FEMA Administrator Fugate Speaks at CSIS

FEMA’s Role in Disaster Response
  • Thursday, Feb 17, 2011

  • At CSIS on February 17, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate described FEMA’s role as one of support and coordination. In a session of the CSIS-LSU Series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response moderated by director Rick “Ozzie” Nelson of CSIS’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program, Administrator Fugate presented three key messages:

    • the public is part of the solution;
    • the private sector is a valuable resource; and
    • FEMA is authorized to support governors or a lead federal agency.

    When responding to disasters, administrator Fugate described a hierarchy of needs: (1) physical access, (2) safety, and (3) search and rescue. Too much time, he said, is wasted on assessment rather than response. On security, he said, calling out the National Guard has an important psychological impact, showing decisive action and preserving the fragile peace.

    Administrator Fugate has moved FEMA away from a Washington, D.C.-centric model. He has empowered regional offices by hiring regional attorneys and dedicating positions to work with the private sector and tribal governments. FEMA has also started using Twitter and Facebook to better understand the public’s needs during a disaster and to distribute timely information.

    The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program and LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) hosted a session of the

    CSIS-LSU Series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response


    W. Craig Fugate
    Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


    “FEMA’s Role in Disaster Response”

    Moderated by
    Rick “Ozzie” Nelson
    Director, CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program

    The CSIS-LSU Series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response is an academic partnership between CSIS and the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI).  The series is made possible through the generous support of SDMI and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation of Baton Rouge.

    The series provides a forum for government officials, experts, academics, and nongovernmental organizations dealing with disaster management and emergency response to discuss critical issues facing the United States’ ability to address disaster and emergency situations domestically and internationally.

    Photo Slide Show

Find More On:

Defense and Security

Economic Development and Reconstruction