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Challenges Past & Present for U.S. Emergency Managers by Prof. Rick Sylves, George Washington University Terms extracted from the glossary of the forthcoming.

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Presentation on theme: "Challenges Past & Present for U.S. Emergency Managers by Prof. Rick Sylves, George Washington University Terms extracted from the glossary of the forthcoming."— Presentation transcript:

1 Challenges Past & Present for U.S. Emergency Managers by Prof. Rick Sylves, George Washington University Terms extracted from the glossary of the forthcoming second edition of my book: DISASTER POLICY AND POLITICS. It will be in print this August and available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others. Publisher is Sage CQ Press. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20141

2 Anti-poverty social policy and EM Disasters often push many disaster victims over an economic brink they may not be able to climb back to. Disaster often highlights the existing problems of poverty, ethnic and racial discrimination, ageism, antifeminism, disability, and gay and lesbian discrimination. Social policies, laws, and programs sometimes may not be enough to protect people in marginalized groups from increased discrimination in times of disaster. U.S. disaster policy tends to be “conservative” because the aim of disaster relief is only to return damaged areas, and disaster victims themselves, to the condition they were in before the disaster. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20142

3 Camcorder politics on Steroids Politicization of major and minor disasters before, during, and after the time they occur fueled by the ability, since the early 1980s, of television news to cover breaking stories worldwide through the use of portable camcorders, remote linkups aided by orbiting communications satellites, and other technology. News commentators and reporters as well as political officials and pundits help create a “politics of a disaster” and so are customarily parts of the phenomenon. The public’s massive use of smart phones with video and Internet connectivity in recent years has increased the camcorder politics phenomena by many orders of magnitude. Citizen journalism and online video sharing through YouTube and other sites provide a daily stream of information to news organizations— some of which are exclusively found online. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20143

4 Should presidents be able to issue declarations of “catastrophe?” Means any natural or man- made incident, including terrorism, which results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, and national morale or government functions. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20144

5 Communities of practice: How will they emerge? Groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and they learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. A community of practice is composed of practitioners or researchers who have specialized their work to address the concern they share. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20145

6 Compound disasters: more frequent and more catastrophic? A disaster that triggers a secondary hazard. Compound disasters can occur simultaneously or sequentially. An earthquake causes a tsunami which heavily damages a nuclear power plant complex as in the Great Northeast Japan quake and tsunami that hit TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi facilities. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20146

7 Complexity theory: Jeff Conklin, Wicked Problems and Social Complexity Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems (Napa, CA: CogNexus Institute, 2005), cognexus.org/wpf/wickedproblems.pdf. Goktug Morcol, A Complexity Theory for Public Policy (New York: Routledge Press, 2012), 9. A possible and evolving framework for understanding the nature of “wicked” problems, many commonly encountered in disaster management. From a complexity theory perspective, public policy is “a self- organizational and dynamic complex system.” Complexity theory illustrates that policy problems are dynamic, that the policy process has multiple interacting components, and that multiple actors have conceptually unique mental models of policy problems. Core concepts of complexity theory—self-organization and system dynamics—can inform our mental models of social systems to help us understand and solve wicked problems. There is as yet no complete and unified complexity theory, but rather it is a work in progress. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20147

8 Cybersecurity for NIMS and its users Is much of the future of the emergency management field. Computer hackers who disrupt Internet usage recognized as potential “terrorists” and purveyors of disaster. May be nation state or non-state actors; may be inside or outside of the U.S. By the 1990s, cyber-attack disasters and emergencies that damaged or threatened to damage critical infrastructure systems and facilities became a new core area of responsibility for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The vulnerability of these systems and facilities to both terrorism and natural disaster forces encouraged policymakers to fund scientific and engineering endeavors aimed at advancing the fortification and resilience of these systems and structures. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20148

9 President’s Disaster Relief Fund in the Cross Hairs DRF is main repository of federal disaster spending authority available to the president and disbursed by FEMA and/or DHS. DRF is funded from an annual congressional appropriation and from residual, accumulated spending authority on previous disasters. DRF is often replenished and expanded to pay for extremely costly disasters by congressionally approved disaster supplemental appropriations. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel 20149

10 Emergency supplementals as endangered species Congressional appropriations often used to pay for mega-disasters or catastrophes that have swallowed up all or most available spending authority in the president’s Disaster Relief Fund. Legislators sometimes use this almost veto- proof legislation to add non-germane spending riders (special amendments) that would not win majority votes or enactment any other way. This sometimes results in wasteful spending. The vast majority of emergency supplementals are funded by federal borrowing rather than new revenue schemes or budget reprogramming of funds dedicated to certain discretionary spending purposes. Fiscal conservatives from both major political parties have begun to hone in on federal disaster spending when it relies on out-of- budget year funding made possible by the U.S. Treasury’s sale of bonds or other debt instruments. Emergency supplementals drive up the annual federal budget deficit and the accumulating National Debt. The more pressure there is to balance the budget the more Congress must target unbudgeted spending, and this includes in some respects disaster’s entitlement spending. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

