Disaster Policy and Politics document your I&R (Implications and Reflections) derived from your reading assignments. Sylves chapter 4 & Koenig chapter 12.

Disaster Policy and Politics document your I&R (Implications and Reflections) derived from your reading assignments. Sylves chapter 4 & Koenig chapter 12. ( summary of two chapters ). Disaster Policy and Politics
Disaster Policy and Politics
Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Richard Sylves
George Washington University
University of Delaware (Emeritus)
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Sylves, Richard Terry.
Disaster policy and politics: emergency management and homeland security / Richard
Sylves, George Washington University. – Second Edition.
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4833-0781-7 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Emergency management–United States. 2. Intergovernmental cooperation–United
States. I. Title.
HV551.3.S95 2015
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
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Tables, Figures, and Boxes
About the Author
Chapter 1. Disaster Management in the United States
Chapter 2. Disaster Management and Theories of Public Policy and
Chapter 3. Historical Trends in Disaster Management
Chapter 4. Understanding Disaster Policy through Presidential
Disaster Declarations
Chapter 5. The Role of Scientists and Engineers
Chapter 6. Intergovernmental Relations in Disaster Policy
Chapter 7. Civil-Military Relations and National Security
Chapter 8. Globalization of Disasters
Chapter 9. Recovery Assistance: September 11th Victim
Compensation Fund Versus Conventional Relief
Chapter 10. Conclusions and the Future
Appendix A. Alphabetical List of Nations Pledging or Offering Aid
to the United States after Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Appendix B. Pledges from International Organizations to Hurricane
Katrina Relief, 2005 and CNN Report on Offers of Aid from Nations
to the United States
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
1-1 Common Needs of Stakeholders and Participants in Disaster
Recovery 15
2-1 Public Management Models 32
3-1 Federal Emergency Management Organizations 65
4-1 Presidential Approvals and Turndowns of Governor Requests for
Disaster Declarations, May 1953–January 2013 118
6-1 Emergency Support Function Teams and Emergency Support
Function Coordinators 172
7-1 Urban Area Security Initiative Federal Funding in Fiscal Year
2012 210
9-1 Comparison of the Conventional and Master Models 259
3-1 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Organizational Chart 83
4-1 The Declaration Process 104
6-1 States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, by Respective
Federal Emergency Management Agency Standard Federal Region
6-2 Organization of the National Response Framework from a U.S.
Department of Homeland Security Perspective 174
6-3 Incident Command Structure/National Incident Management
System Structure 176
6-4 Joint Field Office 177
6-5 Incident Command System Structure 178
6-6 Multiagency Coordination Systems in Brief 180
6-7 National Incident Management System Framework—All Levels
Chapter 1
Multiagency and Multijurisdiction Coordination 16
The Matter of Disaster Insurance 18
Chapter 2
To Be or Not to Be a Profession 34
The Cuban Missile Crisis and Bureaucratic Politics Theory 36
National Disaster Recovery Framework 48
Chapter 3
Too Many Different Players? 64
“Civilianizing” the Federal Emergency Management Agency? 68
The CNN Effect 70
Whither the Federal Emergency Management Agency? 86
Chapter 4
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Assistance
Relief Programs 94
Anomalous Problems Invite New Declaration Precedents 102
The Presidential Disaster Declaration Process in Brief 104
Presidents, News, and Public Relations 106
Vague Criteria and Political Subjectivity 116
Overwhelmed or Over Budget? 120
Two Competing Models of Political Behavior 122
Chapter 5
Fighting and Preparing to Fight Great Oil Spills as a Marine and
Environmental Science Challenge 134
The Boston Marathon Bombing, Social Media, and Mass Casualty
Preparation (2013) 138
Northeast Japan’s Great Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Plant as a Compound Disaster (2011) 140
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National
Severe Storms Laboratory 146
Chapter 6
The Boulder County Floods of September 2013 156
Revisiting Who Gets What under a Presidential Declaration 164
The Bridge to Gretna Incident as a Failure of Intergovernmental
Disaster Management? 168
Key Concepts of the National Incident Management System 179
A Short Return to Presidential Declarations 183
The Politics and Preferences of Volunteer Organizations 188
Chapter 7
State Emergency Management and State Militaries 200
Rise of the Security Military-Industrial Complex 204
The National Terrorism Advisory System 207
Homeland Security Grant Programs 208
Chapter 8
The Katrina Case and Foreign Assistance 226
Typhoon Haiyan and USAID 232
Chapter 10
Terrorism Risk Insurance Act? 272
Disasters and emergencies challenge people and their governments.
