EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — April 11, 2007

The New FEMA
Implications for State and Local Emergency Management

Marko Bourne
Director of Policy and Program Analysis
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us today. On behalf of Avagene and myself, welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum!

Our topic today is "The New FEMA: Implications for State and Local Emergency Managers." Today's program is also co-hosted by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and I will be turning to its President in just a moment to say a few words.

But first, Chip Hines, Program Manager for the Disaster Management eGov program, and with whom Avagene and I have been working for many years, has asked to say a few kind words about the EIIP. We have NOT put him up to it! Chip, if you please.

Chip Hines: Thanks Amy. I’d just like to remind everyone that EIIP got its start in association with FEMA about 10 years ago. I was lucky enough to be part of that effort, and it’s one of the efforts that I will always be proud to have been a part of. The service EIIP and EMFORUM provides to the community is invaluable, and simply isn’t available elsewhere. EIIP’s impact is large: many of you may not know that the transcripts generated in these sessions are downloaded by the thousands, and many people come back and browse through the archives.

My wish for the EIIP is continued growth and success. This is truly an investment in our country’s preparedness, and like education, the long term effects raise the capabilities of the entire nation. Thanks to the EIIP and to FEMA for remaining engaged.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much Chip. It has been our privilege and pleasure to work with you. Chip will be retiring in a couple of months, and although we will miss him, we wish him the very best.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today's special guest. With more than 20 years experience in governmental and legislative affairs, public affairs, marketing, emergency services and emergency management, Marko Bourne was appointed Director of Policy and Program Analysis for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in October 2006. Prior to an intervening period of service in the private sector with Earth Tech Inc./ Tyco International, Mr. Bourne served as Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Incident Management System Integration Center and Deputy Director of FEMA's Preparedness Division. For further biographical details see http://www.emforum.org/vforum/070411.htm.

Now I would like to introduce Michael D. Selves, CEM and current President of IAEM. Mike previously served as the Chair of IAEM's Government Affairs Committee. Mike, a Kansas native, is also the Director of the Johnson County Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security in Olathe, Kansas and is active in numerous professional organizations.

We are glad you could be with us today Mike and I now turn the floor over to you.

Mike Selves: Hello, everyone, glad to see you all here this morning (yep still morning in Kansas). On October 4th of last year, the 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill became law. A major part of that bill was the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, a significant piece of legislation for emergency managers at all levels of government.

The reform act was the result of a monumental advocacy effort on the part of IAEM, NEMA and other partner organizations. While the act did not reflect everything we wanted with respect to the strengthening of FEMA and the restoration of its authority and autonomy, it went a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

Over the several months since the reforms were passed by Congress, we have watched as FEMA proceeded to "re-establish" itself within DHS. While much remains to be done, both within FEMA and in concert with the Congress, the results have been encouraging. In light of our great interest in this effort, IAEM is particularly pleased to co-sponsor today’s discussion and sincerely thank EIIP for the invitation.

One of the prime architects of the reorganization of FEMA, as directed by the reform act, is our speaker for this session, Marko Bourne, FEMA's Director of Policy and Program Analysis. And while Mr. Bourne will undoubtedly refer to the "new" FEMA, many of us believe that what he will be describing is the beginning of the restoration of a FEMA which we hoped was possible and knew was necessary to the protection of our communities and citizens.

We’re happy to have public officials such as Mr. Bourne guiding this restoration and welcome him to today’s discussion.

Amy Sebring: Thanks Mike. We add our welcome and appreciation for your making time to be with us today Marko at this historic moment for FEMA. I now turn the floor over to you to begin today's program if you please.


[Slide 1]

Marko Bourne: Thanks Mike and good afternoon. First of all I would like to thank the EIIP for allowing me to be on-line to discuss the vision of new FEMA and the integration of preparedness into FEMA. The EIIP has many partner institutions that I have been involved with for a long time and that I respect very much. Again, thank you.

