Talk:Federal Emergency Management Agency

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About "cronyism" : You might also want to visit 525 Reasons' website. Before the 2004 election, some folks came up with a whopper of a list.

That may be a good idea. I do think that categorizing the types of cronyism would be helpful, as one concern I have is that we are dealing with several types of cronyism based on "reward" and "benefit". The consequences of those different types of cronyism are quite different.

One type attaches to token or ceremonial appointments for political supporters, which is an expected and common practice.

but can be applied with more concern for integrity and aptitude however, at least by anybody other than the spoiled idiot son.

Another attaches to political favors -- you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours stuff. This shows up, obviously, in appropriations for pet projects locally or regionally. Again, not an unusual practice.

Another attaches to profiteering and favoritism, for example non-competing awards of contracts with a guaranteed profit margin. Although this is also not unusual in practice, the Bush administration appears to have taken it to a whole new level.

This latter has raised the hackles of conspiracy theorists who follow the problem-solution-profit/benefit way of seeing things. I have to admit there is a lot of validity to some of that thinking. 9/11 and the war in Iraq are others obvious examples. How convenient that the same old, same old Halliburton, KBR, etc. group gets fatter and richer with each and every "disaster" or "war", not forgetting all the happy members of the military-industrial complex. And the prison-industrial complex is certain to benefit again this time, as well.

Then, we have this most recent situation whereby the cronyism has led to appointments within the administration for a variety of "paybacks". However, it has also resulted in a "brain drain" and loss of expertise which normally flows from administration to administration with careerists. The filling of slots with incompetents who are either acting or temporary personnel has led to the gutting of government agencies of both personnel and financial allocations. This, in turn, has led to gross incompetence and lack of resources to get the job done and poor-to-non performance of everyday government functions, not to mention a very long list of other consequences, many of which the US has been made startlingly aware since HK.

Elizabeth Becker, "Brookings Study Calls Homeland Security Plans Too Ambitious," New York Times (usenet post), July 14, 2005.

WASHINGTON, July 13 Adding to a growing list of Congressional concerns about domestic security, a study released today warns that the president's plan for a new Department of Homeland Security is too ambitious and could create more problems than it solves.
The report by the Brookings Institution recommends a pared-down department concentrating on border and transportation security, intelligence and threat analysis, and protecting the country's infrastructure.
The report echoes criticism by lawmakers who began their scrutiny of the proposal this week.
In a letter to the White House, Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and David R. Obey of Wisconsin, both Democrats, wrote this week that the president's new department would have far-flung responsibilities like administering the National Flood Insurance Program, cleaning up oil spills at sea and eradicating the boll weevil.
That, the lawmakers said, could dilute the department's mission to fight terrorism and "risks bloating the size of the bureaucracy."
For similar reasons, the eight Brookings scholars and former government officials argued in their study today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should remain separate from the new department.
The authors praised FEMA for emerging as one of the most effective arms of the federal government after years of "determined effort" helping victims of major disasters like floods, fires and hurricanes.
"Fortunately, terrorist attacks are rare, but you can count on national disasters every year right now there are floods in Texas, fires in Arizona so why should the Department of Homeland Security be pulled away from its mission and worry constantly about those disasters?" asked James M. Lindsay, an author of the study, "Assessing the Department of Homeland Security."
The study also recommended that Congress delay deciding whether to include scientific and technological research on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear countermeasures against terrorist attacks.
"The proposal put on the table is too big; it needs to focus on just those functions directly related to homeland security like the Coast Guard, customs, intelligence analysis and protecting public and private infrastructure that doesn't really exist today," said Ivo H. Daalder, another author of the study and a former member of the National Security Council.
The White House rejected most of the study's recommendations, saying the president was committed to a department that "looks at homeland security in total," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the Office of Homeland Security.
"Our mission is not only to prevent against attacks but to respond to them, and FEMA is the response mechanism in the government," Mr. Johndroe said.
But that assertion underlines another major dispute in this argument over what could be the largest government reorganization in 50 years.
The president has yet to unveil the government's strategy for fighting terrorism at home. Members of Congress say it is hard to devise a new department without knowing the strategy it is meant to pursue.
Tom Ridge, the director of homeland security, promised the strategy would be ready this month.
Senior government officials said the president was reviewing the document and hoped to release it this month.
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company