April 15, 1998 Panel Discussion

FEMA's Capability Assessment for Readiness


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Kay C. Goss
Robert P. Fletcher
James T. Opoka
Chris Coudriet

Avagene Moore, EIIP Coordinator
Amy Sebring, EIIP

Related Sites:
CAR Executive Summary
CAR Full Report (.pdf file, 4013K)


EIIP Virtual Forum Panel Discussion
Wednesday - April 15, 1998 - 12:00 Noon EDT

FEMA's Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR)

Featured Panelists:

Kay C. Goss, CEM, Associate Director
Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate, FEMA Headquarters

Robert P. Fletcher, Jr., Director
State and Local Preparedness Division, Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate, FEMA Headquarters

James Opoka, Program Specialist
State and Local Assistance Branch, FEMA Region V PT&E

Chris Coudriet, Natural Hazards Planning
North Carolina Division of Emergency Preparedness

Avagene Moore, EIIP Coordinator, Moderator

The panel discussion of FEMA's Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR) was opened with an overview by Kay C. Goss, CEM, FEMA Associate Director for the Preparedness, Training and Exercises Directorate. The CAR provides public accountability in the emergency management system. The CAR was implemented within each State and Territory during Fiscal Year 1997 and is a joint FEMA and NEMA endeavor..

Bob Fletcher, Division Chief for State and Local Preparedness, detailed the overall purpose of the CAR and the 13 emergency management functions or program elements that serve as its focus. James Opoka, FEMA Region V, discussed his region's experience with the CAR and Region V States' reaction to the assessment tool. Chris Coudriet, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, briefly detailed how his state modified the CAR for delivery at the local government level. This resulted in the Emergency Management System Capability Assessment (EMSCA) which has been beta tested in several North Carolina counties. The EMSCA is promoted as a process for improving local programs and building professionalism.

The CAR Panel session had an audience of 50 people. Questions from the audience were primarily directed to Bob Fletcher, FEMA PT&E. The audience asked about the cost of the program, tying the CAR to strategic/performance planning, the implications of emergency management standards, and how local emergency managers can/will be involved in the assessment instrument for local programs. The questions and comments of the session participants conveyed the need for more communication and dialogue about the CAR.


Associate Director
Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate
FEMA Headquarters

Kay Goss is President Clinton's appointee as Associate Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of the Preparedness, Training and Exercises Directorate.

Confirmed by the United States Senate on September 23, 1994, and the first female to serve as Associate Director, Kay is responsible for building State and local emergency preparedness capability through the development of plans and procedures; training of Federal, State and local emergency managers in mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery functions; and testing personnel, plans, procedures, and equipment through a nationwide program of exercises. Also responsible for the Mount Weather Emergency Assistance Center, the Emergency Management Institute, Industrial and International Partnerships, the Radiological Emergency Preparedness, The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness and the Emergency Food and Shelter Programs. Kay Goss also serves as the Chair of the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board, as a member of the President's Interagency Council on Women, as a member of the President's Interagency Council on Homeless, as well as a member of the National Security Steering Group (NSSG).

Kay is leading the effort to save lives and protect property through more effective partnerships for preparedness at all levels of government, as well as with business and industry and international authorities, including service as co-chair of the Joint U.S.-Russian Committee on Emergencies. Kay also serves on the National Advisory Committee of the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado, Boulder; on the Executive Committee of the Vice President's Global Disaster Information Network project; on the Government Relations Committee of the Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation; The National Advisory Board of The Fire and Emergency Management Program at Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, and The Advisory Council of the Emergency Administration and Management Program at Arkansas Tech University at Russellvile. She served as Co-Chair of the U.S. Senior Interagency Coordination Group for Terrorism 1996-1998.

Kay, a native of Arkansas, received a B.A. and M.A. in political science and public administration from the University of Arkansas, completed a doctoral program in public administration, except for the dissertation, at West Virginia University, with additional studies at Northwest Missouri State University, San Diego State University, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Her earliest professional experience was as a college professor of government, political science, geography, history and sociology, at Westark Community College in Fort Smith and the University of Arkansas, both at Fayetteville and Little Rock. She also served as an adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, primarily teaching classes in Arkansas Government and Politics.

Kay's past experience spans the national, state and local levels of government and includes legislative and administrative responsibilities for three members of Congress- The Honorable Ray Thornton, Patricia Schroeder, and Wilbur D. Mills. Kay's state experience includes research in a constitutional revision study commission and two state constitutional conventions, coordinating a legislative study on school finance, serving as Chief Deputy Auditor of State, and finally serving for almost twelve years in the Arkansas Governor's Office as Senior Assistant for Intergovernmental Relations. In that capacity, she had primary responsibilities for liaison work with the State Office of Emergency Services, first responders and State and local emergency managers. Her local experience includes serving as a Project coordinator for the Association of Arkansas Counties.

Kay has served on the Executive Council of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government Alumni Association and as President of the Arkansas Political Science Association and of the PI Sigma Alpha Fraternity at University or Arkansas, Little Rock. Currently, she serves on the Boards of the Opera Company of Boston, the Wilbur D. Mills Memorial Foundation, the Wilbur D. Mills Treatment Center for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and the Arkansas Women's History Institute. She also serves as a member of the Career Services Advisory Board of the Kennedy School, chaired by Dean Joseph Nye, and the Kennedy School's Washington Area Regional Alumni Council.

