Here's a question, and not a rhetorical one.
This column in yesterday's Post says that FEMA is being "systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security." Later it says: "This year it was announced that FEMA is to 'officially' lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission."
It's a revealing piece. So, by all means, read the whole thing. Also see this much-linked article in Editor & Publisher by Will Bunch, which explores this and related issues.
But back to my question, which is, how was the chain of command for dealing with natural disasters and the operational ability of FEMA different last week than it was exactly four years ago (not an arbitrary number, since 9/11 led to many of the institutional changes in question) or eight years ago? There's no magic of course in those four capital letters. If FEMA and its responsibilities are being replaced by something else, then let's put that in the mix too. Nor should we forget that at least the concept, if not the execution, of consolidating various agencies into a new Department of Homeland Security had broad bipartisan support.
I'm not looking for rants. I'd like to get information that is as concrete and specific as possible. If you've seen an article that lays it out well, let me know. If you have expertise in this issue, I'd very much like to hear from you.
I've set up a thread here to discuss this. But if you have specific information I'd greatly appreciate if you can contact me directly as well.