Multiple Problems With Framework
The Disaster Accountability Project (DAP) on Monday will submit to the Department of Homeland Security comments on the recently proposed National Response Framework (NRF).
Linda Lewis, DAP Policy Analyst and long-time Federal emergency planner/whistle-blower and Ben Smilowitz, DAP Director and former manager of a Red Cross Client Service Center in Gulfport, MS immediately following Hurricane Katrina say that:
• "The NRF inadequately considers the needs of non-English speakers who may be foreign visitors or immigrants... Make the draft NRF readily available in Spanish and other languages spoken by a substantial portion of the population"
• "Make civil service positions less vulnerable to political pressures from above by embracing meaningful whistle-blower protections for all emergency managers, including those with security clearances; and provide an effective and supportive mechanism for receiving disclosures of inadequacies in emergency planning, exercising and response."
• " 'Framework' is indeed a more accurate name for this product ; but it is not entirely accurate. What is needed is a different product - a plan, not a name change."
• "The description of the FEMA Director and DHS Secretary's responsibilities conflicts with requirements of the Post Katrina Reform Act."
• "Shifting NRF implementation to the DHS Secretary is not consistent with the intent of Congress as described in the Post Katrina Reform Act...The head of FEMA and not the DHS Secretary should be in charge of coordinating federal emergency response."
• "Some ESF functions may be inappropriately combined, partitioned or privatized."
• "Not all 'lessons learned' are publicly reported or followed up with changes to plans. For example, as TOPOFF 4 prepares to being, the TOPOFF III after-action report still has not been issued."
• "Federal exercises frequently ignore recovery or give it lip service if addressed at all... Ensure that adequate exercise time is allowed to cover long-term recovery issues in reasonable detail."
• "Logic suggests that the FEMA Administrator would be the coordinator of the federal response, not the DHS Secretary's advisor... The roles of the FEMA Director and Director of Operations Coordination appear to conflict, calling to mind post-Katrina confusion."
The Disaster Accountability Project provides accountability and oversight to the nation's disaster prevention, response, relief, and recovery systems through monitoring and policy research.
The Disaster Accountability Project's website is http://www.DisasterAccountability.org
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