She has written several books and articles on national, state and local government, including Wilbur D. Mills: The People's Congressman, The Arkansas Constitution: A Reference Guide, The City Manager Plan in Arkansas, and Political Paradox: Constitutional Revision in Arkansas.

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Director, State and Local Preparedness Division
Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate
FEMA Headquarters

Mr. Fletcher was selected as the Director, State and Local Preparedness Division in the Preparedness, Training and Exercise Directorate of FEMA Headquarters in December of 1993.

His current responsibilities include management of State and Local Assistance grants under the FEMA Performance Partnership Agreement as well as development of planning guidance and technical assistance for State and local government for all-hazards . His division has developed such publications as the Compendium of Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management and the State and Local All-hazards Planning Guidance. He represents FEMA on the NFPA 1600 Technical Standards Committee for development of Emergency Management Standards and recently managed the completion of the first Capability Assessment for Readiness(CAR) report for the United States. The CAR is a comprehensive self-assessment of all states and territories for all hazards. Bob is the FEMA representative to the Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership which developed the Internet website EMFORUM.ORG for use by all interested in emergency management information exchange. His division was designated by Director James Lee Witt as a FEMA Reinvention Mini-lab as part of the President's reinventing government initiative.

In his prior assignment he lead the development and publication of the Federal Response Plan signed by 28 Federal Departments and Agencies as the operational concept for Federal response operations under the Stafford Act. Bob has served as the FEMA HQ Emergency Support Team Director on several major disaster operations and as the Chief of Staff on the FEMA National Emergency Response Team for Hurricane Marilyn in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Prior to his assignment in FEMA, Bob served in the Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers. While in that capacity, he was responsible for the emergency programs of the Corps, including domestic emergencies, national security emergency preparedness, readiness exercises and emergency preparedness training. Prior to that, he worked in both the Baltimore and Norfolk Districts of Corps of Engineers, in engineering, civil design and civil projects management.

He holds a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a Masters in Engineering Administration from George Washington University. He attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in National Security Programs (1989) and in State and Local Programs (1996). He has been twice awarded the Department of the Army Decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service as well as the FEMA Meritorious Service Award.

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Emergency Management Program Specialist
Preparedness, Training and Exercises Division
State and Local Assistance Branch
FEMA Region V

Jim Opoka is the Regional Performance Partnership Agreement/Cooperative Agreement (PPA/CA) Management Administrator for FEMA Region V in Chicago, Illinois. He has been with FEMA for ten years and has worked primarily in the Response and Recovery Division and the State and Local Assistance Branch within the Preparedness, Training & Exercises Division, respectively.

Jim has extensive disaster response experience at the Federal, State, and local level, and currently serves as the Information and Planning Section Chief on the National Emergency Response Team (ERT-N). Prior to joining FEMA, Jim served as a Planning Specialist with the Mid-America Chapter of the American Red Cross in Chicago, Illinois.

Jim holds both Associates and Bachelors Degrees in Criminal Justice and a Masters Degree in Safety Engineering. He routinely serves on special planning groups and task forces and most recently was instrumental in developing the FEMA Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR) document. He is currently involved on special projects dealing with strategic planning and emergency management performance standards at the State and local levels.

He and his wife and three sons live in Evergreen Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

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Natural Hazards Planning
North Carolina Division of Emergency Management


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Avagene Moore, CEM

Avagene Moore is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) who served as the Director of Emergency Management for 16 years in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Avagene worked four years (1991-1995) as an Emergency Management Project Manager for the Emergency Management Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities; her responsibilities included the coordination of the Occupational Safety Special Interest Group (OS SIG) for TRADE. She currently runs her own company, Avagene Moore/Professional Management (AM/PM), and serves as Vice President of TEAM Simulations, Inc., of Tallahassee, Florida. As part of her work, Avagene coordinates the Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) for the National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management (NCCEM).

Avagene is a 22-year member of NCCEM. She is a Past President of both NCCEM and the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP) and established her name and credibility with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other Federal agencies and national organizations through speaking engagements, published articles and papers, and testimony before various congressional committees on behalf of NCCEM and the emergency management profession.

Summary of Background/Experience:

Avagene Moore / Professional Management (AM/PM), 10/95 - present
Current Responsibilities as Personal Services Contractor:

  • Write Video Scripts, Training Manuals and Guidance Documents
  • Manage Emergency Information Infrastructure Partners (EIIP) - NCCEM/FEMA
  • Manage and Develop Projects for TEAM Simulations, Inc.
  • Work projects with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 6/91-9/95
Emergency Management Project Manager for the Emergency Management Laboratory; Group Coordinator and Project Manager for Training Resources and Date Exchange (TRADE)

ERP&M, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey 1/91-6/91
Personal Services Contractor:

City of Lawrenceburg, Lawrence County, Tennessee 1975-1990
City/County Emergency Management Director; Chaired Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and 911 Emergency District Board

Professional Affiliations:

National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management (NCCEM)
American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP)
National Association of Female Executives (NAFE)
American Management Association (AMA)
Toastmasters International (TI)
Emergency Management Association of Tennessee (EMAT)

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