+Bea, Keith, Specialist in American National Government, L. Cheryl Runyon & Kae M. Warnock, Consultants, Government and Finance Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), California Emergency Management and Homeland Security Statutory Authorities Summarized (RL32291) (March 17, 2004) (PDF — 39.5K)
Disasters & the Law
UC Berkeley School of Law
30 entriesexpand all
+Bea, Keith, Specialist in American National Government, L. Cheryl Runyon & Kae M. Warnock, Consultants, Government and Finance Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Emergency Management and Homeland Security Statutory Authorities in the States, District of Columbia, and Insular Areas: A Summary (RL32287) (March 17, 2004) (PDF — 75.3K)
+Brookings Institution, Hurricane Katrina: Where Do We Go from Here? (September 8, 2005) (PDF — 196K)
+Chhean, Chhunny & Puneet Kakkar, Primed & Prepared: Updating the Stafford Act for a Coordinated National Response (UC Berkeley School of Law, Law 224.9, Disasters & the Law, Spring 2006) (PDF — 188K)
"Hurricane Katrina revealed fundamental problems with our nation's ability to respond to natural disasters. Not only did Katrina overwhelm governments at all levels in their abilities to respond to the disaster, but it also revealed their inadequate emergency preparation and response plans. There was a failure among local, state and federal levels to effectively optimize assistance and resources coming from other states and the federal government.
"This paper advocates an amended Stafford Act to include three solutions that are crucial to strengthening national preparedness for future disasters. First, local jurisdictions and states should be required to develop comprehensive disaster preparedness and response plans, consistent with a national framework, that enable them to effectively manage complex disasters. Second, the federal government needs to harmonize its disaster-relief infrastructure and consolidate natural emergency preparedness and response functions in the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Finally, the Stafford Act should include a contingency plan for a catastrophe so large it renders traditional emergency management impracticable.
"While these structural changes for national preparedness can be implemented by executive order as governmental reports and studies have suggested, this paper stresses the importance of enacting these recommendations in legislation. The Stafford Act is the touchstone of federal disaster relief. Updating the Stafford Act to include a national framework for disaster response, the federal infrastructure for disaster management under the leadership of DHS, and the framework for the nation's response to catastrophic incidents, will achieve clarity and permanency for all parties involved. Updating the Act as suggested will ensure that the country shall be primed and prepared for future disasters."—Abstract.
+Clovis, Jr., Samuel H., Promises Unfulfilled: The Sub-Optimization of Homeland Security National Preparedness Homeland Security Affairs, Vol. IV, No. 3 (October 2008) (PDF — 324K)
"At the core of the set of challenges that confront national, state, and local government officials concerning homeland security national preparedness public policy are a set of assumptions, upon which current and evolving policies are based, that are suspect if not fatally flawed. The policy outcomes resulting from these faulty assumptions (and facilitated by hindering institutional pathologies, misguided policies, and bad policy instruments) have left the nation less prepared than is possible had forward-thinking, aggressively applied modern public management models been used as the foundation upon which national preparedness could be established. The assumptions brought into focus in this article are:
"1. There is an idealized level of national preparedness; achieving a prescribed level of preparedness to respond to events of national significance, whether man-made or natural in origin, is possible based on current or foreseeable resource levels.
"2. The federal government is obliged to direct the development of national preparedness policy to ensure that state and local governments are working toward policy compliance and are providing full accountability for grant funds.
"3. Current homeland security public policy is coherent, embraces an all-hazards approach to national preparedness and reflects the comprehensive involvement of state and local governments in its development, deployment, and implementation.
"After a brief discussion of research methodology, this article traces the evolution of national preparedness policies and describes the institutional pathologies and policy instruments that have inhibited national preparedness. The next section provides analysis related to the research and an explanation of why the assumptions identified above are flawed. Finally, recommendations are offered that might allow the next administration and those with public safety, emergency management, and homeland security responsibilities at the state and local level insights into building community resilience and governance capacity that raises preparedness to as high a level as possible." —Introduction.
+Dougherty, Candidus, While the Government Fiddled Around, the Big Easy Drowned: How the Posse Comitatus Act Became the Government's Alibi for the Hurricane Katrina Disaster (provided by: SSRN) (January 1, 2006)
"This Article analyzes how the government's blame of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) for its late response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster was misplaced. Part I starts with a brief history of the military's role in domestic law enforcement and chronicles how, throughout history, standing armies have crept into civilian law enforcement. It discusses how for centuries, governments have treated their standing armies as necessary evils - depending on the military for national defense while at the same time fearing its power to oppress if improperly unleashed. In fact, the encroachment of federal troops on the voting rights of the Reconstruction South was the impetus for the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) in 1878.