Americans routinely want to know how government officials performed
during and after events such as the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001; Hurricane
Katrina in 2005; the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill in
2010; the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri tornadoes of 2011;
Superstorm Sandy and the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado events in 2013; and
the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. They are also increasingly curious
about how government provides post-disaster assistance, helps prevent
future disasters and emergencies, and of late, how government goes about
finding the money to pay for disaster response and recovery. This book is
written for those interested in disaster policy, politics, and emergency
Disasters affect people and society in a great many ways. As disaster
sociologist Dennis Mileti insists, disasters stem from more than simply
“unexpected events.” Disasters result from somewhat predictable interactions of the physical environment (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods,
drought, tornadoes, and so on), the social and demographic characteristics
of the localities that experience them (population, population density,
education levels of inhabitants, economic level of development, social
systems in place, and the like), and the durability and resilience of the
constructed or built environment (such as buildings, bridges, roads,
housing, and utility infrastructure).1 Yet disasters also challenge the
operation, resilience, competence, and responsiveness of government as a
political system.
In the United States, disaster, whether from natural forces or human cause,
has long had its own public policy and politics. The roots of this nation’s
disaster policy in part reside in the U.S. Constitution itself. Likewise,
disasters for America have long had political implications for its
government leaders, up to and including the president. What is more
difficult for many to grasp is that humans are capable of producing
disasters. Terrorism, failures of technology, and tolerated vulnerability to
natural forces mean that disaster may in whole or in part be the result of
human behavior. Second, owing to the national security relevance of
disaster, stemming from public and official fears about the threat of
nuclear attack in the past and the threat of terrorism in recent years,
political actors shape people’s conceptions of what a disaster is. That is,
government officials and policymakers are in many respects coming to
define, sometimes in concert with the news media, what disasters are and
what constitutes a disaster or a disaster threat.
Consequently, as this second edition posits, in some ways disasters and
emergencies are politically and socially “constructed” in the minds of the
polity, particularly by those capable of influencing public opinion and
public perceptions.2 Complicating this further is the realization that global
forces evident in climate change, as well as the threats posed by newly
understood forces as immense as plate tectonics, earthquakes, and
volcanoes, are confronting humankind with new types of survival
Disaster policy overlaps and interweaves parts of other policy domains.
One of the reasons disaster policy and politics defy easy explanation is that
although seemingly episodic and rare, disasters and emergencies affect
almost every other domain of public policy (defense, health, social
welfare, housing and urban development, labor, agriculture, commerce,
education, environmental protection, transportation, energy, criminal
justice, and others). Since the era of deadly domestic terror attacks
emerged, disaster policy and emergency management have been fused to,
and some claim subsumed under, homeland security policy and national
Policy study,5 so often conducted in other policy domains, furnishes a
useful tool one may use to make sense of the politics and management of
past disasters. It helps one to anticipate and predict government’s response
and reactions in the aftermath of disasters. The long-term evolution of the
field of emergency management in general, and the rise of homeland
security, has attracted the attention of scholars and students. Teachers and
researchers have been drawn to the subject by a seemingly accelerated
increase in the frequency and intensity of disasters, as well as by growing
sources of information about disaster phenomena of many types. On top of
this, the growth of a keenly interested audience comprised of both the
general public and college students has not escaped notice. Many among
the general public anticipate that if they have not already been a victim
survivor of disaster, they may well be one in the future; so why not
become better informed and prepare? Recent generations of students of
higher education are drawn to the subject of disaster by their interest in
worthy humanitarian service and potential employment as an emergency
management professional.
This second edition, much as in the first, contains both descriptive and
theoretic material. Authors of every good textbook craft their works in a
manner that educates and presents both facts and ideas. Good texts elicit
thought, criticism, discussion, interpretation, and creation of new
knowledge by their readers. This author hopes the second edition evokes
these responses and that facts presented here will be a basis for idea
building. This study may serve as a crucible in which the perspectives,
experience, insightfulness, and expertise of readers, including teachers and
students, launches discussion, debate, exchange of thought, and pathways
to further study. The text is “not” a manual of practice doctrine, but it does
present information about the conduct of disaster policy and how it has
changed over time. Similarly, it is about some of the dynamic operational
side of emergency management or as some would call it disaster policy
implementation. Much of disaster policy and politics is about political,
social, ethical, and economic values. In many though not all respects,
values are open to individual and group interpretation. This study will
make this apparent, but it will also allow readers to reason out problems
such that they are invited to draw their own conclusions, which may vary
from individual to individual to some degree.
Because emergency management fundamentally involves coordinated
activity, and because much of this coordination work involves oversight
and operational management of officials working at different levels of
government and in different public and private settings, intergovernmental
relations theory and analysis are most appropriate in disaster study. In
addition, the framework of intergovernmental relations helps one
appreciate that the definition of disaster is dynamic and is particularly
influenced by political actors and forces.
