The National Response Framework Essay

1030 words - 5 pages

National Response Framework (NRF):
Improving America’s Disaster Response

The government of the United States has experienced and continues to manifest consistent, often times sweeping, changes to the “way it does Emergency Response business.” The disastrous events of both September 11, 2001 and the unfolding tragedy of Hurricane Katrina proved to be “real-time” triggers for the evolution of governmental amendment to and eventual restructure of the overarching procedural standard for incident response in the country. One of the outcomes would become what was dubbed the National Response Framework, or NRF. This paper will present a brief outline of its core structure and purpose. ...view middle of the document...

In the year 2006, the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act set the stage for NRF and in what would be perhaps one of its most sweeping measures, the government transitioned the authority for national disaster mitigation to the FEMA Administrator for emergency management, who serves in an advisory capacity to the President of the United States. Currently, the billet is held by Craig Fugate (fema.gov, 2012).

A key method in which the NRF is kept “current” is one that this researcher is particularly comfortable with classifying as an innovative and an appropriate manner in which to ensure relevance in the NRF’s doctrine. It routinely adds and updates “annexes” to its charter so as to allow for coordination instructions and specific guidance under various “worst-case” types of scenarios. As with any evolving (and often times bureaucracy-laden) governmental agency, there are measures of success and shortcoming to be expected. Overall, however, this researcher feels that the NRF provides a vastly improved approach to high-level oversight and distribution of subordinate mandates in the wake of a catastrophe. As stated by Senator Joe Lieberman in his comments on the draft of the NRF, “I am pleased DHS consulted with state and local stakeholders to produce a comprehensive and coherent plan for responding to disasters of all sorts when they occur… I am particularly pleased the final National Response Framework, unlike an earlier draft, recognizes the larger role the Post-Katrina Act gave to the FEMA Administrator for emergency management (senate.gov, 2012).” It is clear to understand the urgent need, especially in light of fiscal and specialized capabilities offered by the recently-born FEMA, to assign the Framework’s primary coordination responsibility to the Administrator. This was clearly an effective and well-based move.

As previously stated, however, there are challenges in the NRF which, to date, have not been brought to light during a real-world national crisis, at least not to the scale of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. One would certainly be that of some confusion on certain areas of responsibility and authority for assigned personnel such as Principal Federal Officials (or PFO’s) and Federal Coordination Officers (FCO’s). This disconnect, and other potential shortcomings for the initiative, are echoed by Paul Stockton, a Senior...

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