The fallout from Katrina will be with this country for months, if not tears. Money will rebuild the city but money alone cannot heal the others costs. The loss of a sense of security and the long-term mental health of all the people affected. Now, as the recovery effort begins, there are questions being asked.
There are three themes that a reader can take from this article. Number one, some federal jobs have to be nonpolitical. The pre and post management of disaster takes people who have ground level experience and how they play the political game should only be of secondary consideration. To manage a disaster, both to be proactive in preventing one or recovery from one, takes skills that are developed through serving in the trenches. The skills do not call for any political skills but resource and human management skills and understanding how to coordinate while applying those skills in actual situations.
The wisdom of merging FEMA into a larger department has to be rethought also. As the author demonstrates, this has led to the loss of the very people needed at FEMA. The absorption of FEMA buy Homeland Security has just decreased the efficiency of disaster relief and the balance/budget resources are not even. The fact that this problem of the levees being unable to withstand a Category 5 hurricane was known but little was done is a demonstration that the focus, in funds and human resources, has shifted too much to terrorists and the balance needs to be equalized.
The larger lesson learned through this article is that correcting the mistakes must be done now and cannot be ignored. The fact that citizens and businesses are pitching in is encouraging, but the chilling thought is that in a man made incident no warning will be given. The enemies of America are taking note of the response to the Katrina disaster and the thought is chilling. Imagine a man made act of terror affecting an American city on the same, if larger scale. The failure of communication between agencies at all levels is a potent weapon in the wrong hands and the focus rightly is on getting people out alive. The sluggish response of the federal government must be analyzed and although money plays a role in correcting the problems, there are other elements that need to be looked at too.