Running Header HURRICANE KATRINA
Public Policy and Social Services
Professor John Zurovchak
February 20, 2012
In 2005 the United States experienced a tough lesson regarding it's preparedness related to natural
diasters and it's ability to respond to the needs of it's citizens. The arrival of hurricane Katrina and the
devastation that followed, revealed many weaknesses in the country's structure regarding a national
emergency response system.
The issues identified as the Federal Government ...view middle of the document...
always be understood that the Federal Government can not and should not be the first respondent to
natural diasters. State and local governments are in a better position to address incidents and must
always play a large or primary role in responding to natural diasters. What citizens do have a right to
expect however, is that the Federal Government will step in when local and state governments are
overwhelmed or incapacited. In order to ensure that this is accomplished the Federal government must
plan, train and equip itself to meet the required needs when responding to incidents such as Katrina.
Many of the roles within the command centers of the Federal government and the Department of
Homeland Security had unclear and sometimes overlapping roles and responsibilities causing there to
be a breakdown in effort coordination. Response efforts were plagued by bureauracy; the requirement
for completed forms and signatures delayed timely responses to the situation. In attempts to be
proactive many departments and agencies attempted to take action under their own independent
authority. This caused further confusion and in some instances duplicate efforts.
One of the explanations behind why the Katrina response did not go as planned is that the decision
makers at all levels were not familiar with the plans. The NRP (National Response plan) was new to
many at all levels of government (local, State and Federal), this lack of understanding of the
“National” plan result in effective coordination efforts.
This coupled with the fact that the NRP only provided the base or frame work for providing a
national response, simply clouded response efforts even further. In order to ensure the effectiveness of
the plan all departments and agencies were tasked with developing and...