"Part II teases out the convoluted process of analyzing military action under the PCA. It lays out how courts interpret the statute as well as the constitutional, Congressional and common law exceptions to the PCA. Part III applies the PCA to the situation in New Orleans, concluding that the PCA was not implicated because the military's role was to provide food, water, medical care and transportation out of the city and not to enforce the law. This section also details the various sources of authority that would have permitted the use of the military in a law enforcement capacity in New Orleans immediately after Katrina.
"Lastly, the Conclusion discusses what the PCA means today and whether we still have a need for such a law. The author concludes that we do need a PCA-like law, but we need one that is more potent. We have traversed through a cycle of authority that gradually progresses from absolute civilian control of the military to virtual control of the military and then back again. We are on the upswing of this cycle, and we need a PCA with teeth in order to protect us from repeating history and from ending this chapter of increasing military authority in disaster."—Abstract.
+Duke Law Journal, "36th Annual Duke Administrative Law Conference -- Administrative Law and Emergency Management: Katrina and Beyond" (March 24, 2006) (webcast)
+Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Fema's Disaster Management Program: A Performance Audit after Hurricane Andrew (1993)
"FEMA should be commended for formulating the "Federal Response Plan" after its experiences with Hurricane Hugo and Loma Prieta. The Plan provided the framework fo numerous Federal agencies' response to Hurricane Andrew. However, Andrew demonstrated that the Plan needs substantial refinements to deal with a disaster of such extraordinary magnitude, particularly in the first few days when broad assistance was so vitally needed but slow in arriving. Several such refinements come directly from lessons learned with Hugo and Loma Prieta, described in the FEMA report of May 1991 on this subject. That report specifically commented that the Federal Government may be the principal responder when a catastrophic disaster overwhelms the State and local governments' ability to respond. FEMA management failed to systematically follow up on the more important problem areas described in that report.
"A key lesson is the need to clarify or expand legal authority for Federal agencies to act quickly, instead of waiting for specific requests for aid from the States. In 1991 FEMA officials proposed legislation that would have somewhat expanded Federal authority, but they gave up when the proposal was not approved for submission to Congress. The weakness of the "Federal Response Plan" and Federal agencies' performance in south Florida are caused primarily by the perception of inadequate authority on such a fundamental issue involving its capability to perform promptly in a catastrophic disaster situation. This issue takes on even more importance in a situation such as Andrew, when many State and local officials could not identify their requirements for Federal assistance, further contributing to victims' suffering.
"We believe this unresolved question of authority would lead FEMA officials to approach the next catastrophic disaster largely in the same way they did Hurricane Andrew, with consequent delay in meeting victims' immediate needs. Mindful that the next hurricane season is but six months away, we present numerous findings and recommendations for improving the Federal response. ...."—Executive Summary.
+Hanson, Kenneth & Victor Oliveira, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, The 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes' Effect on Food Stamp Program Caseloads and Benefits Issued (PDF — 568K)
"In fall 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma devastated areas along much of the Gulf Coast, resulting in greater demand for food stamps by millions of Gulf Coast State residents and evacuees.
"During disasters, USDA delivers emergency food assistance in two ways. Initially, emergency food commodities are provided to shelters, to other mass feeding sites, and directly to households when normal commercial channels of food distribution may be disrupted. USDA also issues emergency food stamps through the Disaster Food Stamp Program (DFSP), an extension of the regular Food Stamp Program. Under the DFSP, eligibility requirements are temporarily relaxed so that benefits can be quickly provided to households that may not ordinarily qualify for food stamps but suddenly need food assistance.
"The Federal response to the disasters has received much attention; information about food stamp use will help provide a more complete picture of the use of public assistance both during and after the hurricanes. To provide this information, we examined the effect of the hurricanes on food stamp caseloads and benefits issued.
"One effect of the hurricanes was a dramatic spike in both Food Stamp Program caseloads and benefits issued. In November 2005, 29.7 million people received food stamps, the largest number ever to receive food stamps in a single month and about 4 million—or 15 percent—more than just 3 months earlier." —Report Summary
Links to report summary and full report in PDF format.