I realize that major changes in agencies that you partner with on a daily basis can cause uneasiness. Rest assured that as we continued forward with the effort to integrate our new National Preparedness Directorate the needs of our stakeholders have been at the forefront. We determined everything from organizational structure to reporting chains with you in mind using a process where we looked at the functions and missions that serve you all before we addressed form and organization charts.

After this briefing, I hope you will be able to realize that the new FEMA is a FEMA full of potential and opportunities, and it will be a more nimble agency than the FEMA of the past. I hope it will allay any fears that preparedness will fall off of the radar screen in the event of a major disaster, simply because it won't. Amy, Slide 2 please.

[Slide 2]

I am sure this isn't the first time you have heard "new FEMA." Well, what is this new FEMA that we have been talking about for the past few months? We want to make new FEMA the Nation's Preeminent Emergency Management and Preparedness Agency.

FEMA will be able to encompass the four priorities of the Department of Homeland Security prevent, protect, respond, and recover. In order to do this we had to change our way of thinking and change some of our business practices since FEMA has not traditionally been in the protection and prevention business.

FEMA will be a more forward leaning organization than it has been in recent memory. We will not wait until states are completely overwhelmed to step in with additional aid. However, this should not be mistaken for replacing or preempting emergency management in the states, it just means that FEMA will be faster acting and more nimble partner to you all than it has been in the past.

We must also reach out to the law enforcement community in a new way. Administrator Paulison will have a Law Enforcement Advisor that he will work with on a regular basis in order to foster a relationship that was lacking in the past. It's not that FEMA had a bad relationship with the Law Enforcement community--it's that we had no relationship with them. That will change as we embrace them as part of the overall preparedness mission.

FEMA will incorporate best practices from the Preparedness Directorate in our new structure, and make sure that the daily business of preparedness will continue, even in the event of a disaster in another part of the country. Preparedness is a steady-state function and it should be treated as such.

Another part of the new FEMA will be to strengthen our Regions. The FEMA Regions are the state and local emergency managers' primary partners every day. The Regions will have more resources starting this year, and with these new resources there will be new responsibilities. These responsibilities include aspects of the National Preparedness Directorate that will lie in the Regional offices. The Regions are developing Regional metrics that the Regional Administrators will be able to use as guidance for priorities and decision making. They will not ignore the nuances that are specific to each Region, but they will set a basis of standard operating procedures for the Regional Administrators to lead with.

With stronger Regions, FEMA will be able to develop more robust partnerships with state and local governments. This is where you fit in. This is also based on the grant programs within National Preparedness that interact with the state and local governments on an almost daily basis. We will get back to the grant programs later, but we are looking forward to having more robust dialogue with states and locals.

We are looking at strong and well-established customer service models to provide guidance on how we deliver service of value to our stakeholders. We want a one point of entry system for states to have questions answered by FEMA. As an agency, FEMA wants to be easily accessible to our state and local partners and to be able to provide them with exemplary service. Specifically, we will add Preparedness Officers and Grants Management Specialists to the Regions to support your efforts in planning, training, exercising, and in managing the grant dollars.

Doing all of these things, and having a forward leaning posture will allow FEMA to earn the confidence of the public. This confidence is valuable and FEMA needs to be able to gain trust and maintain trust by doing all of the things I mentioned before in the vision of new FEMA. If we can strengthen our Regions, if we can build robust partnerships with state and local government, and if we can deliver service of value to the broad range of stakeholders, I am sure that FEMA will be able to earn the public confidence. Amy, Slide 3 please.

[Slide 3]

This is the organizational chart of FEMA as a whole, and as you can see, there have been some changes. We have added an Office of Equal Rights, a Law Enforcement Advisor to the Administrator, a Logistics Management Directorate, a Grants Management Office to handle the financial side of the grants, and the National Preparedness Directorate to manage the programs.

