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Which Direction Is Criswell Taking FEMA?

There are a number of new initiatives.

If you want a taste of the initiatives that Deanne Criswell is implementing and getting support for, just read this article: “FEMA Sees Greater Need for Private-Sector Partnerships in COVID-19 Supply Chain Lessons.”

Thre is a lot more there than supply chain improvements. The list includes:
  • More money for FEMA ($1.9 billion)
  • More staffing (14 percent more) for FEMA
  • More emphasis on cybersecurity (10 people)
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce
  • Using a social vulnerability index and integrating social vulnerability data into decision-making
  • Assessing future risk and not basing it on historical risk (climate change impacts)

More money and more staffing is always good, since the agency staff are already dog-tired from being shifted from one disaster to the next. But, and it is a big “but,” it won’t be possible to get ahead of the increasing number and severity of disasters — along with the federalization of disaster response. Everyone — governments, businesses and citizens — is looking for people with “FEMA” on their shirts and coats at the disaster scene.

It is going to be increasingly hard for FEMA to match up to people’s expectations.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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