There is no doubt that the changes implemented by the Incident Command System structure in JFOs around the country, have greatly increased FEMA’s emergency and immediate response capabilities.
However, in the eyes of many, the possible over emphasis on a strict ICS model has negatively affected the traditional grants programs by adding staff, expenses and have diluted communications with the Command and General Staff.
FEMA’s core three programs are the most politically sensitive, survivor centric, complicated, expensive, largest elements of FEMA and are essential to our mission. I would suggest, they have been hindered by the current JFO structure.
The following proposed reorganization would create more natural and functional Sections that would benefit both the recovery and the immediate response efforts of FEMA and our partners. In addition, it would re-establish the direct interface between the three traditional FEMA Programs and the Command and General Staff that had worked well for over 30 years.
1. Create an Emergency Services Section that includes:
a. Mass Care Branch
b. Disaster Communications Branch
c. Emergency Services Branch
d. Geographic Branch
e. DSA Branch
2. Elevate the Three FEMA Programs to Sections and report directly to the FCO
a. IA Section
b. PA Section
c. Mitigation Section
3. Create a Support Section that includes:
a. Financial Services Branch
b. Logistics Branch
I suggest that these proposals would lead to a more natural grouping of functions and operational viewpoints and decrease costs.