This structure will allow for greater visibility into the grants process, and allow us to maintain appropriate checks and balances in the process. For the first time in recent memory, all of our Regions have sworn in Administrators; these people were chosen by the fact that they each have 25-30 years of experience in the Emergency Management field. In total our Regional Administrators have over 300 years of experience in the field.

Some of our division have been renamed and elevated to directorates: the Response Division became the Disaster Operations Directorate; the Recovery Division became the Disaster Assistance Directorate; and the Office of National Security Coordination became the National Continuity Programs. The United States Fire Administration came back into FEMA and we couldn't be happier. Amy, Slide 4 please.

[Slide 4]

The new National Preparedness Directorate has taken shape. The Capabilities Division will be what used to be the Preparedness Programs Division. This will be the programmatic side of the grants, and they will focus on helping you all build capabilities with the grant dollars you receive.

The Community Preparedness Division encompasses Citizen Corp and all of the Citizen Corp programs and our planning relationship with voluntary agencies. The Technological Hazards Division will be home to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program, as well as some legacy FEMA CERCLA programs.

We'll come back to the National Integration Center in a minute. The Preparedness Doctrine, Planning, and Analysis Office will be the center for preparedness doctrine, and provide a level of oversight and ensure that all of the national preparedness activities are moving toward the National Preparedness Goal, and really determine what preparedness means in FEMA as threats evolve. Amy, Slide 5 please.

[Slide 5]

The National Integration Center will be the Division where all of the training and exercises are synchronized, and will be the home of the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). It will encompass all of the training entities you are used to interacting with like the Emergency Management Institute, the Center for Domestic Preparedness, and the Noble Training Center.

The Incident Management Systems Office is the renamed NIMS Integration Center; it will handle NRP, NIMS, credentialing, and creating national standards.

The National Exercise Division will be the coordinating both state and local exercises and the national and regional exercises. The National Exercise Simulation Center has been authorized by Congress but is not funded as yet. We are undertaking an assessment of this function to determine if this effort needs to be a brick and mortar facility, or virtual that will allow the National Exercise Program to be involved in more state and local exercises than they are able to currently due to lack of resources.

The Training and Exercises Integration box will be a coordinating body to make sure that there isn't duplication in training courses, curriculum review, that the training and exercise needs of the stakeholders are addressed, and they will also coordinate with our outside training partners such as state training academies, the Homeland Security Consortium and other institutions of higher learning.

Bringing all of the FEMA legacy training, in addition to the training previously provided by Preparedness and the National Exercise Program under one umbrella will allow for a much more effective training and exercise process. Amy, Slide 6 please.

[Slide 6]

There are many benefits to this realignment of FEMA and Preparedness. First and foremost, it integrates the nation's operational architecture and its capabilities- based preparedness framework. FEMA and the elements of Preparedness that came over already had very similar and complementary missions. Now there will be a shared vision of an all-hazards preparedness, response and recovery.

Under this new national operating architecture we are putting in place from both the old FEMA and the elements of Preparedness, we will now have the opportunity to operationalize the work of preparedness, now that we are together. The effect of this will not be additive but exponential. This is a situation where one plus one will be greater than two--the sum is much greater than the parts. If we do this right, and we are taking the time to make sure that happens, this will result in a level of cross-governmental operational readiness that is unprecedented.

We need our stakeholders to be part of this effort. We will be reaching out to you to provide input into some of these programs, and we want you to feel like you are part of the new FEMA team.

Thank you for your time and I am available to take any questions you may have. I will turn the session back over to our Moderator to start us off.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much Marko. Now, to proceed to your questions or comments.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Lloyd Colston: Good morning, Mr. Bourne. How will the Regions be strengthened? Will there be new staff added to better serve the States and money added to the States so they can hire additional staff to better serve the local governments? Will there be increased funding to the local governments so they can do a better job in all-hazards planning, preparedness, response, and recovery?