+Homeland Security Council, National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza (May 2006) (PDF — 2.5M)
"This Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza further clarifies the roles and responsibilities of governmental and non-governmental entities, including Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities and regional, national, and international stakeholders, and provides preparedness guidance for all segments of society. The Plan addresses the following topics:
- U.S. Government Planning and Response
- International Efforts and Transportation and Borders
- Protecting Human Health
- Protecting Animal Health
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Security
- Institutional Considerations"
+Hunter, Nan D., 'Public-Private' Health Law: Multiple Directions in Public Health (provided by: SSRN) (Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 74) (Journal of Health Care Law & Policy, Vol. 10, 2007)
"Public health law has been a quintessentially public law field, centered around a system of administrative agencies. In some respects, the field is moving even closer to the core of governmental functions. Since September 11, the 2001 anthrax attacks and Hurricane Katrina, the conceptual framework of emergency preparedness and response has subsumed ever larger segments of public health policymaking. Emergency planning has become an important discourse of governance, one which reveals a great deal about the operations of state power.
"In this article, I identify three approaches to governance embedded in today's public health law and policy. The first and most traditional approach to governance is that of dominant state authority. What is notable is how this approach is being strengthened by a trend toward greater centralization and hierarchy in infectious disease control, pushing public health into a tighter command and control structure. I describe how this framing process has the effect of melding population health concerns and the security state, as well as insinuating a discourse of emergency response into non-emergency policy-making.
"The second governance model in the public health field is the public-private administrative model. Although public-private models for administrative governance are relatively new to public health compared to many other fields, calls for partnerships with the private sector for the purpose of achieving population health goals are growing. Increasingly, private sector entities are implicated in the state's matrix of collaborative public health institutions.
"The third governance construct is based on the insight from governmentality theory that the state already permeates the private sector even without formal authority; power flows back and forth between public and private entities through a multiplicity of channels and technologies. New federal proposals for 'modern quarantine' provide an example. 'Modern quarantine' policies would depend on the public's instinct to voluntarily sequester themselves in a pandemic, thus utilizing indirect and less coercive methods to control the spread of infectious disease. However, this proposal fails to engage with the full dimensions of the public sector role that would be necessary to enable people to remain at home for three months or more. It cannot succeed without mandates and incentives emanating from the state, a reality which official policy documents have elided."
"From this analysis we can learn a great deal about both current directions in public health policy and about the utility and limitations of new governance theory. The three governance trends taken together exemplify a paradox fundamental to contemporary political debates: how the same apparatus can be intensifying as a security state while at the same time deploying new governance and privatization initiatives. The concept of modern quarantine demonstrates that serious complications lurk beneath the surface when policymakers engage in shallow invocations of new regulatory rhetoric."—Abstract.
+Jenkins, William O., Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Homeland Security: Observations on DHS and FEMA Efforts to Prepare for and Respond to Major and Catastrophic Disasters and Address Related Recommendations and Legislation (Testimony Before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives, GAO-07-1142T) (July 31, 2007) (PDF — 380K)
+Kapp, Lawrence; Don J. Jansen; Congressional Research Service (CRS), The Role of the Department of Defense During A Flu Pandemic (PDF — 252K)
+Lindsay, Bruce R., Analyst in Emergency Management Policy, Government and Finance Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC): An Overview (July 21, 2008) (RL34585) (PDF — 160K)
"The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is an agreement among member states to provide assistance after disasters overwhelm a state's capacity to manage consequences. The compact, initiated by the states and coordinated by the National Emergency Management Association, provides a structure for requesting emergency assistance from party states. In 1996 Congress approved EMAC as an interstate compact (P.L. 104-321). EMAC also resolves some, but not all, potential legal and administrative obstacles that may hinder such assistance at the state level. EMAC also enhances state preparedness for terrorist attacks by ensuring the availability of resources for fast response and facilitating multi-state cooperation in training activities and preparedness exercises.
"In June of 2008, a bill to reform mutual aid agreements for the National Capital Region (P.L. 110-250) was enacted to expand the types of organizations and agencies in the region that are authorized to enter into agreements and ease the requirements for agents and volunteers to respond to an incident. Legislation in the 110th Congress (S. 1452) would require EMAC to ensure that licensed mental health professionals with expertise in treating vulnerable populations are included in the leadership of the National Disaster Medical System and are available for deployment with Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.
"This report will be updated as events warrant. This report is an update based upon a previous report written by Keith Bea, Specialist in American National Government."-Summary.
+Lynn, Phil, United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Mutual Aid: Multijurisdictional Partnerships for Meeting Regional Threats (September 2005) (PDF — 742K)
+Mazzone, Jason, The Commandeerer in Chief (provided by: SSRN) (Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 64) (February 2007)
"Federalism impedes the government's ability to plan for and respond to emergencies. Emergencies often transcend federalist divisions of power and responsibility, rendering unclear which level of government should respond. Though many emergencies require a coordinated response by local, state, and national government, getting different levels of government to work together in times of crises is difficult. Even when states and localities call for outside assistance, they resist undue federal interference in their affairs; a national government that lacks experience working with local actors on the ground can find it difficult to implement relief programs.
