed appears to be more like a public relations document rather
than a response plan or framework," Bohlmann said. Earlier this summer, state and local officials
had complained that the Department of Homeland Security ignored the input they gave to FEMA
and commandeered the drafting process.

Yesterday, FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison told the subcommittee that the new framework
is a draft open for comment for 30 days. About 600 pages outlining specific emergency
operations are included in about 30 annexes that will be open for comment for 60 days, he said.

"This is going to be a collaborative effort. This is a draft document. . . . If there are specifics in
here that people don't feel we have, we welcome hearing them," Paulison said.

Tim Manning, director of homeland security and emergency management for New Mexico and
spokesman for the National Emergency Management Association, whose members include his
counterparts in the 49 other states, said he "could not object more vociferously" to the

   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the              8
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

framework's concept that separate operational and strategic plans will be developed for 15
federally designated disaster scenarios.

"When you scale up to the level we're talking about, to have very duplicative plans with 30
variations will be disastrous," Manning said.

Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) said it may be time for
Congress to revisit the issue of separating FEMA from the DHS. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-
D.C.), who chaired the hearing, asked congressional investigators to review state and local
officials' criticism.




   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the    9
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

Additional Information

FEMA, National Response Framework Website
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nrf/

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic
Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Readiness in the Post-Katrina and
Post-9/11 World- NRF Hearing
http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=298

A Declaration of Inter-Dependence (Presentation by FEMA Administrator David Paulison, at
National Emergency Managers Association Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, October 1, 2007)
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=41200

National Response Framework (NRF) PREPnet Broadcast
http://www.vodium.com/goto/fema/nrf.asp

Homeland Responder Video: What Is the National Response Framework?
http://www.homelandresponder.org/specialreport_101.htm

http://www.homelandresponder.org/specialreport_102.htm

What is the New National Response Framework?
http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=472




For Immediate Release
Contact: Doxie A. McCoy
September 11, 2007
(202) 225-8050, (202) 225-8143-cell
Doxie.mccoy@mail.house.gov
Web Site: http://www.norton.house.gov

                    Norton Asks for GAO Report to Help Clear Away
         Controversy and Confusion Surrounding New Plan for National Disasters

      Washington, DC-- At a September 11th hearing today, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes
Norton (D-DC) said that she will ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a report on
the National Response Framework (NRF) and will ask her Ranking Member, Steve Graves, to
join the request because of controversial testimony before the Subcommittee on Economic
Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, which Norton chairs. The
subcommittee heard blistering criticism from expert state, local and academic emergency
managers regarding the just released national plan to make the country safe in the event of a
natural disaster or terrorist disaster. “The critiques of the Framework raise the most serious,
unanswered questions that must be settled before Congress will be able to say that we have an
operational all-hazards national plan that has achieved consensus with federal, state and local
officials, and that they agree they will follow should another 9/11 or Katrina occur,” Norton said.
“Testimony of experts questioning the just released plan raises serious questions that must be
answered at once, including, among others, whether the Department of Homeland Security and
FEMA followed the Post-Katrina Act,” which prescribes the content of the Framework but is not
mentioned in the document; who is in charge or whether two major federal officials continue to
have duplicative responsibilities, a major part of the confusion in responding to Katrina; whether
   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the       10
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

the Framework is a unified operational plan that local officials can and will follow; and whether the
NRF cuts the President of the United States out from receiving quick and undiluted advice from
FEMA in the event of a disaster.

     In her opening remarks, Norton outlined some of the criticisms raised by expert testimony in
order to afford an opportunity in advance for FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison and Office of
Operations Coordination Department of Homeland Security Director Admiral Roger T. Rufe to
respond. She said that “the critiques of the plan we are receiving go to the congressional
mandate in the Post-Katrina Act itself, suggesting that the Department of Homeland Security “just
doesn‟t get it,” and doesn‟t want to get it. The full text of Norton‟s opening statement follows:

Good morning and welcome to today‟s hearing. We are pleased to welcome our federal guests
and the panel of experts, and look forward to their testimony on the National Response
Framework. We are holding the first hearing on the anniversary of 9/11 concerning the NRF
because we hold primary jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
the primary agency implicated in the most serious terrorist and natural disaster events in U.S.
history, two years after Hurricane Katrina and six years following the 9/11 terrorist attack on the
United States. After months of delay, we gave FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security
                                   th
(DHS) a deadline of September 5 to supply the NRF. We thank the officials for meeting this
deadline and for giving the subcommittee time to analyze the NRF. They have agreed that on this
9/11 anniversary that the American people must be assured, in the midst of yet another hurricane
season and the administration‟s own warning about a reorganized and strengthened Al Qaeda,
that the country is ready for a catastrophic attack.

To address issues of accountability that were on stark display during the administration‟s
response to Katrina, the last Congress passed the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform
Act of 2006, which prescribed several directives that Congress felt were essential to prepare the
nation for any new disasters, whether a natural event or a terrorist attack. The Post-Katrina Act
requires the Administrator of FEMA to ensure that the National Response Framework provides for
a clear chain of command that is consistent with the role of the Administrator as the principal
emergency management advisor to the President. Perhaps most important, the new Act requires
FEMA to coordinate with state and local officials when developing the National Response
Framework.

To assure that these mandates were met and that the subcommittee could objectively evaluate
the administration‟s submission, the subcommittee sent pre-hearing questions to our expert
witnesses to get their assessment of the draft plan. They were asked: 1) “Do you believe the
National Response Framework reflects the role and responsibility of the FEMA Administrator as
reflected by law? 2) Do you believe that the President will receive the professional advice he
needs during a catastrophic disaster? 3) The law required that FEMA and the Department of
Homeland Security coordinate and confer with state and local emergency managers in
developing the National Response Framework. In your opinion did FEMA/DHS comply with the
law in this regard?” The answers we received were candid, and I must say, troubling.