Marko Bourne: The Regions will be getting additional staff this year, next fiscal year and the year after. Our goal is to put over 100-200 additional positions in the Regions in the next 18 months. We are working with the Administration and Congress to look at the funding for EMPG, and to make sure that it is at a level that can support your activities. We understand the Congress is looking closely at increasing it as well.

Kennie Warren: Is FEMA going to come up with new assessments or use the previous ones? To name a few, we are looking at the reports and assessments such as NIMCAST.

Marko Bourne: We are not looking at adding to your assessment burden, but utilizing what has been done and trying to provide you new tools to review the gaps and what we can do to provide assistance. We don't need to re-invent wheels here.

Valerie Lucus: If FEMA hasn't been in the 'protection and prevention' business before, what would you call mitigation? Where does mitigation fit into this? Or does it?

Marko Bourne: Mitigation is of course a form of protection but has been almost exclusively natural hazards. We need to build upon that as we look at other hazards that are from a determined enemy, and use our outstanding knowledge of natural and manmade mitigation to assist in that.

Kay Phillips: Separating the grants management fiscal side from the programmatic side can be problematic when you have fiscal staff making decisions or interpretations that do not support the program's outcome. How does the new FEMA address this disconnect?

Marko Bourne: They are actually separate now. It’s the difference between the accounting function and the programs side that writes the guidance. Think of the financial side as how the money is drawn down, and by law they have to be separate entities. What we want to do is make that process very open and visible to you as it has not been in the past. That way there will be complete understanding of the grants process and how you can get technical assistance.

William Cumming: How will FEMA coordinate with DOJ and DOD in large scale events?

Marko Bourne: We are working very closely with both to establish pre-scripted mission assignments and relationships through the NRP re-write effort. We have liaisons both at their offices and they have liaisons at ours, and our collaborative work continues every day.

Chas: Is DHS-FEMA going to establish a working group with the FCC regarding the development of a new integrated EAS or National Alerting System? This is a question I have after reading the GAO March 2007 report.

Marko Bourne: We are developing a program called IPAWS that will look at all aspects of alert and warning. This is being done under a Presidential Directive, and will include EAS as well as other systems. The FCC, as well as NOAA and others, have been working with our project team to develop the effort. This will be a 3-5 year program, so there is a lot of work for everyone.

Lloyd Colston: Thank you for this encouraging news. I think I noticed the lack of focus on Mitigation. Was that meant to be? With strengthening comes funding, right? In other words, does the NEW FEMA have NEW money to run some important programs, e.g., Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Citizen Corp Councils, Community Emergency Response Teams, etc.? I hate hammering the money question but we all need it. I am anticipating you saying yes to new money, since it does not make sense to add staff to manage a program that's less than 100% funded.

Marko Bourne: Mitigation has not been forgotten and is being strengthened as well. We are linking up our Mitigation Division with Bob Stephan’s Infrastructure Protection Group to get them collaborating. As for funding of New FEMA, the President has asked for an unprecedented 27% increase in FEMA funding for FY08. That has never happened before and will provide the first step in a three-year effort to build to the new FEMA we all are looking for. This 08 money is a down payment so to speak.

Rich Vandame: In addition to SAVER and CEDAP, the Systems Support Division of Grants & Training was established as the standards coordinating entity for G&T. Do you have information on where they fit into the new organization?

Marko Bourne: They have been placed in the Capabilities Division of National Preparedness. They will work standards issues with S&T as well as the consensus national standards organizations such as NFPA and others.

Edwina Juillet: Within the New FEMA, "will there be an appointment of an individual* to oversee the planning, etc., for people with disabilities?" (*A qualified person from the disability community.)

Marko Bourne: Yes. We are in the process of interviewing applicants this month and hope to have a selection soon. They will report to the Administrator and be part of our EEO office. We are very encouraged by the quality of the applicants.

