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Pre-Katrina Study Showed Serious FEMA Problems

by Kevin Caruso

February 8, 2006

An independent study, which was conducted before Hurricane Katrina, exposed numerous serious problems in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The 2005 study by the Mitre Corp found inadequate experience in top-level management, poor communication, low morale, inadequate training, insufficient personnel, and insufficient money.

Bottom line: FEMA was not prepared to handle a major disaster.

Ironically, the individual who commissioned the study was Michael Brown, the former director of FEMA who was fired for incompetence about two weeks after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Brown wanted to identify problems in FEMA and fix them.

“I wanted to find out what was causing…those problems so we could fix [them], so that we really could live up to the reputation that we had, because behind the curtain, it wasn't all that pretty,” Brown Senate investigators

“I mean, our logistics just sucked. It was awful,” Brown added.

Look at the statement above one more time and ask yourself, “Didn’t FEMA’s logistics (and everything else) suck (Brown’s word) before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina?”

FEMA apparently learned nothing from the study.

Now, let me give you a few comments from the study:

“No one's in charge. Everybody's in charge.”

“The political appointees don't understand business, can't make policy decisions, and are driven by politics and the latest news clips.”

“If the White House asks, 'Where are the water trucks?' I can't tell them.”

Clearly, FEMA was dysfunctional, to say the least.

Brown even told Senate investigators that FEMA was “fairly dysfunctional.”

Brown also said, “What I wish I had done was, frankly, just either quit earlier or whatever….”

Brown WE ALL with you quit earlier. You failed us all. You are a disgrace.


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