One of today‟s witnesses will testify, “The draft framework overlooks concerns that helped shape
the legislation Congress enacted, and would put the nation at risk to some of the same
systematic failures that hobbled the federal response to Katrina.” According to the testimony of
another of today‟s experts, the National Response Framework “ignores the role of counties and
parishes in disaster response and early recovery, which in many states is very significant.” Such
criticism of missing on-the-ground involvement from first responders, who alone are familiar with
local conditions and who must implement any plan, goes to the heart of a response to disasters
and would amount to noncompliance with the requirements of cooperation and coordination set
forth in the Post-Katrina Act.

   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the       11
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

Remembering the plain and painful confusions between the roles of FEMA and DHS during
Katrina, we are left concerned that as another witness notes, “It is not clear in the NRF who will
be in charge of coordinating the federal response; in fact it contradicts the Post-Katrina Act.” This
year this subcommittee has already had occasion to examine the chain of command issue as it
relates to the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), a FEMA official, and the Principal Federal
Official (PFO) who works for DHS. We concluded the PFO position in DHS was duplicative and
caused confusion in the field. The subcommittee subsequently asked the Appropriations
Committee to prevent funds from being used for the PFO positions and the House did so. The
Senate DHS appropriation is as yet unfinished.

When Congress enacted the Post-Katrina Act, it wrote in by statute one Coordinating Federal
Officer, who must have emergency management experience and must be the disaster response
official. The provision was written with the clear intent to provide the President, through the FEMA
Administrator, with direct emergency management consultation to avoid delay in response to a
disaster. If the PFO, who is not required to have emergency background and is the representative
of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is to be the advisor to the Secretary in
a disaster, as the NRF plan states, the plan would contravene the Act.

We are mindful of the difficulty of putting together a document so ambitious in its mandate that it
is named a “National Response Framework.” We must expect that any such document would
incur some criticism. However, we are deeply troubled that the critiques of the plan we are
receiving go to the congressional mandate in the Post-Katrina Act itself, suggesting that the
Department “just doesn‟t get it,” or does not want to get it. We will listen carefully and objectively
to testimony from the administration and particularly to their defense against the caustic criticism
of the experts. However, we are a democratic nation of laws, and no executive branch agency,
including the Department of Homeland Security, gets to pick and choose which laws to follow. We
do not intend to forget that the reason Hurricane Katrina response was such a disaster was in no
small part because of the lack of a coherent plan for marshalling the resources available locally,
at the state level and at the federal level.

Katrina was a dress rehearsal for the next disaster that this country may face, whether man-made
or natural. This subcommittee, in its role of oversight, intends to work closely with FEMA and
DHS to do whatever proves necessary to ensure that the congressional mandates of the Post-
Katrina Management Act of 2006 are implanted as written into law. Under no circumstances will
this subcommittee abrogate its responsibility to ensure that in the next disaster response there is
full accountability.

Again we appreciate the time and effort that went into the National Response Framework and
look forward to the testimony of the government and expert panel.




For Immediate Release Contact:
Doxie A. McCoy
October 4, 2007 (202) 225-8050, (202) 225-8143-cell
    Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the       12
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
      support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.
 This service is brought to in cooperation with the International Association of Emergency
Managers (IAEM). If you‟re interested in learning more about IAEM, please visit our website
                                  at: http://www.iaem.com/

Doxie.mccoy@mail.house.gov
Web Site: http://www.norton.house.gov

Norton Calls on FEMA and DHS to Honor Public Comment Commitment on Controversial
Plan for National Disasters

Washington, DC-The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released a
letter Norton wrote to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator R. David
Paulison, requesting a 30-day extension of the period for public comment on requirements in the
National Response Framework (NRF), a plan to make the country safe in the event of natural or
terrorist disasters, after the agency declined to give assurances that Paulison would honor his
commitment to extend the comment period. In the letter, Norton formally requested that FEMA
extend the public comment period, set to end a week from today, an additional 30 days. Quoting
from a September 11th hearing, Norton, chair of the subcommittee on Economic Development,
Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, challenged Paulison to honor the commitment he
made at the subcommittee hearing to extend the comment period if comments were still coming
in. FEMA already has received a record number of public comments on the plan.

During the hearing there was blistering criticism of the Framework from experts, state and local
emergency managers, and academic witnesses, raising serious, unanswered questions that still
must be settled. Of special concern, was criticism that the NRF ignores the important role of on-
the-ground first responders who must implement the plan in the event of disasters. Norton wrote,
"Considering the wholesale criticism of the document before and since, our Committee was
surprised to learn that neither FEMA nor the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on its own,
sought to respond to the criticisms by welcoming more public participation through the comment
process. The importance of the document to the nation and respect for the affected public
demand every effort to be responsive to public concerns."

As a result of issues and problems raised at the hearing, Norton subsequently asked the General
Accountability Office to review and analyze the NRF, particularly whether the document follows
the requirements outlined in the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. In
response to the failures of Hurricane Katrina, Congress mandated that DHS develop a
comprehensive framework for federal response in a major disaster.




   Disclaimer: The information included in this document does not necessarily represent the    13
   opinions of the editor of this document or IAEM. Steve Detwiler or IAEM do not endorse or
     support any agency, organization, or company that posts or distributes this document.

				
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