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Discuss the issue of the inclusion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)...

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henslee | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted March 19, 2013 at 6:44 PM via web

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Discuss the issue of the inclusion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Should it have been allowed it to remain an independent agency reporting directly to the President?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM (Answer #1)

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I would argue that it would have been better for FEMA to remain as a separate agency.  There was no real need to integrate FEMA into DHS and some compelling reasons not to do so.

The major rationale for putting FEMA into DHS was the idea that DHS was supposed to be in charge of defending the United States from internal happenings that would be extremely damaging to the country.  Given that the agency was created soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it is clear that the main goal of DHS was to prevent and, if need be, respond to terrorist attacks.

FEMA’s mission is to help the country recover from natural disasters or from other types of accidents such as nuclear accidents.  This means that FEMA’s main role has nothing to do with terrorism.  It therefore does not make much sense to have FEMA be in a department whose main focus is going to be on terrorism.  FEMA will seem peripheral to the department’s main mission and will therefore not be given as much attention as it should.

One can argue that disaster relief is part of protecting the homeland.  However, one could also make this argument about practically anything including things like economic development or the insurance business.  We would not want to give DHS every function that conceivably touches on protecting the homeland from disasters.  FEMA’s mission is not closely related to the core mission of DHS and so FEMA should not have been put in DHS.

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jtcliff | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 19, 2013 at 9:33 PM (Answer #2)

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I think that Homeland Security is primarily to protect the USA from terrorists and terrorist activity that could harm the Us gov't., economy and citizen's lives.

Whereas, FEMA is set up to protect and help USA cities and citizens fr/ natural or manmade disasters that could destroy property, homes the environment and lives.

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