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Ditch DHS?

Ditch, as in crash it into the ocean, or drive it into a roadside ditch?

I think it has now been years since I saw an article that proposed taking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was a frequent refrain, especially right after Hurricane Katrina revealed issues at FEMA.

Now today, courtesy of Claire Rubin sharing the link, there is this article: Dismantle the Department of Homeland Security.

It is a familiar refrain that critiques each of the divisions that makes up DHS and finds them wanting (although the Coast Guard was not singled out — they could use new icebreakers!). 

My reason to share the article here is not so much as to recruit converts to a cause, as it is to familiarize newer emergency managers to how the department came to be. I can tell you that the start of the new department was very rough. They were disorganized and did not even have the basics for what they needed to function. I mean computers, offices, office supplies, etc. Those early days were chaotic by any measure.

If I were to point one finger at a single element for a failure to produce much, if anything, it would be Science and Technology, which no one seems to love. Its demise has been predicted more than once, but it is still alive.

The only thing harder to do than to start a new agency or program, is the effort to eliminate the program or agency. 

Love them or hate them, DHS is here today.

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.