Okay folks what policies are necessary to build or rebuild an America that can compete? First is infrastructure and note in the following their is no discussion of broad band improvements althought $19B of the President’s budget is directed to keeping up with the dozen countries that provide free broad band nationwide and at much higher speeds than the US. Still the article that follows does have some interesting graphs and insights:
If we were to consider disaster relief as an effort to promote new infrastructure in disaster prone areas that fully mitigate the hazards one basic policy needs changing. That is the notion that conditions before the disaster determine the outcome of the recovery effort and the notion that infrastructure must be replaced and not improved over what was there before. Interesting that the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] finally adopted the ICC [Increased Costs of Construction] program when mandated by statute when they had the statutory authority to do it all the time. I helped draft the provision of the law that mandated this largely undisclosed to the program officials in FEMA. That ICC has been a phenomenal success in helping to reduce repetitive losses and probably should be mandated for all policy holders in the NFIP.
The problem of course is that almost no one in FEMA seems to understand that disaster relief is just one of many federal programs, functions, and activities and needs to be closely integrated with the others. But hey this would require FEMA personnel to open their doors and let other federal agencies explain their operations and help FEMA improve integration. Despite its outward efforts to argue that it is a collaborative and cooperative agency oddly FEMA often does not even want to do so with its STATE partners and their local governments. Not-Invented-here is a recurrent FEMA theme when arguing against new ideas or policies. The FEMA needs total top to bottom redesign to become a learning organization. Recently the DHS/OIG pointed out for the 99th time that FEMA has not really implemented the statutory mandate to adopt a lessons learned program allowing them to find out what went right and what went wrong. Bureacratic arrogance of the first order IMO.
So one thing that needs to be done is to have all FEMA programs, functions, and activities reviewed in depth to determine what they actually accomplish and how they are designed. Ad HOC seems to be the FEMA motto!