11 FEMA relief as an “entitlement program” A type of government program that provides individuals, and sometimes corporations or state or local governments, with financial benefits or special government-provided goods or services under terms in which beneficiaries have a legal right (enforceable in court, if necessary) to the benefits whenever they meet eligibility conditions that are specified by the law that authorizes the program. Spending control over entitlements only comes through changes in the legal rules of the program, not as a result exhausting of budget authority allotted to the program. In other words, entitlement funding each budget year is a function of the number of claimants, ultimate payouts, and the rules of the program—so-called mandatory spending. Budgeting funds in advance for entitlement programs is extremely difficult and many entitlement programs exceed their budgets each year because the number of claimants and payouts are often underestimated and difficult to predict. Federal disaster assistance is no exception. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

12 Humanitarian assistance: permeating the divide between domestic and international disaster management Involves concern for human welfare and social reforms. Within the realm of disaster humanitarian assistance, acute post-disaster concerns involve providing emergency food, water, shelter, medical services and supplies, clothing, and other items to disaster victims in order to ensure their immediate survival. Lessons learned in managing domestic disasters will be used to better inform those who are tasked to respond to disasters elsewhere in the world, and vice versa. From a U.S. government perspective it also means humanitarian assistance is used to encourage democracy and building structures favorable to sustainable political and economic development. In this way the U.S. government gains and keeps allies and promotes other U.S. interests, among them the security of the United States itself. In providing disaster aid to the people of other nations, an American secondary agenda is to prevent recipient nations from political or economic collapse, to forestall their subversion by enemies of the United States, and to prevent the spawning of failed states that may evolve into rogue states. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

13 Marginal disaster request approvals & denials Approvals: Governor requests for presidential disaster declarations arguably not major destructive events but that the president has nonetheless approved as a major disaster or emergency under his authority “to declare” disasters. Event judged to be at or barely over the threshold required for administrative approvability. It is also possible that the event did meet Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conditions of qualification and fell below its approval threshold, but the president chose to approve the request regardless. Denials: Governor requests for presidential disaster declarations that are arguably “not” major destructive or threatening events and that the president has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator “to turn down.” Event judged to be at or under FEMA threshold required for administrative approvability. President assents to the FEMA turndown recommendation. To this author’s knowledge, no one has been able to factually prove that any president ( ) rejected a governor request for a declaration of major disaster or emergency despite a FEMA recommendation to approve that request. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

14 Master model of victim compensation Administered by one person, an appointed Special Master, who has the sole responsibility for receiving claims and making grant determinations. While this model has been utilized in other fields, most notably in making payouts to victims and relatives of asbestos-caused illnesses and cancers, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) represented its first application in federal disaster assistance, and it proved to be a very personal and controversial way to distribute disaster relief. Kenneth Feinberg was Special Master of the: 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Liability Fund The Hokie Freedom Fund for Victims of the Virginia Tech shootings Special Master is being used for The Boston One Fund to compensate surviving victims and families of those lost in the Boston Marathon Bombings of Will the master model begin to replace conventional government disaster relief schemes? Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

15 “Moral hazard”: Government Disaster Relief as an Enabler of Bad Behavior? An increase in the probability of loss caused by the behavior of a holder of insurance. In the realm of the insurance market, those whose homes are insured behave carelessly or dishonestly by failing to take reasonable measures to protect their homes from a known disaster threat because they expect that insurance will cover their losses if a disaster transpires. In government, when lower-level governments forgo reasonable disaster mitigation measures because their leaders expect post- disaster assistance from upper- level government to cover their losses and so they believe they have realized a savings by not spending money on pre-disaster mitigation. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

16 Moral Hazard Anyone? Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

17 Samaritan’s dilemma: When Helping May Hurt When providing assistance after a disaster reduces the economic incentives of potential victims to invest in protective measures, such as buying appropriate insurance and taking reasonable mitigation measures, prior to a disaster. If the expectation of disaster assistance reduces the demand for insurance, the political pressure on the government to provide assistance after a disaster is reinforced or amplified.” Howard Kunreuther, “Has the Time Come for Comprehensive National Disaster Insurance?” in On Risk and Disaster, ed. Ronald J. Daniels, Donald E. Kettl, and Howard Kunreuther (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 188. See also Deborah Stone, The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should Government Help Your Neighbor? (New York: Nation Books, 2008). Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

18 Network theory: Virtual and Real People Relate. Draw a map of everyone you met so far today, draw lines to depict your links with them and with each other; thicker lines mean tighter links. Presto - your social network for the day so far. Becoming more common in EM studies A field of computer science and network sciences and a part of graph theory (the study of graphs and mathematical structures). It is often used to examine the method of characterizing and modeling complex networks. Many complex networks share some common features. Network theory is also applied to: logistic networks, gene regularity networks, metabolic networks, the World Wide Web, ecological networks, epistemological networks, and social networks. It is applied in many disciplines, including biology, computer science, business, economics, particle physics, operations research, and, most commonly, in sociology. See Cory Janssen, “Network Theory,” Techopedia, theory theory Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

