Other federal agencies have key roles in Homeland Security and promoting resilience in federal efforts to protect the nation and minimize recovery problems. One little known agency is the National Institute for Standards and Technology part of the Department of Commerce. This is the successor to the former National Bureau of Standards which famously housed the Harry Diamond Ordnance Fuze Lab which developed the very important time-delay fuzes for both artillery and bombs in WWII. NIST also succeeded to the lead for the NEHRP in 2004 from FEMA. A major loss IMO. NEHRP is the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program that is the major program stemming from the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, as amended. Perhaps this change of lead will be the subject of a witch hunt in the aftermath of the next big one but it does show a specific example of how the “new” FEMA does not have the clout of the “old” FEMA.
After the various investigations into the structural collapse and fires at the WTC occurring on and after 9/11/01 NIST was also given authority to investigate major structural failures nationwide. They did produce a useful report on the WTC.
Now they have been assigned a crucial HS mission and goal. They are the lead in designing a more resilient national energy grid. Hope they succeed because today the vulnerability of the grid is well documented including a large northeast outage caused by a broken tree limb in Ohio. The NYC blackouts of 1965 and 1977 are also buried in the psyches of New Yorkers alive and old enough to remember those events. Consolidated Edison was proved legally responsible in post blackout litigation.
You can go to NIST.gov to see more information but the role in developing grid resilience is huge. Interesting that all agree DOE has largely failed to grind resiliency into the activities of its FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] as have most of the regulator agencies.
Todays federal register has the President directing the hunting out and destruction of anti-business regulations by the non-regulatory agencies and departments. Too bad he does not think an Executive Order hunting out regulations that fail to promote resilience. Well I guess he is job hunting for 2013. This WH is very wrapped up in trying to be re-elected instead of governing.