Valerie Lucus: Follow up: So, mitigation by any other name (prevention) is still mitigation, right? New Question: How will standards (i.e. NFPA 1600) fit into what you are creating here, especially as they relate to the EMAP accreditation process?

Marko Bourne: We look at NFPA 1600 as a very important part of the process and we want to support EMAP accreditation across the nation. We have not been in a strong position in recent years to support it fully, and we are working with NEMA and IAEM to strengthen that partnership.

Kay Phillips: We understand that the fiscal and programmatic elements are separate now; and that's the problem. Fiscal staff are making programmatic determinations and even arguing with FEMA programmatic staff over management and administrative cost issues, for example. And the result has been fiscal staff substituting their judgments even when the request by programmatic staff is legal and complies with grants management standards.

Marko Bourne: The programmatic staff will work with stakeholders to determine what the grants can be used for. The admin staff should be supporting the effort to assist in managing the money and making sure that the audit functions are carried out. It is important to remind you all that federal law and good accounting practices require this separation and checks and balances. We understand the problems that have occurred in the past and the reason we are "bringing the financial side into the light of day" is to address and resolve those issues.

Chas: (Follow up: EAS Working Group) How can we get input or added to this project since the PPW group is no longer in place?

Marko Bourne: The IPAWS project is being run by our National Continuity Directorate, formerly know as the Office of National Security. I would encourage you to contact them on the plans for outreach and potential working groups.

Johnnie Smith: What is the status of the Regional Advisory Councils? Will their make-up be determined Regionally or mandated by Headquarters?

Marko Bourne: Regional Advisory Councils will likely be developed later this year. We hope to announce the National Council in the next few weeks. Our goal with the Regional Councils is to allow for broad input and formation by our Regional offices, following some overall guidance from DC. Our goal is to look at the Regions as the key relationship builders with our state and local partners.

Gautama Kusuma: Follow up to Valerie's Q: With varying risk assessments in local/state agencies (accordingly, to their own needs), how does FEMA respond to this in regards to the risk assessment standardization and/or accreditation in distributing grants? Would FEMA move to that direction?

Marko Bourne: It is hard for me to give you an answer to that at this point. The entire risk assessment process is being looked at across DHS, and that effort over the next few months will potentially drive some of those decisions. As we fully integrate the former G&T staff into FEMA we will have a better vision of the path ahead.

Mike Selves: Not a question, but to add to the discussion of money: We are looking at adding about $100M to EMPG in the pending supplemental if the Congress and White House ever get it passed. Additionally, things look very promising for a major increase in EMPG in the 2008 appropriations bill, but we'll have to wait and see. We'll need everyone's help as these bills progress.

Marko Bourne: We are watching to see what happens ourselves.

John Boyle: A December GAO report noted shortcomings related to communicating with and providing transportation to persons with disabilities and persons without vehicles during evacuation events. Will there be a program at the local level to address this?

Marko Bourne: Part of the planning responsibility at all levels of government is to plan for those that cannot easily provide for themselves in this matter. We are working closely with many hurricane-affected states to provide such planning guidance. We cannot, however, write the plan for you, but we can assist in looking at creative ways to help you all address those problems.


Amy Sebring: That's all we have time for today. Sorry for those we did not get to. I am sure we could have gone on for TWO hours! Thank you very much Marko for an excellent job. We hope you enjoyed the experience today, and I think I can safely say that all our participants today wish you and FEMA only the best for the future. Our thanks also to your staff, including Erin Gallagher, for assisting with today's session. Please stand by a moment while we make a couple of quick announcements.

We are proud to announce a new Partner today, Business Executives for National Security (BENS), http://www.bens.org, POC: Kiersten Todt Coon, Vice President, Policy. You may recall that Kiersten recently presented in the Virtual Forum on BENS activities at the national level. We are delighted that they have become an official EIIP Partner. If your organization is interested in becoming an EIIP Partner, please go to our home page and click on "Partnership for You". If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page to Subscribe.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Marko for a fine job.