19 Actor Networks Actor networks involve the interaction of various pools of actors, usually through their organizations. Emergency management is chocked full of networks of various types. Some might say that the essence of coordination in all phases of emergency management rests upon networks. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

20 Nonprofit voluntary organizations: Co-production in EM as routine Organizations composed largely, but not exclusively, of volunteers. Faith-based or not, they are often part of both the official and unofficial response to a disaster or emergency, All enjoy a nontaxable federal income tax status, as well as exemption from various state and local income and property taxes. Those who make cash and in-kind donations to these organizations often enjoy a federal income tax deduction that effectively subsidizes their contributions. Some of these organizations operate internationally as well as inside the United States. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

21 Principal-agent theory: Government contract management. Assumes that managers (the principals) function in an environment in which they cannot observe whether their agents (subordinate workers and contractors) in fact carried out the instructions they issued. Also assumes that agents hide information from principals and may use the information to act in ways contrary to what principals intended. The theory, is from economics and is used extensively in performance-based government contracting studies. A tool for improved FEMA supervision of contractors to ensure greater accountability and value for dollar. See Kenneth Arrow. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

22 Private, for-profit contractors: Too Many or Too Few? For-profit contractors, often corporations and other business entities, many of whom are retained by government to perform work, produce a product, accomplish a task, provide a service, build or repair a structure, etc. They are used by the federal government, as well as by subnational governments, as part of the official response to a disaster and to carry out certain tasks or to produce certain products for short or long term disaster recovery and for disaster mitigation. Although government contractors usually have to go through a public bidding process, sometimes the slowness of that process has prompted the issuance of “no-bid” contracts, which have often become subjects of political controversy. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

23 Securitization: Will your NRF and NIMS partners “play with you” if they cannot be assured you won’t spy on them? Involves extension of national security concerns into other domains of public policy, including emergency management. Securitization also involves development of new types of security-related research and technologies. It also connotes a trend toward increased security classification of many documents that were previously open and publicly available. Controversy surrounding the Snowden disclosures about NSA spying have and will further produce a “claw back” of personal privacy rights. In the near future Internet users, providers, and browsers will rush to get the latest encryption technology especially if it promises to bar intrusion even by NSA. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

24 Security classification: Who Plays, Who Sits? A means of government protection of sensitive information from unauthorized disclosure. The federal government maintains a tiered system of security classification, and individuals may be granted security clearances following background checks, their taking of legal oaths that they will not divulge secret information, and other requirements, including drug testing. Many aspects of federal emergency management are today subject to security restriction. This means that only those with appropriate security clearances may read, use, act on, or alter this information, thus narrowing the pool of people responsible for conducting work or duties called for in the documents. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

25 Social media: Be there or be square Internet communications systems, software, and platforms that facilitate social networking including blogging, microblogging, photo sharing, video sharing, video streaming, wiki sourcing, virtual worlds, online radio, and aggregators (collective real-time monitoring tools of selected types of user exchanges). More than a quarter of CNN news is culled from social media. Social media may improve “situational awareness” if properly validated. From Adam Crowe, Disasters 2.0: The Application of Social Media Systems for Modern Emergency Management (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012), 25, 109. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

26 Social constructivism: Your head will hurt Explains problems and policy issues by focusing on people’s behavior and beliefs rather than on the putative “conditions” that are the object of those actions. Social constructivists maintain that it is the actions and persuasiveness of people, perhaps amplified through mass communications, which define what a phenomenon is or is not. Language and culture play essential roles both in human intellectual development and in how humans perceive the world. Humans’ linguistic abilities enable them to overcome the natural limitations of their perceptual field by imposing culturally defined sense and meaning on the world. Language and culture are the frameworks through which humans experience, communicate, and understand reality. Maintains that all cognitive functions originate in and must therefore be explained as products of social interactions and that learning is not simply the assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge by learners but is the process by which learners are integrated into a knowledge community. What your kids are being taught by many professors (not this one). Teaching Resource Center, University of California, Berkeley, “Learning: Theory and Research: Social Constructivism, Teaching Guide for Graduate Student Instructors,” cial.html. cial.html Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

27 Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

28 “Wind” versus “water” dispute: A problem of claims adjustment and contested insurance coverage often encountered after disasters that cause both wind and water damage to a private structure. Private insurers cover wind damage (but not that caused by floodwater) in their homeowner insurance policies. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) covers flood water damage but not wind-caused damage. Consequently, sometimes after hurricanes or severe storms many homeowners have fallen into insurance “limbo” as their private insurer’s claims adjuster denies claims for damage they believe is caused by flooding (not wind) and the NFIP claims adjuster rejects claims for damage they conclude was caused by wind (not floodwater). A vast number of NFIP and private homeowner insurance policyholders in Katrina damage zones ended up having their claims denied by both the NFIP and their private insurer on these grounds. Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel

29 That’s What I Think Many of Us Will Have to Cope with in the Future, Thank You Prof. Sylves for FEMA Higher Ed Conf Rubin Panel


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