"Hurricane Katrina, causing extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August of 2005, vividly illustrated how federalism undermines an effective response to emergencies - with deadly results. Despite years of emergency planning in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and ample warning in the days preceding Hurricane Katrina that it would cause widespread destruction, no government - national, state or local - adequately prepared vulnerable communities. After Katrina struck, the governmental response was inept. Local governments in New Orleans and other towns were overwhelmed, unable even to communicate with their personnel on the scene. State governments found their resources stretched to breaking point. The national government, cautious about appearing too proactive, delayed its response until specifically asked to help. Federal and state personnel, unaccustomed to working together, mounted independent responses to the hurricane's aftermath and operated without the benefits of a single command structure. State officials rebuffed federal requests to assume overall control of the response efforts. While people perished, officials argued about who was actually in charge.
"Future emergencies - an unwarned detonation of a crude nuclear device in an American city, for instance - could easily dwarf Katrina's impact. Given the widely-recognized failures of the government's response to Katrina and the urgent need for reform, some federal officials have proposed a dramatic solution: in a future emergency, rather than try to work with state and local response personnel, the federal government should simply deploy the military to take over the relief effort. Over opposition from every state governor, in October 2006, Congress passed a bill giving the President authority to deploy military forces to states and localities following a natural disaster or other emergency where specified federal interests are put at risk. Though this new law is not a wholesale authorization to use military resources in times of emergencies, critics contend that any domestic deployment of soldiers undermines civil liberties.
"This Article proposes an alternative solution to the problems federalism presents in times of emergencies. The proposal, which I call emergency commandeering, is based on some provisions of the Constitution that are today largely forgotten but that were used regularly in earlier years of the nation. Under my proposal, when the federal government responds to certain kinds of emergencies, it can call into periods of mandatory federal service the emergency response personnel of the state in which the emergency occurs and, if necessary, emergency response personnel from other states. During emergencies, these state employees - police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, urban search and rescue teams, and public health specialists - would serve with compensation under the command of the President as Commander in Chief. Emergency commandeering allows the national government to mount an effective response, one that draws upon the skills and experiences of state and local personnel, without the hindrance of multiple command structures or other forms of state and local resistance. The Article sets out in detail how emergency commandeering would operate. It also shows why emergency commandeering is authorized by the Constitution, consistent with federalism, and, compared to the alternative of sending the military into our streets, good also for democracy." —Abstract.
+McCarthy, Francis X., Analyst in Emergency Management Policy, Government and Finance Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), FEMA's Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer (RL 34146)(March 18, 2010) (PDF — 265K)
"The amount of assistance provided through presidential disaster declarations has exceeded $100 billion. Often, in recent years, Congress has enacted supplemental appropriations legislation to cover unanticipated costs. While the amounts spent by the federal government on different programs may be reported, and the progress of the recovery can be observed, much less is known about the process that initiates all of this activity. Yet, it is a process that has resulted in an average of more than one disaster declaration a week over the last decade.
"The disaster declaration procedure is foremost a process that preserves the discretion of the governor to request assistance and the President to decide to grant, or not to grant, supplemental help. The process employs some measurable criteria in two broad areas: Individual Assistance that aids families and individuals and Public Assistance that is mainly for repairs to infrastructure. The criteria, however, also considers many other factors, in each category of assistance, that help decision makers assess the impact of an event on communities and states."—Summary.
+National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
"EMAC, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, is a congressionally ratified organization that provides form and structure to interstate mutual aid. Through EMAC, a disaster impacted state can request and receive assistance from other member states quickly and efficiently, resolving two key issues upfront: liability and reimbursement. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between the member states exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all states share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.
"EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress. The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure, its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, & regions, and the ability to move just about any resource one state has to assist another state, including medical resources."—What is EMAC?
