Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relatively not long time ago, in 2003. However, the agency’s poorly curated responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other subsequent disasters are believed to be connected with the agency’s affiliation with the Department of Homeland Security. This essay will discuss whether FEMA should stay in DHS or return to its functioning as a stand-alone agency.
Should Federal Emergency Management Agency Stay in Department of Homeland Security?
Firstly, the concerns about FEMA’s return to the form of a stand-alone agency are sourced in the population’s dissatisfaction with the uncertain distribution of responsibilities between agencies. Therefore, in cases of emergency management, the population experiences trouble in defining which instructions to follow. Thus, the lack of transparency and clear delineation of responsibilities between the FEMA and DHS agencies results in confusion for the population and other stakeholders.
Furthermore, FEMA’s responses to emergency situations under the DHS’s control lack decision-making flexibility, negatively affecting the overall quality of assistance provided to the population. Fast reaction to changing conditions presents the essential component of response in cases of natural disasters. FEMA’s stay under DHS control allows investments from the federal budget. Therefore, in addition to organizational issues, financing also plays an important role in the discussion. However, the increased budgeting of FEMA resulted did not have significant positive results as the agency improperly spent a significant part of the federal budget on responses to undersized natural disasters. Thus, it is likely that organizational issues within the work of two agencies present the resource of FEMA’s insufficient work.
In conclusion, I think that losing a significant part of its power in decision-making to DHS hindered FEMA’s working process. FEMA’s work and ability to provide a proper response to natural disasters deteriorated after the agency was affiliated with DHS. Therefore, I believe that organizational issues between the two agencies substantially contribute to the problem. Thus, FEMA should be separated from DHS’s control to function as an independent federal agency.