View Full Version : Criminal Negligence And Katrina?

09-04-2005, 06:39 PM


by Larry C. Johnson

The provocative title is intentional. Why did the Bush Administration fail to act according to the National Response Plan they created in December of 2004 to deal with an incident like Katrina?

What do you do when the words on the paper don't match the action in the field? People are dying today in New Orleans because of the failure to provide immediate aid are dead in part because of the negligence of Michael Chertoff. That is a harsh judgment, but if you will take time to read the National Response Plan that was signed into effect in December of 2004 there is no other reasonable conclusion.

The current effort by the Bush Administration to blame the victims in Louisiana and Mississippi is bad enough, but they are in big trouble once Americans take the time to understand that they the Administration ignored it's own plan for dealing with a threat like Katrina. Why did they fail to implement the plan until it was too late to save lives along the Gulf Coast?

Don't take my word for it, read the plan yourself. You can download it at http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/NRPbaseplan.pdf

The National Response Plan was accepted and implemented by Bush Administration in December 2004. According to the PREFACE, President Bush, "directed the development of a new National Response Plan (NRP) to align Federal coordination structures, capabilities, and resources into a unified, all discipline, and all-hazards approach to domestic incident management. . . .The end result is vastly improved coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal organizations to help save lives and protect America's communities by increasing the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of incident management."

Efforts by Chertoff and other Administration spinmeisters to pin the blame on the delayed response on State and local authorities does not hold water. Although the NRP recognizes that State and local authorities have a responsibility to ask for help, the NRP correctly provides a provision to take proactive steps to deal with a threat. On page 43 of the NRP the section is titled, "Proactive Federal Response to Catastrophic Events" (which I have copied and pasted below:

The NRP establishes policies, procedures, and mechanisms for proactive Federal response to catastrophic events. A catastrophic event is any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions. A catastrophic event could result in sustained national impacts over a prolonged period of time; almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State, local, tribal, and private-sector authorities in the impacted area; and significantly interrupts governmental operations and emergency services to such an extent that national security could be threatened. All catastrophic events are Incidents of National Significance.

Implementation of Proactive Federal Response Protocols

Protocols for proactive Federal response are most likely to be implemented for catastrophic events involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive weapons of mass destruction, or large magnitude earthquakes or other natural or technological disasters in or near heavily populated areas.

Guiding Principles for Proactive Federal Response
Guiding principles for proactive Federal response include the following:

The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure, property, and the environment; contain the event; and preserve national security.
Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of
catastrophic magnitude.
Identified Federal response resources will deploy and begin necessary operations as required to commence life-safety activities.
Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal response.
State and local governments are encouraged to conduct collaborative planning with the Federal Government as a part of "steady-state" preparedness for catastrophic incidents.

Implementation Mechanisms for Proactive Federal Response to Catastrophic Events
The NRP Catastrophic Incident Supplement (described in the Catastrophic Incident Annex) addresses resource and procedural implications of catastrophic events to ensure the rapid and efficient delivery of resources and assets, including special teams, equipment, and supplies that provide critical lifesaving support and incident containment capabilities. These assets may be so specialized or costly that they are either not available or are in insufficient quantities in most localities.

The procedures outlined in the NRP Catastrophic Incident Supplement are based on the following:

The pre-identification of Federal assets and capabilities;
The strategic location of pre-identified assets for rapid deployment; and
The use of pre-scripted mission assignments for Stafford Act declarations, or individual agency authority and funding, to expedite deployment upon notification by DHS (in accordance with procedures established in the NRP Catastrophic Incident Supplement) of a potential catastrophic event.

Agencies responsible for these assets will keep DHS apprised, through the HSOC, of their ongoing status and location until the JFO is established. Upon arrival at the scene, Federal assets will coordinate with the Unified Command, the SFLEO, and the JFO (or its forward elements) when established. Demobilization processes, including full coordination with the JFO Coordination Group, are initiated either when the mission is completed or when it is determined the magnitude of the event does not warrant continued use of the asset.

While the Bush Administration is to be commended for coming up with a plan for dealing with terrorism and large scale disasters, it must be condemned for its abject failure to implement the NRP. And, specific heads must roll starting with Michael Chertoff and the head of FEMA.

09-04-2005, 07:16 PM
i say fuck the paper work and get in there and save some lives.