Much has changed since the first edition of this book was published in
March 2008. At the time, Democrat and Republican presidential hopefuls
were in their thick of respective state party primary seasons. Months later
Senator Barack Obama won out in his Democratic Party primary
competition with Hillary Clinton and became the 2008 Democratic Party
presidential nominee. When the general election was held in November
2008, Barack Obama outpolled his Republican opponent, Senator John
McCain. Inaugurated in mid-January 2009, President Obama went on to
confront one of the nation’s worst and longest economic downturns since
the Great Depression of the 1930s. The failure of huge banks and
investment firms, and the collapse of the U.S. housing market, helped
drive up unemployment and poverty levels. This environment had an
effect on President Obama’s approach to the management of disaster.
This second edition builds on core material of the first edition but does so
in a way that incorporates what has transpired in the realm of U.S. disaster
management since 2008. New cases have been added and outdated cases
have been replaced. The second edition has three central purposes. First,
the volume covers the period 2008 through 2013 but in a manner that does
not overlook the importance of disaster policy and emergency
management from 1950 to 2008, covered in the first edition. Second, this
work incorporates essentials of published political, administrative, and
theory analyses conducted between 2008 and 2013. Third, this version was
field-tested in graduate courses the author taught at the George
Washington University (GWU) and University of Delaware (UD).
Moreover, colleagues and students at other universities who read and used
the first edition were kind in offering feedback and suggestions for
improvements in the second edition. My aim here is to produce improved
and updated scholarship in the form of a worthy textbook.
Major Themes of Disaster Policy and Politics
The approach to disaster study taken in this book is through the study of
public policy analysis, organizational management, and leadership. The
book is thematic, intended to guide students through a wealth of material
by employing a simple analytic framework and set of themes to help
students in organizing the details and connecting them to larger concepts.
Taken together, the framework and its concepts provide students with
ways to understand and study disaster policy and politics.
The analytic framework focuses on the challenges presented in achieving
effective intergovernmental relations across levels of government and
through all-hazards emergency management. All-hazards emergency
management saves us from a serial chapter-by-chapter study of
earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, terrorism, and so on. Within the
framework are four themes, which are threads within in each chapter of the
The first theme concerns emergency management in the United States.
Most people associate disaster policy with the emergency responder
occupational groups they have come to know and trust: firefighters, law
enforcement, and emergency medical personnel. Public emergency
management continues to rely on the support and contributions of these
essential occupational specialties, but emergency management both
includes and extends well beyond these occupational specialists.
Emergency management appears to be the “application” side of disaster
policy. Although this is true, emergency managers also contribute to
problem identification, agenda building, policy formulation, and policy
A second theme is that disaster policy and politics constitute a worthy field
of academic study. Disaster research has long been part of many academic
disciplines. This book draws from political science and public
administration. Secondarily it draws from disaster sociology and
economics theory to demonstrate how disaster research has become a force
in shaping disaster policy. Disaster researchers have become part of the
politics of disaster in the United States. Disaster researchers continue to
make both major and minor contributions to our understanding of disasters
as political, social, economic, and physical phenomena. They have also
advanced knowledge and understanding of human-caused and natural
disaster forces. They have helped prevent or mitigate the effects of forces
capable of producing disasters and they have used science and technology
to forecast, monitor, track, and measure natural forces so that people
around the world have been given advanced warning of disaster threats.
Scientific, engineering, and particularly communications advances since
2008 have been remarkable. Emergency management continues its
maturation into a profession, and those seeking to learn the profession are
pressed to master it through interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary
education. Just as in the first edition, this revamped work has been
developed for educational purposes more than simply “training” purposes.
As a product of academic inquiry, information and observations offered in
this book are intended to begin, not end, discussion, research, and
knowledge creation.
The third theme involves management again but at the level of the elected
executive. Presidents, governors, mayors, county executives, and city
managers are major players in times of disaster and emergency. Past and
present modes of intergovernmental relations in disaster management are
examined and assessed from their vantage point. Presidents and the
presidency itself occupy a central position in U.S. disaster policy and
politics. How presidents lead, manage federal officials, cope with the news
media, address federal-state relations, act on governors’ requests for
disaster and emergency assistance, define policy agendas, and choose
political appointees for responsible posts all contribute to their ability to
address the demands imposed by disasters and catastrophes. In many
respects political, policy, and managerial decisions made by presidents and
their administrations before a disaster significantly affect the ability of
federal, state, and local government to mitigate, prepare for, and respond
to disasters and emergencies. An overview of the tools of federal, state,
and local interchange in disaster management is presented, as are several
theories that provide a suggested course for analyzing the presidentgovernor relationships that underlie presidential decisions to declare
disasters. Since 2008 when the first edition went to press, the roles of
presidents and governors in disaster politics and policy have been the
subject of considerable academic and professional inquiry. This new
edition extracts and blends in the findings of this executive focused
The fourth theme of the book involves civil-military relations and
homeland security. In the United States, the military is an instrument of
federal and state government and has long played a role in disaster
management, usually in the emergency preparedness and response phases.
Since 1950, when mo…
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