+Relyea, Harold C., Specialist in American National Government, Government and Finance Division, Congressional Research Service (CRS), National Emergency Powers (PDF — 84K)
+Salinksy, Eileen, Consultant, National Health Policy Forum, Strong as the Weakest Link: Medical Response to a Catastrophic Event (August 8, 2008) (Background Paper ? No. 65) (PDF — 794K)
+Swendiman, Kathleen S.; Nancy Lee Jones; Congressional Research Service (CRS), The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues (PDF — 460K)
"This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
There are a number of emergency measures which may help to contain or ameliorate an infectious disease outbreak. The Public Health Service Act, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the National Emergencies Act, and the Stafford Act contain authorities that allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the President to take certain actions during emergencies or disasters. While the primary authority for quarantine and isolation in the United States resides at the state level, the federal government has jurisdiction over interstate and border quarantine. The federal government also issues recommendations regarding such activities as school closures and vaccination programs. States and local governments have the authority to initiate emergency measures such as mandatory vaccination orders and certain nonpharmaceutical interventions such as school closures, which may lessen the spread of an infectious disease. The International Health Regulations adopted by the WHO in 2005 provide a framework for international cooperation against infectious disease threats." — Introduction
+United States Conference of Mayors, Homeland Security Monitoring Center, Five Years Post 9/11, One Year Post Katrina: The State of America's Readiness, a 183-City Survey (2006 Survey on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) (July 26, 2006) (PDF — 218K)
+United States Department of Defense,, DOD Directive 3025.16: Military Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) Program (December 18, 2000)
"This Directive is issued to establish military Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) policy and program guidance governing the use of Reserve component (RC) members in providing military support and assistance to civil authorities. The Directive also establishes DoD policy for the management of EPLO programs in each of the Military Departments."—Summary.
Available in PDF and RTF formats.
+United States Department of Defense, DOD Directive 3025.12: Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS) (February 4, 1994)
"This Directive updates policy and responsibilities governing planning and response by the DoD Components for military assistance to Federal, State, and local government (including government of U.S. territories) and their law enforcement agencies for civil disturbances and civil disturbance operations, including response to terrorist incidents, which hereafter are referred to cumulatively as 'Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances.' "—Summary.
Available in PDF and RTF formats.
+United States Department of Defense, DOD Directive 3025.15: Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (February 18, 1997)
"This Directive establishes DoD policy and assigns responsibilities for providing military assistance to civil authorities. Supersedes reference Secretary of Defense Memorandum, 'Military Assistance to Civil Authorities,' December 12, 1995. Cancels reference Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, 'Support of Civil authorities in airplane Hijacking Emergencies,' July 29, 1972 and AR 385-70/AFR 55-13/OPNAVINST 3710.18B, 'Unmanned Free Balloons and Kites, and Unmanned Rockets,' December 13, 1965."—Summary.
Available in PDF and RTF formats.
+United States Department of Homeland Security, National Emergency Communications Plan (Updated August 7, 2008) (PDF — 2.96M)
+United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Response Framework (NRF) Resource Center
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Actions Taken to Implement the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PDF — 1.5M)
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Emergency Management Assistance Compact: Enhancing EMAC's Administrative and Collaborative Capacity Should Improve National Disaster Response (PDF — 8M)
"Since its inception in 1995, the EMAC network has grown significantly in size, volume, and the type of resources it provides. EMAC's membership has increased from a handful of states in 1995 to 52 states and territories today, and EMAC members have used the compact to obtain support for several types of disasters including hurricanes, floods, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The volume and variety of resources states have requested under EMAC have also grown significantly. For example, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, New York requested 26 support staff under EMAC to assist in emergency management operations; whereas, in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, approximately 66,000 personnel—about 46,500 National Guard and 19,500 civilian responders— were deployed under EMAC from a wide variety of specialties, most of whom went to areas directly impacted by the storms.
"While the EMAC network has developed a basic administrative capacity,opportunities exist for it to further build on and sustain these efforts. The EMAC network has adopted several good management practices, such as using after-action reports to learn from experiences and developing a 5-year strategic plan. However, the EMAC network can enhance its administrative capacity by improving how it plans, measures, and reports on its performance. FEMA provided $2 million to help build this capacity in 2003, but the agreement has recently expired. FEMA and EMAC leadership are in the process of finalizing a new 3-year cooperative agreement. Such an agreement would enhance the EMAC network's ability to support its collaborative efforts." —What the GAO found.
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Federal Actions Could Enhance Preparedness of Certain State-Administered Federal Support Programs (GAO-07-219) (February 2007) (PDF — 4.37M)
"The mass destruction and displacement of people caused by the hurricanes created new challenges, including an unprecedented demand for services from these five programs. The demand for food stamps and UI benefits, and the disaster assistance they provide, rose sharply. New evacuee policies were created to provide food stamps and TANF assistance to evacuees nationwide. In contrast, Social Security and SSI had a significant increase for replacement benefits, but did not have a large increase in new applications.
"Disaster plans, flexible service delivery options, and access to contingency funding facilitated response, but not all programs had these elements in place. The federally administered Social Security and SSI programs had service delivery disaster plans in place to meet demand. However, such strategies were sometimes lacking for the state-administered Food Stamp, UI, and TANF programs. Flexible service delivery options such as 800 numbers and Internet application services and debit cards for issuing benefits expedited services. Last, access to contingency funding was key to facilitating disaster response."—What GAO Found.