March 31, 2009

Disaster Response and Homeland Security

Hurricane Katrina was the most recent in a series of natural disasters that were not well managed. Miskel, a former official at FEMA, observes that when an emergency situation is managed poorly, people tend to blame the individuals or organizations involved. Instead, he asserts that what is needed instead is a broad analysis of disaster response, one that examines the system, network of involved organizations and processes that are used. Miskel offers this kind of analysis by examining large-scale disasters occurring from the 1970's to the present. He points out operational failures that occurred during each and showed the effects that these had on the system, processes, and principles that are in place today. To respond successfully to a disaster, Miskel asserts that three factors must occur: timely and effective coordination between state and federal governments, similar coordination between federal agencies, and coordination between state and local agencies. He suggests that reforms be implemented to bring about that coordination and cooperation, impacting the system, rather than simply initiating change within one of the system participants.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Disaster Response and Homeland Security: What Works, What Doesn't
James F. Miskel
UA 927 .M55 2006