Seminar cultivates way forward following Hurricane Sandy
By Bill Irwin and Spencer Schargorodski
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), co-hosted the 2013 Senior Leaders’ Seminar (SLS) recently at FEMA Headquarters.
Over the past 15 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have worked collaboratively to maintain a Remedial Action Program (RAP) that captures agreed upon actions for correcting operational deficiencies. As part of the RAP process, FEMA and USACE conduct the SLS to discuss high level operational and policy issues.
In this year’s SLS, topics were centered on Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts. The seminar included discussions on:
- Major Metropolitan and State Coordination
- Senior Leader National Response Framework Awareness
- Prioritization and Adjudication of Resources
- Integration of DOD capabilities
- Leveraging support agencies and volunteer organizations
- Expediting Temporary Emergency Power Support
- Discussion of the Debris Management Pilot
Interagency and volunteer organizations were represented from numerous agencies within the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, White House National Security Staff and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.
The SLS concluded with a brief out from each FEMA region and its coordinating USACE division which helped to align discussions between headquarters and field level topics.
Overall, this year’s SLS was a beneficial event that helped to refine response processes within the federal government as well as to streamline recovery efforts and promote voluntary agency coordination and cooperation. An action item list has been developed and solutions are currently being worked within the appropriate agencies to overcome the challenges identified in Hurricane Sandy in order to help improve disaster response and reduce disaster risks in the future.